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S.W.A.T.
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
S.W.A.T. order
Director:
Clark Johnson

Actors:
Samuel L. Jackson
Colin Farrell
LL Cool J

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An international drug dealer (Olivier Martinez) offers $100 million to whomever can spring him from prison. When a rogue cop decides he'd like to cash that check, a crack S.W.A.T. team assembled from your usual generic gang of rag-tag miscreants gets the assignment of escorting the baddie to his federal jail cell.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This film would easily be getting some serious Oscar talk right about now if not for the fact that a category for "most generic swill" has yet to be added to the famed awards show. Its caricatured characters, forced plotlines and disposable dialogue would make it a shoo-in worthy of any Michael Bay film and in a dream world, Clark Johnson would be accepting the award from the guys who keeps making those awful SCARY MOVIE films. Now I really feel bad about this because Johnson and I share our Alma Mater and I like to root for my brethren, but I couldn't do it with a straight face this time. Let's see: Rogue cop as a bad guy? Check. Handsome troublemaker as the hero? Check. Police Captain who wants his cops to do things by the book even though it may not work? Check. Samuel L. Jackson as Samuel L. Jackson? Big check. They're all there and I haven't even gotten to Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J yet. We even have the mandatory training shots except they last about half the movie here. An hour into it and the team hadn't even made the SWAT team yet. You can just imagine how developed the rest of the story gets.

There's not much there in terms of performances either. Jackson mails in a performance in exchange for an undoubtedly healthy paycheck and Farrell scrunches up his eyebrows a lot and tries to look real "deep". Am I the only one who's totally over the initial high on this guy and who's staring to think he's the most manufactured thing to come out of Hollywood since Cher's face? The only element that saves this from being a total disaster is the relatively cool action dispersed here and there. Plenty of gunfights, car chases and helicopters to pump up the noise level and much of it very well coordinated. There's also the fact that S.W.A.T. teams are inherently cool and even these screenwriters couldn't wipe all of that away. As far as bad guys go, Martinez plays his over-the-top, but in a way that keeps him entertaining rather than ridiculous. There's also a revised version of the 1975 S.W.A.T. TV show theme, the latter having supposedly inspired this lame effort.
THE EXTRAS
There's enough material to keep anyone happy on this DVD, provided, of course, you don't have to watch it. It starts with two commentary tracks. The first is a full-length audio commentary by the director and a bunch of the actors, including Jackson, Rodriguez, J, and excluding Farrell. Thankfully, Rodriguez and LL are there to add some entertainment value because Johnson sure doesn't and Jackson acts like a loudmouth jerk throughout. The second track is a full-length commentary track by the screenwriters and the technical advisor.

The first full feature is Anatomy of a Shootout (9 mins.) which documents the making of the opening sequence: a recreation of a powerhouse shootout in the streets of LA. It's actually quite cool since the scene itself was alright. It's also fairly standard and since features are usually only as interesting as the film they're about, it's give or take on that one.

Next up is a 7-minute long clip discussing the film's TV inspiration. S.W.A.T. - TV's Original Super Cops is a small tribute to a hit series which was undoubtedly better than this movie. It's quick and easy to watch, although not really relevant. Following that, you can move to The Making of S.W.A.T. (20 mins.) which is the usual fluff piece with comments from the actors, the crew and an explanation of some of the key scenes from the film. You can get more detail on one of those key scenes in 6th Street Bridge: Achieving the Improbable (5 mins.), which relates the making of one of the more spectacular scenes in which a small plane lands on an L.A. area bridge.

Following that, you'll get a 3-minute Gag and Blooper Reel and a set of Eight Deleted Scenes. I can't remember a more irrelevant set of deleted scenes than on this DVD, since none of them would even have been remotely interesting had they been in the movie to begin with. I hardly see a reason to see them on their own.

The coolest feature though is Sound & Fury: The Sounds of S.W.A.T. (40 mins.). It begins with a quick explanation on the sounds captured to be mixed into the film and proceeds to a quick explanation and demonstration of some of the different guns used by the S.W.A.T. team members. You can then watch the scenes with isolated sound element.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This film is almost two hours long, but doesn't really require any effort to watch since it's extremely dumb. There's not one element of originality nor any standout performances to warrant a look. I'd stay away and I suggest you do the same.
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