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Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and LLCoolJ

Directed by: Clark Johnson

Written By: David Ayer, David McKenna, John McLean and Ron Mita

Oh boy! The writers for this movie, between just Ayer and McKenna, have written such scripts as Dark Blue, The Fast and the Furious, Training Day, U-571 (Ayer), Blow, Get Carter, Body Shots, and American History-X (McKenna). Most of those movies were fairly decent and several of them were downright great. SWAT probably fits a little closer to Dark Blue than it does to Blow or even Training Day.

SWAT (I am not going to include periods after each letter every time I write that) is a movie about a guy (how many movies start that way) who is on a SWAT team (less movies start that way) who gets kicked off the SWAT team because of his crooked partner (we must be down to 2 or 3 movies that go that far) but who is asked to rejoin SWAT after this international crime boss publically announces that he will give one hundred million dollars to the folk or folks who can free him from police custody (there is the clever idea that got this movie made).

Colin Farrell (the hardest working man in Hollywood this year) is the good cop whose partner is bad. In fact, he is not just a good cop, he is a super cop so when Samuel L Jackson is brought in to recruit a SWAT team (the intent of the nasty boss cop being that this team will go down the drain with a bunch of police careers) he immediately recognizes Farrell’s talents and recruits him.

Meanwhile, super crime boss who has recently come to America to kills some bad guys and secure his boss stature, get’s pulled over for a missing taillight and arrested. When the cops finally find out who they have, they decide to get rid of him and pawn him off on the Feds. Of course, he’s offered this reward so every two-bit punk in LA wants to free him so it is decided that SWAT (oooooh aaaaaah) must escort him to the Feds. The shooting starts right at the beginning of the movie but really gets going about ½ way through when the plot finally comes together.

This was a good shoot-em-up movie. I would have liked it a bit better if they had gone hard and fast right from the get-go and given us a bit less insight into the characters. The characters remained pretty 2-D anyway so why bother with lengthy scenes justifying everyone’s emotions and motivation. Their cops for crying out loud. Their cops who want to be in a SWAT team! How much motivation do these characters need?

My guess is that McKenna wanted to make this movie a bit better as a film and Ayer wanted to make it a bit better as a movie. Ayer definitely won out in the struggle with the drama being lost in the fighting and driving. Unfortunately, since McKenna fell short, the deeper aspects of this movie were more of a distraction than a benefit.

Still, I would recommend this movie to you. See it Big though. This is a movie where the bigger the screen and the sound the better the movie will be. If you want to watch a good film on a 14 inch screen with just the television speaker for sound, rent The English Patient. In that movie nothing is lost when you lose size and loudness. With SWAT you are going to want some surround sound and a big screen (or sit really close to a small one).

If I were you I would expect to a be a bit disappointed with this movie as the pacing is sometimes off and the powers that be try to hard to make us understand motivations that we would have been willing to go along with in any case. On the other hand, the plot is good and the story moves fast enough through the slow bits to make the fast bits quite worthwhile.

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