“S.W.A.T.” was directed by Clark Johnson, who previously directed episodes of the hit TV shows, “The Wire” & “The Shield”. Neal H. Moritz served as producer following the success of “xXx” & “The Fast & The Furious”. The film is based on the 1975 TV series of the same name. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Ferrell, LL Cool J, Michelle Rodriguez, Brian Von Holt, Josh Charles, Jeremey Renner & Olivier Martinez. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker & Mark Wahlberg were all considered for the film but Arnold passed & Vin had began production on his sci-fi film, “The Chronicles of Riddick”, Walker chose to do “2 Fast 2 Furious” & Wahlberg chose to do “The Italian Job”.
During a bank robbery, an LAPD SWAT team is dispatched. Members Jim Street (Ferrell) & Brian Gamble (Renner) take matters into their own hands & begin the assault on the robbers. Gamble shoots a hostage but also takes down the robbers. Due to their actions, both Gamble & Street are kicked off the SWAT team however, Jim is offered back on if he gives up Gamble. When he refuses, Jim is demoted to the gun cage & Gamble quits the force. 6 months later, Sargent Daniel Harrelson (Jackson)also known as Hondo, returns to start a new SWAT team. With help from Jim, he recruits Chris Sanchez (Rodriguez) & Deacon Kaye (LL). Along fellow officers, Michael Boxer (Von Holt) & TJ McCabe (Charles), Hondo also recruits Jim to fill out the team. While on their first assignment, the LAPD are informed that they’ve been holding an international drug lord, Alex Montel (Martinez) without even knowing. When Hondo and his team bring him in, Montel says to the news cameras there that he will give $100 million to whoever gets him out of jail. Not faced by the claims, the LAPD are blindsided by an attack by waves of local gang members looking to take Montel’s offer. Now, Hondo’s team must track across the streets of LA with of slew of gangs & mercenaries trying to cash in on Montel before they place him the California State Prison.
This film was a standard action film the fit times of 2000s action films. High octane action with some cheesy writing and cliche plot points. The storyline is pretty intense but has earmarks of films like “Heat” & “Point Break” but does fall with other 2000s action films. Samuel L. Jackson & Colin Ferrell give solid performances while Olivier Martinez is a bit over the top and not that compelling. This was the dawn of the new age film following “The Matrix” where CGI wasn’t overused but more practical. Films like “The Fast & the Furious”, “xXx”, “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” & “Bad Boys II” focus more on action while others like “The Matrix Reloaded”, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” & the various comic book films rely more on CGI, “SWAT” was more of the action film than a big CGI fest which is actually pretty good.
After this film, “SWAT” saw 2 direct sequels come out in 2011 & 2017 but straight to video & none of the original cast returning. In 2017, CBS rebooted the TV show with Shemar Moore starring as SGT. Hondo. The series’ 4th season was released in November of 2020. Clark Johnson would direct one other film in his career, 2006’s “The Sentinel” but would go on to direct episodes of more TV shows such as “The Walking Dead”, “Black Sails”, “Luke Cage” & “The Purge”. Samuel L. Jackson would go on appears a slew of great films including “Kill Bill Vol. 2”, “The Incredibles”, “Coach Carter” & “Snakes On A Plane”. He would return to franchise films like “xXx” & “Star Wars” before joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. Colin Ferrell appeared in “In Bruges” & “Crazy Heart”. He also appeared in the rebooted films, “Total Recall”, “Fright Night” & “Miami Vice”.