S.W.A.T. Clark Johnson

S.W.A.T. Clark Johnson
S.W.A.T. is one of those movies that you wouldn't turn off if it was showing on TMN, or, eventually, City, unless of course The Wire was on (oddly enough, S.W.A.T. director Clark Johnson has helmed a few The Wire episodes), and after it ended you wouldn't feel like you wasted your life, but you wouldn't feel better off either. S.W.A.T. is essentially a competent, acceptable big, dumb action/police movie, which in these oversaturated days of really bad action/police movies with few good ones is a backhanded compliment. S.W.A.T. opens strong, with a recreation of the infamous North Hollywood shootout (where cops came across heavily armed and armoured robbers, and were outgunned for the running fire fight that followed), being all gritty, bouncy footage with tons of aerial shots. But after that strong opening, which sets up Colin Farrell's S.W.A.T. officer Jim Street getting demoted for his quitting partner's recklessness, the movie takes a more fanciful approach. One where a recently arrested uber-criminal offers 100,000 million dollars, via TV, to anyone who can spring him before he can be transferred to a prison, and only a newly formed S.W.A.T. unit, helmed by Samuel L. Jackson, and featuring Farrell are, up to the task. There's a plane landing on a bridge, gangbangers Heat-style ambushing police conveys, lots of shooting, betrayals and final confrontations, but not a lot of character development and the plot is suspect at best. But it's better than The Recruit. S.W.A.T. goes streamlined for its extras, restraining itself to a single disc, featuring mainly featurettes and deleted scenes. We learn how the actors went through training to look like actually S.W.A.T. members and how everyone wanted to do justice to the actual thing, some deleted scenes (of which the cops running in to a gun store to find armour piercing weapons is the best) and an overview on the original S.W.A.T. TV series that inspired it all. But the most insidious thing is that having been unable to recall the S.W.A.T. theme music prior to this, after viewing it, it's impossible to get out of your head. Plus: director's commentary. (Columbia)