S.W.A.T. | HE-SAID / SHE-SAID DVD REVIEW
Starring Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L Jackson, Ladies Love Cool James, Jeremy Renner (aka Tobey Maguire)
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I must say, this has been the week of surprises. After seeing the trailer for SWAT, which proudly proclaimed it was from the producers of XXX and The Fast and the Furious (as if that was a GOOD thing), I made sure to pass it up in the theater. But, as luck would have it, it surpassed my wildest ultra low expectations. S.W.A.T. is the most amazing, gay buddy cop movie of the year.
While the 1970’s TV S.W.A.T. was a story of hard-boiled S.W.A.T. team that kicked ass and took names, the 2003 film of S.W.A.T. takes a decidedly different approach, and is primarily the story of a frisky young gay cop named “Street.” As the story starts he’s on a mission with his reckless gay buddy, Gamble, who happens to be played by Tobey Maguire following a terrible car accident. They’re trying to foil a bank robbery being perpetrated by the nasty-straight-man right-wing oppressors. At a critical point in the insertion, Gamble takes it upon himself to apply what he learned by watching Speed, and shoots a hostage in order to down a bank robber. Needless to say, they get kicked off the force. Street takes up a job in the gun cage and busies himself flirting with his male Mormon co-worker and shining the phallic bullet ejaculators you action film fans know and love so well. Luckily Street’s boyish good looks capture the eye of the blackest man in America, Samuel L Jackson (called Sgt. Dan ‘Hondo’ Harrelson in this film), and he gets recruited to be on his “SWAT” team. But Hondo can’t settle for just one man. He recruits three more men and one wo-Man (Michelle Rodriguez) for his SWAT crew.
Enter a mean nasty Frenchie who decides to stir up some shit. He kills some other French guys and gets caught. Offering whoever frees him from bondage “ONE HUNDRED MEEEEELION DOLLARS”, he causes a stir in the ghetto trash community. As luck would have it, all hell breaks loose just days after the fabulous SWAT crew complete their training, with Thugs and gang bangerz coming out of the woodwork to free the Frenchie from captivity.
While a predictable story, with a few logical loopholes, it is completely believable. The acting, action, and story were all top notch. The attention to realism was a welcome change from the flying and crap I’m used to seeing in today’s John Woo rip-offs. And best of all, this film had an actual story. I can’t say the same for fellow TV Show turned Columbia film, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Plus the film was much better than Columbia’s last cop-crap fest, Bad Boys II. But even if I wasn’t comparing this film to two of the years worst film transgressions it would still hold up as a solid action film. I’ll leave the rest of the review (sans special features) to Kris, but I will say that S.W.A.T was a lot of fun.
As far as special features go, you have some deleted scenes that were wisely omitted from the film, an “Anatomy of a Shootout” featurette that glosses over the camera setup for the film’s first shootout and doesn’t really explore the technicalities of setting up the equipment needed for said action piece, a standard making of featurette, a featurette on the different guns used in the film and the sounds they make, a featurette on the new technologies in sound recording used to bring the gunshots to life in the film, and featurette on the 6th street bridge special effect sequence at the end of the film (spoiler free’s the way to be), and a featurette on the original SWAT TV show. In addition you have one of the funniest gag reels I’ve seen, cast filmographies, and two commentary tracks I didn’t take the time to listed to (hey, I wanted to get this out ON TIME!). Overall, a good selection of relevant special features for all you greedy feature junkies.
Without further ado, the other Kris.
Little known fact: That scene in Spiderman 2 where Tobey Maguire’s noggin survives a near-miss with a two-ton vehicle.. well, he actually suffered a disgusting bash that rhinoplasty couldn’t help. Then he went on to star in S.W.A.T. with Colin Farrell as his ex-lover turned nemesis. And that is the REAL reason why it’s taking so long to release Spiderman 2. Talk about CG enhancements. Tough luck.
There also stands another little known fact that Colin Farrell’s openness to bisexuality (see his Alexander interviews) is the reason why chicks adore him. I’ve always thought he was a bit goofy looking with aomushi (caterpillar) eyebrows, but maybe that’s part of his appeal. (That and his inability to keep his shirt on –not that I’m complaining). He’s never afraid to look like a fool. And thank god too because this is seriously the most insane man-love action since the Van Damme / Rodman Double Team poster, or maybe the Care Bears.
Don’t get us wrong; we loved this movie. We watched, paused screen, and guffawed at the ambiguously fierce gay efforts dashing along one after the other, each one even more hilarious than the last. S.W.A.T. was incredible, but there’s no way it would have worked with a different cast –with a cast that takes itself too seriously. I mean, can you respect anyone else spitting out the lines, “Alright, let’s put this Frog in the Bird!” from anyone other than Samuel L. Jackson?
The soundtrack wasn’t too bad, incorporating backdoor goodness from the always awesome Jimi Hendrix (who appropriately sang “’scuse me while I kiss this guy” in many other films) and “teams” such as Jane’s Addiction and the Rolling Stones. Gems from the score soundtrack include: “That Cop Stole My Car”, “My Big Black Assault Weapon” and “Fascist Shuffle”.
A particularly attention “grabbing” special feature on the disc reveals the research and realism the armory and sound effects masters achieved. Together, they devised a new way of capturing and mixing fired shots for the big screen. One amazing example was the ambient, close-range and 360° combo at the beginning.
Sorry Colin and the gang — the following “visual review” is meant as a compliment.
**Warning: The following is NOT for the faint-hearted nor those who can’t take a joke.