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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.40:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Commentary - English, Commentary - Italian
  Extras
  • 8 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Audio commentary
  • 4 Featurette
  • Animated menus
  • 5 Filmographies
  • Music-only track
  • Dolby Digital trailer
  • Gag reel
  • Sound effects only track

S.W.A.T.: CE

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 112 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

I reviewed the original TV series upon which this film is based recently, and found that the similarities between the two are quite remarkable. The show was cutting edge for the day and had a weird cheesy charm, as does the film.

This is a pure action flick, although it gets a little helter skelter in its overall delivery; sometimes one way, sometimes another. The opening sequence kicks off the action, setting up the premise and the bad guy a little too predictably before retiring to an education sequence before ramping up the action again for the final third.

For those not already in the know, the story goes like this:

Jim Street (Colin Farrell) and his partner Gamble work for S.W.A.T. (this stands for Special Weapons And Tactics by the way) a high-tech division of the police department for jobs the regular cops can’t take on. Breaking into a bank holdup in progress, the boys commit an offence against a direct order and it isn’t long before Gamble’s out and Street is working in the menial cleaning department of the gun cage.

Street meets the returning lieutenant ‘Hondo’ Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) and, before long, Street and he are putting together a special operatives team of S.W.A.T. Meanwhile, an internationally recognised villain has just landed and by chance is arrested. He makes an offer to the general public of a one hundred million dollar reward for anyone who springs him from lock down and, soon after, Hondo’s team have the escorting job. Before you know it, every low life in town is after the reward and the newly formed team must endure their baptism of fire.

"I can’t believe how much grief that Frog’s hundred million-dollar offer’s bringing us!"

Running for 112 minutes, the film starts strongly before meandering into the training aspect of the film, with relationships being forged, training improving and set-ups for later in the film. After all this has been taken care of the movie really starts up with the action and doesn’t really relent until the end. However, some of the stunts/computer animation work may have you suspending your disbelief for a while. There’s also a shorter epilogue that kinda drains emphasis away from the climactic finalé and this is a little disappointing in its simplicity. Still, the film has some wild moments of action and a couple of good laughs. The original show has been treated with a certain regard and even makes a mild cameo on a TV set for the quick of eye.

Make no mistake; this is just pure action cinema. Plenty of loud noises, big explosions, blood packs and quips that combine overall to create an enjoyable if not overtaxing film. Action junkies will love it, but don’t expect rocket science behind that action. There’s not a great deal of substance here, but that’s okay. We should have known that going in – the film’s called S.W.A.T. after all and we all know who they are.

  Video
Contract

Without much in the way of the flaws department, this print is crystal clear. I couldn’t spot a single film artefact and I was looking closely. Still, a film of this one’s recent releasiveness shouldn’t have garbage all over it. Colours are clean and well saturated, all sorts of flesh tones look fine and blacks are true to life, but the shadow detail fluctuates between just fine and murky as hell. One fight scene in particular, set in a trainyard, is a ghastly silhouetted affair in which it’s hard to judge even who the combatants are at any point, even though we know the characters. In fact, this is so devoid of recognition, I’m wondering if it wasn’t deliberate. I can’t see why, but it may well have been.

Otherwise everything looks superb in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio (with 16:9 enforcement). Of particular note is the use of computer animation. For the most part this is spot on and well handled, with multiple layers uniting perfectly for a pretty impressive result. Lighting, especially of the bridge scenes in the final act is great on the CG elements and is quite convincingly done.

  Audio
Contract

Get your game on here, because this gets LOUD. From the outset the surrounds get cranking and the subwoofer starts to smoke. There are countless gunshots, crowd noises, city backgrounds, television signals and everything coming through them in crystal clear resolution throughout. Helicopters too, I should add. The rumbling of the subwoofer really swells too, filling the sound with that perfect depth that makes it sound so cinema-like. Awesome stuff indeed, delivered in pristine Dolby Digital 5.1.

Dialogue gets a little hammy at times with lines like the bigger quote above uttered at regular intervals. I also felt the dialogue stated the obvious a little too often. Please give us, the audience, a little credit. We ain’t stoopid.

The soundtrack truly kicks arse, as they’ve obviously tried to modernise the feel of the show by bringing in all sorts of modern hip-hop gangsta and techno beats and this works to the film’s advantage. Elliott Goldenthal’s score also elevates the film, lending it a definite ‘recorded yesterday’ feeling. All round the sound impresses greatly here, as it does in the extras which I shall get to now.

  Extras
Contract

A huge batch which I’m surprised didn’t warrant a two-disc set. Never mind, the inclusions here look just fine and so obviously didn’t need an extra disc.

Our first two entrants are the audio commentaries. These are both voiced by different groups, with the first featuring the director and cast in a very tight squeeze, I imagine. The second features the technical directors and techies and this too gets a little crowded. Both are about average as far as commentaries go, probably more of interest to the die hard fans of this film I would imagine.

Anatomy of a Shootout is not a remnant from the Hannibal Collector’s Edition, but in fact a discussion regarding the opening sequence in the bank. Running for 9:07 it details information about the real life inspiration for the scene and the story behind it. Not bad.

What looks pretty much like a seven minute advertisement for the S.W.A.T. Season One release follows and features some original cast in recent interviews. Entitled TV’s Original Super Cops, it feels a lot like an homage to the show, but the big flashing signs advertising the DVD box set are a bit obvious.

The usual making of stuff comes next in The Making of S.W.A.T., which runs for 21:42, while eight deleted scenes rock up next. The highlight of these is definitely in Hondo’s Introduction, and all are presented in unenhanced 2.35:1.

6th Street Bridge – Achieving the Improbable details the end sequence of the film on the 6th Street Bridge (funnily enough). This short featurette details the computer animation used and is quite interesting.

Sound and Fury: The Sounds of S.W.A.T. is a twin subheaded thing with The Sounds of S.W.A.T. being a short computer animated feature of a guncase. In here we can scroll through four major weapons used in the film and link to a short piece of them in action. The second header of Scene Breakdowns sees four scenes from the film being broken down into their component sound effects. Using the 'Audio' button on the remote we can hear just Gunshots, Impact, Mechanics or Full Gun Effects. This is thankfully provided in 5.1 surround. I tell ya, you’d never think so many noises are lurking in an action scene. Or maybe you would, I dunno.

The trailer clocks in at 2:21 in 1.85:1 with 16:9 and in Dolby 5.1. Kaboom!

Finally a short gag reel runs for 2:57 and has its fair share of laughs within it before four filmographies round out the selection. These are for Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J (also known as James Todd Smith).

That should keep you busy for a while.

  Overall  
Contract

For fans of the show, this remains fairly true to the original ideal while modernising and politically correctionalising it for the 21st century. There’re some excellent action sequences and a truly dynamic sound experience for those fans of the show or those who loved it in cinemas. The story is alright, if not more than a little predictable, but the action and chemistry between the ensemble cast holds the film’s head above water.

Don’t expect a gritty cop drama, but rather a well intentioned, mildly humourous and well shot film providing its fair share of explosive action sequences and gunplay. It definitely holds true to the original series and so fans of this should also enjoy the film here on DVD.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3762
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      And I quote...
    "This has been cleverly modernised into 21st century cinema with all due respect to its original '70s cop show inspiration. "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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