I was kind of surprised to find that the summer action-thriller S.W.A.T. was based on a television.
And considering how I was a child of the '80s, I'm pretty surprised I'd never heard of it till this movie.
So without any knowledge of the show, I can't compare the two. But knowing Hollywood's track record, I highly
doubt the movie version is anything remotely like the television show. With that, the film stars Samuel L. Jackson,
the rowdy newcomer Colin Farrell and rapper-turned-actor LL Cool J. It's a testosterone filmed film for the guys
that probably has enough fit-guys-with-no-shirts-on shots to keep the ladies interested.
Character development is sacrificed for the most part in S.W.A.T., as a lot of attention is payed to
the plot and the often-intense action sequences that surround them. While the film pauses for some important interaction
between a few characters, you never learn much about their backgrounds or who they really are. So, for the most part,
we meet the main team in passing as we sit on the sidelines watching their responses to tense situations and rooting
for them because either you like the actor (or actress) or you just know that's what you're supposed to do.
Farrell appears here in his second law enforcement movie this year with training sequences (The Recruit
was the first) and Jackson assumes the leadership role. LL, Michelle Rodriguez, and a couple other lesser-known actors
round out the rest of the primary team in the film. LL Cool J fit his part really well but Rodriguez's constant
"don't mess with me" front was a little over-the-top and tough to swallow. With a constant stone-faced tough-girl grimace
plastered on, Rodriguez just seemed more like a bitter child who'd been picked on one too many times than a woman on
a law enforcement team. Jeremy Renner plays Street's loose cannon partner in the beginning of the film, but when he
shows up again, it tosses some reality out the window along with the film's all-heck-breaks-loose ending. While some elements
of the ending may seem like a "been there, done that" thing for Hollywood cop films, it's adequate enough for this
police action film. However, the film's best moments were when it was sticking to the books and placing us on the sidelines
of some more realistic sequences.
Content-wise, S.W.A.T. is an utter disappointment. While the sexual content is thankfully kept down
to a few comments and the sight of a random girl flashing a motorcade (we just see her bare back as she lifts her shirt),
the language of the film is pretty strong as it offers at least 1 "f" word, almost 20 "s" words, and close to 20
uses of blasphemy. It wasn't necessary and only took away from the scenes it was used in. Violence was heavy but often
not very graphic. In instances where you'd expect the camera to focus on the violence, surprisingly they cut away most
of the time. However, some moments are still pretty rough including one where the villain, Alex Montel, slits
his Uncle's throat (not seen, but the action is seen and heard) or when Street's hand is impaled with a knife
and stuck to a board (again, not focused upon or shown up close, but the action is seen). Spiritually, the film
is empty. A character we briefly see a couple times in the beginning of the film is a proclaimed Mormon who discusses
how he became a Mormon for his wife. While they make several references to this character's religion, the film
isn't promoting it. However, there is no real support of any religion as it isn't the focus of the film in any way.
It's not a soft film and is definitely not one for the younger crowd. The vulgarity was offensive as was some of
the sexual dialog and the violence was pretty rough, so I wouldn't really recommend this film unedited.
If it's the kind of film you think you might really enjoy, I suggest waiting til it's edited on TV
or filtered through the DVD-editing program ClearPlay.
If you have any questions or comments about the film before you see it (if you
decide to), feel free to
- John DiBiase
Parental Guide: Brief Summary of Content
Sex/Nudity: Some sexual references are made including
Gamble making a vulgar gesture with a pool stick to antagonize Street; we see a crazy man in his briefs
as the police attempt to apprehend him; we see the bare back of girl who
flashes her chest at a passing vehicle.
Vulgarity/Language: 1 "f" word, 18 "s" words, 15 "g*dd*mn", 23 "h*ll", 12 "a" words, 2 "a-h*le", 1 "Chr-st," 1 "J-sus", 1 "G-d," 8 "d*mn", 3 "S.O.B.", 1 "b*tch"
Alcohol/Drugs: Some people have drinks in a bar; Street and Sanchez order drinks in a bar; We find that Alex is a drug lord
wanted in several countries.
Blood/Gore: We randomly see Jim vomit after working out at the beach; A criminal has bruises and cuts on his
face as Sanchez (who caused those wounds to the criminal) has some cuts on her chest from the fight (which was not seen);
After killing someone, Alex wipes blood from a knife onto his shirt; Alex uses a shard of glass to strike Street and
cuts his ear. We briefly see a tiny bit of blood on his ear; A cop is shot in the neck and we see some blood around
a cloth being applied to them as well as blood on Sanchez's hands who is helping; Sanchez has some blood on her arm;
We see the action of Street's hand impaled by a knife (from a distance, in the dark), but do not see any graphic details;
Street later has some blood on his face and mouth after a fight. We then see him spit out some blood.
Violence: Excessive amounts shooting, a fist fight, stabbings, some deaths, explosions, etc.
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most
reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.