11 August 2003 | cariart
Swaggering Action Film Is Violent, but Fun!
S.W.A.T. may be the best action film since THE TRANSPORTER...Just ignore the plot holes, leaps of logic, and occasional cold-bloodedness, and enjoy the fast-paced action and macho camaraderie!
Jim Street (Colin Farrell, easily 2003's busiest actor!) is a decorated LAPD S.W.A.T. member, but when his partner, Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner, looking like a pumped-up Elijah Wood) disregards orders during a bank robbery, and wounds a 'civilian' female, while taking out the leader, the lady sues the city (considering the baddie was about to kill her, the reaction seems a bit illogical!). Dressed down by their boss, Capt. Fuller, Gamble goes ballistic, and quits the force; Street "eats crow", and is demoted to working in the Weapons Cage, cleaning weapons and putting up with verbal abuse from former teammates (who thought he'd 'sold' his partner out...an attitude that seems illogical, as well, as he'd been in their ranks three years, and they SHOULD have known him better! ). He maintains an insane physical regimen, and prays for the day he can return to S.W.A.T.
Six months pass, and the unit's reputation is on the skids, so veteran warhorse 'Hondo' Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson, looking sexier and more dangerous than ever!) is called in, to put together an elite team inside of S.W.A.T., sort of a 'baddest of the bad' crew, to take on worst case scenarios (how this would help the performance of the REST of the unit, who knows?) He picks Josh Charles and Brian Van Holt from S.W.A.T., LL Cool J, a street cop with an 'attitude', Michelle Rodriguez, as a female cop with even MORE of an attitude...and Jim Street, with whom he bonds like a long-lost brother, despite threats from Capt. Fuller. There is GREAT chemistry between Jackson and Farrell, and their scenes together are film highlights!
After 'DIRTY DOZEN'-like training scenes, and embarrassing the egotistical Fuller by ace-ing his terrorist hijacking training scenario ("Best time ever, right?" Hondo razzes the Captain, as the last 'terrorist' is taken down), the new unit is given a choice assignment...moving a youthful international crime kingpin (played by UNFAITHFUL's Olivier Martinez) to a holding facility. Unfortunately, in front of television cameras, Martinez offers $100 million to anyone who can spring him...and virtually EVERY hood in L.A. decides to take a shot at the money. Then the fun REALLY begins, as the film becomes one long action sequence!
While the subsequent 'surprises' are predictable, and the climax, a Lear Jet landing on a bridge, is impossible (the winds alone would have cracked up the small aircraft against the narrow confines of the span), the pacing is so fast and furious that you accept the leap of logic of the sequence, and the subsequent fight between Street and...well, watch the movie!
While I'm not sure S.W.A.T. will encourage tourism to L.A. (which is pictured as so crime-ridden that it makes New York City look like an Amish village!), the film IS fun, in a violent sort of way, and seeing the star of the original series, Steve Forrest, in a brief cameo, was a pleasure! Now, if I can just get that darned theme song out of my head...