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S.W.A.T.

Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell; Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Brian Van Holt, Jeremy Renner, Josh Charles and Oliver Martinez
Screenplay by David Ayer and David McKenna
Directed by Clark Johnson
website: www.sony.com

IN SHORT: D.U.D. as in dull, utterly dull. [Rated PG-13 for violence, language and sexual references. 110 minutes]

Can you think of anything more emotionally arresting than the classic standoff? Bad guys, or good guys for that matter, trapped in a limited space -- whether room or spaceship, it doesn't matter. Outside that space, a great threat -- whether destructive or law-enforcement, that doesn't matter, either. Both sides are armed to the teeth. Both are bent on being the last ones standing. The catch with any of these scenarios is that you, the observer, has got to give a damn about one side or the other. If you don't, why care? So . . .

What do you think of when you hear the acronym "S.W.A.T." No, not as in the noise that goes along with swatting a fly. We're talking about the noise, and in this case pain, that go along with a phenomenally average movie that 'gives you little reasons to sit through the last scenes, let alone the closing credits that you wouldn't sit for anyhow. S.W.A.T., a story of the LAPD special unit, must have been a great read on paper. It certainly was a forgotten television series -- which serves as the "inspiration" for this movie -- but, aside from that series' theme, only some character names remain the same. Just as well since we don't compare to Source Material. That being written, there isn't much else to write about this S.W.A.T.

There's a good start involving a bank heist and hostage situation, deftly handled -- against orders, of course -- by LAPD S.W.A.T. officers Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and partner Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner). For mopping up without an official go ahead, both are busted by their boss, Captain Thomas Fuller (Larry Poindexter), who will continue to gun for whichever of 'em stays with the force.

Six months later a new S.W.A.T. team is being formed, with veteran Sergeant Harrison aka Hondo (Samuel L. Jackson) in charge and a hand picked crew of LA's best officers: Chris Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez), Deacon "Deke" Kaye (LL Cool J), Michael Boxer (Brian Van Holt), T.J. McCabe (Josh Charles) and one grumpy busted down ex-S.W.A.T. guy, picked just because Hondo doesn't much like Captain Fuller, either.

As for the ultimate bad guy? He's super nasty crime boss Alex Montel (Oliver Martinez). Montel is French. He doesn't much care for family. He's an internationally wanted criminal though what exactly he's internationally wanted for is so buried in the script -- if indeed it's mentioned at all -- that it may as well not be there. We checked the press notes. Drugs, of course. Next time, guys, say so. Montel is busted reasons too realistic to reveal and our crack crew are assigned to transport the nastyman to prison, once the primary method of transportation fails to do the job.

It takes two thirds of the flick to get to the gimmick of the bad dude offering $100 millions to anyone who busts him out of police custody. By the time the film gets to the point, we'd ceased to care.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to S.W.A.T, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

The name Samuel L. Jackson is usually all we need to fork over the green stuff. Sam's got this character type down cold but it isn't enough to carry the film when it's top name is supposed to be Colin Farrell. We usually like Farrell's performances but the script here gives him nothing to work with. Pass S.W.A.T. by and rent

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.