many modern actors I’d pay to see. Russell
Crowe is at the top of the list. But
Colin Farrell is right below him. Farrell
made Phone Booth a captivating film.
He even made the execrable Daredevil tolerable. So that’s why I went to see S.W.A.T.
This is a pretty
standard police thriller, but it deviates from the modern norm in that it
pictures the LAPD in a fairly favorable light.
Jim Street (Farrell) is a S.W.A.T. team member who gets into the
doghouse of his hateful, self-centered boss, Capt. Thomas Fuller (Larry
Poindexter), who banishes him to routine work in the “cage.”
Hondo Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson), also unliked by Fuller, rescues
him and puts him on his team. Alex
Montel (Olivier Martinez) is a drug lord who’s captured, and offers a $100
million reward to anyone who can spring him.
Hondo’s team is assigned to protect him.
This is an
unexceptional, flawed, police shoot-em-up that kept me awake for the entire
109 minutes. Unfortunately, the
uninspired script barely scratches the surface of Farrell’s talents.
Anyone could have handled his part, even Ben Affleck.
Farrell’s a budding star and needs more challenging roles than
One problem with
this film is the music. I
watched the original The Thin Man (1934) again recently and one thing
struck me--no music! One of the
classic mystery/comedies of all-time and there was no music.
S.W.A.T. would have been better had it copied The Thin Man,
because S.W.A.T.’s music (Elliot Goldenthal) is inconsistent with
the emotions it should be emphasizing. It’s loud and, rather than adding
to the tension they’re ineptly trying to develop, detracts from what’s
going on on the screen. How
would you like to watch Humphrey Bogart tell Ingrid Bergman, “We still
have Paris,” to the background music of The Real Slim Shady?
Another problem is
that there’s a token woman, Chris Sanchez (Michele Rodriguez), on the
team. One thinks she’s being
included for some reason, maybe to do something special or to provide a love
or sex interest. She’s
shapely and beautiful and the film has scenes that establish her ability to
cause significant mayhem. But, no, she’s just there.
And she’s still just there at the end, having done nothing
remarkable. Really, just a
token; nothing more.
The big climax is
so contrived it lessens the drama of the film.
I would have thought that after setting this thing up the filmmakers
would have had a challenging ending that would have required a S.W.A.T. team
to perform exceptional services. Alas,
there’s nothing special about how they prevail.
It could have just as easily been the guys and gals from Law and
This is an
enjoyable entertainment, but I can’t really call it any more than average.
August 25, 2003