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S.W.A.T.

A select few of L.A.’s finest are given the sweaty S.W.A.T. job of "protecting" a scummy drug kingpin who’s spread the word that he will pay $100 million to anyone bold and bad enough to set him free.

CAST: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Jeremy Renner, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Olivier Martinez

DIRECTOR: Clark Johnson

"When film historians debate over the worst movie year in history, one of the arguments for 2003 will be ‘S.W.A.T.’ Not because it's aggressively, nauseatingly bad like ‘Kangaroo Jack’ or ‘Gigli,’ but because it is monotonous to the point of despair…the filmmakers behind ‘S.W.A.T.’ make filmmaking look like the most boring job in the world. They've cranked out a picture with such little care or enthusiasm that they might as well have been working filling cereal boxes for six weeks…During a climactic fight between Farrell and Renner, the lighting and cutting are so bad that we can't tell which combatant is which. And the sluggish pacing throughout induces sleep rather than thrills…At least ‘Gigli’ has its wrongheaded awfulness going for it. This useless widget -- this checkmark on a corporate sales chart -- is a true insult to paying moviegoers." --Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner

"‘S.W.A.T.’ is a cop thriller for moviegoing masochists. It's a big, near-incoherent action thriller best suited for audiences who don't mind being pummeled into submission. Technically clever but emotionally bankrupt, it’s an almost laughably opportunistic movie. …This is business-as-usual acting at the service of a ludicrous script -- a greed-inspired farrago about an absurd crime wave and a ridiculous relationship…The movie acts as if originality were a crime, logic were a misdemeanor and suspects should be shot on sight… The film is a big empty shell, a marketing gimmick disguised as a movie project, bare of sense and humanity, jam-packed with cliches, and so showily shot and edited that you're grateful for the clichés -- since, otherwise, you might not be able to follow the plot." --Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"The movie is pretty entertaining as it adroitly manipulates cliche, archetype, trope and plenty of machine guns over the streets and byways of L.A., all synchronized to heavy banging rock-and-roll guaranteed to melt your IQ to a puddle in an hour. The stars, particularly Colin Farrell, Mr. Black-Irish Charisma himself, are attractive. When it's not nonsensical or stuck explaining the plot, the dialogue is fast and funny…The bigger the movie gets, the dumber it gets. The ending is pretty typical summer movie bushwa, with hijacked Learjets and subway trains, long chases through booby-trapped tunnels, lots of guns set to rock-and-roll, and it's the least interesting thing that happens." –-Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"There’s no narrative kick, and that combined with the lack of basic cinematic storytelling skills (the film’s action scenes are reduced via a series of blip-blip commercial sound bites) make S.W.A.T. a real headache." --Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine

"The director, Clark Johnson, and a battery of writers have retained the punitive monotony and barely coherent narrative thinness of the old show a…This film evokes the feeling of wasting a rainy Saturday afternoon…much of the talk in this ‘S.W.A.T.’ seems to have been lifted verbatim from crummy 70's cop shows…‘S.W.A.T.’ is mostly standard-issue muddle, right down to setting a crucial sequence in the Los Angeles subway. Most Angelenos probably think the subway was built for film crews; it's used more in the movies than in real life." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"A well-staged action procedural in which Special Weapons and Tactics hotshots in the LAPD break up a bank robbery, endure rigorous training exercises, barge in on homeowners, escort an international crime lord to prison, and take an unexpected ride on Los Angeles' subways, ‘S.W.A.T.’ is by the numbers, by the book, and, by the way, pretty good." --Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

"‘S.W.A.T.’ is just another big-screen TV series, updated with contemporary series' mobile, quick-cutting techniques…it takes an hour to set that plot in motion…The training scenes lack momentum and payoff…And once the international mobster sets off his $100 million dare, the action devolves into derivative chases and shoot-'em-ups…S.W.A.T. may be an acronym for Special Weapons and Tactics, but by the end of this routine melodrama, it might as well stand for Standard Whacking and Trashing." --Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun

"The movie's aim is held steady on the gut, with a story line too preposterous for a moment's thought…The plausibility--including a chase through the Los Angeles subway and sewer systems and the landing of a Lear jet on the Sixth St. bridge--is right up there with a comeback of Roseanne Barr. But it's a lot of noisy fun, thanks mostly to its able cast…the standout in the cast is James Todd Smith, whose acting talent may soon persuade him to shed his adolescent stage name of LL Cool J and concentrate on mainstream film roles…Smith not only has a strong physical presence on screen but a natural humor, and whether or not ‘S.W.A.T.’ brings him back for a sequel, he has a lot of work in his future." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"‘S.W.A.T' the movie is two hours long, but doesn't contain enough interesting material to fill a one-hour episode of the short-lived television series…The movie's emphasis on hardware over people wouldn't be so ridiculous if Johnson managed to put all the gunfire to good use. For all the explosions and bullets flying, ‘S.W.A.T.' has a peculiar lack of urgency, as if the filmmakers decided they should keep the movie as impassive as its highly trained police officers…There's no bang for your buck here. Stay home and watch reruns." --Glenn Whipp, L.A. Daily News

"Based on the silly, short-lived 1970s television series, ‘S.W.A.T.’ is a shaky jumble of violent scattershot images, macho banter and dim platitudes…The pace of ‘S.W.A.T.’ is perverse…It's an hour and 20 minutes into the movie before the plot hook is finally set, and Montel offers a $100 million reward to anyone who can spring him from custody and get him out of the country." --Bob Townsend, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"…a throbbing dose of high-testosterone schlock in which logic, credibility and characterization are dispensable in the name of that all-consuming end: keeping things moving…The absurdities and drifty structure are camouflaged somewhat by the damn-the-torpedoes momentum of TV-honed director Clark Johnson and the now-obligatory melange of pounding rock standards and generic soundtrack scoring…‘S.W.A.T.’ offers another wrinkle in the inexhaustible symbiosis between movies and television, crafting what is essentially a lavish launching pad for a new TV series from the bones of an old one." --Jan Stuart, Newsday

"…a lifeless trudge through squandered opportunities and god-awful dialogue…Based on the short-lived 1970s TV series, this swaggeringly macho action film lacks even the self-referential irony of the ‘Charlie's Angels’ movies and its occasional stabs at levity are uncomfortably leaden…Much suspension of disbelief is necessary, as a committee of screenwriters have riddled their script with logistical holes big enough to drive a S.W.A.T. van through." --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post