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S.W.A.T. /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Colin Farrell, Olivier Martinez, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J
Directed by: Clark Johnson
Produced by: Dan Halsted, Chris Lee, Neal H Moritz
Written by: David Ayer, David McKenna, Ron Mita, Jim McClain
Distributor: Columbia Pictures


     I guess I should be glad this is one of the better experiences Iíve had, watching a movie thatís targeted at teenage boys, this summer. In fact, Iím quite curious as to why the same teenage boys that liked X2 would want to see this one. Maybe my idea of the ideal time at the local multiplex is rather different than watching a S.W.A.T. teamís missions and training, in a music-video style production, but I was quite happy and satisfied when experiencing this sumptuously watchable popcorn-flick.

     Various events in the plot are quite stretched at times, but somehow, S.W.A.T. always manages to come across as believable, probable, and realistic. It opens up to two partners, on an assigned S.W.A.T. team mission, taking place in a bank. There, a woman is being held hostage, by the man robbing the place. The team receives orders, saying that all members should stay in their positions, and are not try to shoot at the robber, to to free the hostage. The two partners, Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner), disobey team orders, though. They shoot, and wound the hostage. They are both demoted from their positions. While Street is willing to work hard to earn his place on S.W.A.T. back, Gamble leaves the force.

     Later, Street is recruited for a new S.W.A.T. team, hand-picked by veteran officer Hondo Harrelson. Also on this team are characters played by LL Cool J, Michelle Rodriguez, Josh Charles, and Brian Van Holt. S.W.A.T. also contains a subplot, that ties into the story nicely towards the end, featuring a convicted prisoner (Oliver Martinez), who offers to pay anyone who can get him out of jail 100-million dollars. In this role, Martinez gives one of the best supporting acting performances of the year.

     While S.W.A.T. bears more than a few flaws, itís extremely well-made, and this alone, keeps it tremendously engaging. Director Clark Johnson manages to keep an excellent balance of grittiness, suspense, action, comedic-relief, and even romance. It runs a tiny bit too long, clocking in at an hour and fifty-one minutes, but is always interesting and involving to watch. We have the great (though often chaotic-appearing) visuals, enhanced by those behind the camera and off the set, to thank for this.

     The action in S.W.A.T. is extraordinarily effective, because it actually has a purpose. It is, indeed, mindlessólike all of the other action movies in current releaseóbut, nevertheless, is always somewhat meaningful. Sure, itís devoid of almost any emotion, but we do care for the characters. Flaws aside, itís one of the most action-packed and excitingly thrilling movies Iíve seen, all summer long.

     Part of me is thankful that this is the last action movie of the summer, and part of me is devastatingly sad. The filmmakers, obviously, saved the best for last. S.W.A.T. is exactly what it should beóa magnificently amusing roller-coaster ride of a motion picture. Even though itís nowhere close to perfect, and lacks many necessary theatrical elements, S.W.A.T. will keep viewers captive and enthralled for every nail-biting minute of its near-magical duration.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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