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Movie Review: SWAT (2003)

...because not every action movie with Jeremy Renner in it can be as good as The Hurt Locker.

SWATDespite the fact that SWAT received mediocre reviews (48% on RottenTomatoes), I was still kinda looking forward to this. I looked at the cast list and thought that this should make for an awesome action movie. Seriously, this cast is borderline ridiculous:

Samuel L Jackson. He basically accepts any script thrown his way so his movies are pretty inconsistent, but he’s still Samuel L Jackson. He can make just about anything better.
Colin Farrell, who is awesome in In Bruges.
Jeremy Renner, star of The Hurt Locker (one of my favorite movies).
Michelle Rodriguez, who I think has been pretty good in just about everything I’ve seen her in except for The Fast and the Furious where I wanted to strangle her character. The character she usually plays would be perfect for this type of movie.

A mindless action movie with those four? Sign me up. But, here’s what I got:

Samuel L Jackson played Samuel L Jackson. I’m not complaining, he was good in this movie.
Colin Farrell…there’s no way this is the same guy from In Bruges. He has no charisma whatsoever in this movie and basically is one of the most boring characters ever.
Jeremy Renner’s performance was weird. You could tell in certain scenes that he’s really talented, but the bad writing for his character overshadowed anything good he was able to do.
Finally, I think the writers kinda just forgot Michelle Rodriguez existed after the first hour…and during that first hour, she wasn’t given a whole lot to do either.
LL Cool J was in this movie too, I guess. His character got the same treatment Michelle Rodriguez got.

It feels like SWAT tries to be something more than a typical action movie because it wants to add depth to the characters — the big storyline with the villain really doesn’t start until 45 or 50 minutes into the movie because the movie tries to concentrate on developing the characters and making them likable. I’d usually be all for this, but here it doesn’t really work. You can still describe these characters in a couple words. Samuel L Jackson is Samuel L Jackson. Colin Farrell is boring. Jeremy Renner is a rebel. Michelle Rodriguez is (shockingly) a tough Latina. LL Cool J is just a generic guy. And these are the most interesting characters in the whole movie — there are quite a few others, but they all sucked.

This is an action movie, so the main draw here would be how good the explosions/shootouts are. Well, for one thing there really aren’t that many of them. When they do occur, they’re alright…but assuming you watch more than two movies a year, you’ve probably seen it all before.

As for the story…again, nothing special. You’ve seen this type of stuff before, and it’s all really predictable. The villain is kinda boring for a villain; whenever he was on-screen, I was just wishing it went back to the SWAT team because they were far more interesting than he was.

SWAT is the type of movie where if I was just bored flipping through channels and saw this on, I’d probably stop and watch it. It isn’t a terrible movie. But at the same time I really can’t recommend that anyone go out of their way to see this, even if you’re a big fan of one of the lead actors.

Score = 5.0/10

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