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S.W.A.T. Review

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by Phil Hinton Dec 1, 2003 at 12:00 AM

    S.W.A.T. Review
    You know what it's like, you see the trailer for a new movie and think, yeah that looks good. Take SWAT, the trailer I saw looked exciting and action packed with the Bad guy offering One Hundred Million Dollars to anyone who can break him out of Police custody and the criminals of L.A. taking him up on the offer. But you also know what trailers can do, they show you the best bits and the actual movie going experience can be dire. So is SWAT dire?

    Well no, not really, but it is also not that great to be honest. The first half of the picture is well paced and gives the director a chance at some character development. Jackson looks for the perfect team and 40 or so minutes is all about getting his team together. The bad guy lands in the US and is locked up for running with a defective tail light (!), but is kept in custody after they find out who he is. So this new SWAT team are given the task of transporting the bad guy to a federal prison. Cue the offer to reporters that the bad guy will pay $100m and this means the easy task suddenly becomes a nightmare with every criminal in L.A. out to free the guy.

    Sorry if my quick summary makes this sound tempting, because this is action by numbers I'm afraid and not that great at the action part. I mean they had £75m to shoot this movie and the major chase is through a sewage tunnel! There is a big stunt involving a plane landing on a bridge, but again this is CG by crayolla I kid you not. The writing team were also on auto pilot with some really bad dialogue thrown in for good measure and let's not mention the huge gaping plot holes. So what is good I hear you say, well the opening 10 minutes effectively recreates a real bank robbery gone wrong and builds some great tension. Indeed the entire build up during the first 40 minutes is well done and has you waiting for the fireworks; you don't spend half your movie building a SWAT team, for them to sit around for the second half. Unfortunately it's the actual absurdness of the last 30 minutes that just ruins the whole thing, why they couldn't base it on an actual event like the first action sequence is beyond me. These movies need some grounding in reality, look at Black Hawk Down for example. But there again this is Hollywood.

    So what we have here is a promising action movie which sadly runs out of steam well before the Bad Guy even leaves prison. It is not a complete waste of time, just dump your brain at the cinema room door, enjoy the build up and feel free to fall asleep during the last section of the movie.