(Originally posted on 1/15/04)
Is there an actual character in S.W.A.T.? A plot? A single intelligent or exciting sequence? If so, they must have made an appearance while I was watching my cats sleep, because all I saw was the second straight crappy Colin Farrell movie (after the Mamet rip-off The Recruit) to feature the Irish actor intensely wailing on a punching bag and asking someone if his assignment was "just a test." What I can tell you is that remaining conscious during Chuck Johnson's LAPD action film is certainly as difficult as the S.A.T. (which, come to think of it, is just one "w" away from the film's title), and about as much fun. Farrell is a disgraced S.W.A.T. team member who's given a second chance to prove his mettle by Sam Jackson's legendary badass, and half the film is spent watching the two of them recruit the rest of the team -- which includes the underutilized LL Cool J and Michelle "I let my eyebrows do the acting" Rodriguez -- and compete in limp training exercises. After wasting a considerable amount of time on the crew's standard-issue spiteful commanding officer, the film provides us with a vaguely defined French drug lord (Olivier Martinez), who, upon his arrest, promises a $100 million payday to anyone who can bust him out of prison. For a moment, the film seems headed toward unbridled mayhem, as every gang in Los Angeles crawls out of the shadows to earn the hefty reward, but the film swiftly abandons this scenario in favor of a worthless climactic showdown between noble and turncoat S.W.A.T. commandos. Besides a scant few personality details (Farrell is honest and determined; Jackson is a renegade; Rodriguez is a tough-as-nails bulldog with a soft spot for her daughter), the characters appear about as lifelike as the cardboard cutouts posing as hostages in the team's hijacked plane training drill. S.W.A.T. shares the title and theme song of the short-lived 1970s television show, but its real predecessors are the legions of forgettable cops-and-robbers B-movies up to and including the producers' previous Fast and Furious misfires.