Finally, a cop movie that isn’t the usual brainless blow-things-up
fare. S.W.A.T. would actually be considered calm compared
to other movies in its genre. It takes its time developing
the story and characters before diving headfirst into action.
But not to worry, there are still car chases, explosions,
and ruthless bad guys, only more in a tactful and believable
Consider the main antagonist Alex Montel (Martinez),
whom we first see arriving at the Los Angeles airport, brandishing
a French passport. There are no neon signs announcing the
arrival of the bad guy, yet the way he sweet talks security
into allowing him to keep an ornate pocketknife subtly lets
us know we’d better keep an eye on this one. After that, the
movie forgets about Alex for a while, building an aura of
suspense and mystery around him, and bringing him back again
at just the right moment.
So meanwhile on the good-guy side of things, we begin with
a bank robbery gone out of hand, requiring the aid of the
Los Angeles S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons And Tactics) Team. S.W.A.T.
partners Jim Street (Farrell) and Brian Gamble (Renner)
manage to save the day, but not before the hot-headed Gamble
breaks a few rules in the process. Gamble ends up getting
kicked off the police force altogether while Street is stripped
of his S.W.A.T. status and relegated to the gun-cleaning cage
with minimal chances of returning to his former position.
Six months later, enter Lieutenant “Hondo” (Jackson),
a veteran S.W.A.T. member, is brought back to LA to boost
the waning image of the LAPD. He gets to choose a special
five-member team to help him in his objective. After the customary
recruiting process, the five are “Deke” (LL Cool J),
tough single mom Chris Sanchez (Rodriguez), Boxer (Van
Holt), McCabe (Charles) and, surprise surprise,
Instead of heading straight for the streets, there are several
training sequences where we see the team hone their skills
and develop cohesiveness. Even after that, the team goes around
the city solving minor catastrophes before the big one involving
It seems that our French friend has found himself in jail,
not for any crimes per se (he’s too smooth to be found guilty),
but on account of his questionable identification. On the
priceless opportunity of being covered by a television broadcast,
wealthy Alex offers $100 million to whomever can free him.
This invites the participation of a plethora of would-be liberators
whom Hondo’s special S.W.A.T. team must now face.
S.W.A.T. is Colin Farrell’s movie. With his cocky
yet easygoing manner, this role is sure to propel him into
bona fide leading man material. It doesn’t hurt that there’s
a lengthy work-out sequence featuring weight-lifting and running
on the beach—with a dog no less—to win over the female demographic.
The movie contains quite a few one-liners and comebacks,
adding some comedy to the proceedings. For the most part the
cheese factor is kept to a minimum, and some of them are genuinely
funny. However, the real spotlight is still the unhurried
action and character-driven story.