SWAT: Merrick Morton
Joshua Rich
January 16, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

S.W.A.T. (Movie)

ActionAdventure, Mystery and Thriller
Wide Release Date
Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Charles, LL Cool J, Olivier Martinez, Jeremy Renner, Michelle Rodriguez
Clark Johnson
Columbia Pictures
David Ayer, David McKenna
Current Status
In Season

We gave it a C+

Often among the most wasteful DVD features, commentary tracks tend to exchange edification for nonsense. Take one on the disc for S.W.A.T., last summer’s hit firearms advertisement, in which actors can be heard goofing off to no entertaining end as their boss starts his spiel with ”My name’s Clark Johnson, director of the movie ‘S.W.A.T.,’ not your basic summer action movie.” Huh? Though his film rides on the feeblest of insipid plots, is intermittently sexually and racially insensitive, fetishizes things like guns and pool cues, is based on a long-forgotten TV show, features enough violence to attract boisterous young men but not enough to warrant an R rating, and even comes from the producer behind ”XXX,” I suppose he’s right.

Still, Johnson can be pleased with himself — his movie, a box office success, does its job as far as basic summer action movies go, thanks to Colin Farrell as the thinly drawn hotshot, LL Cool J as the thinly drawn funny-fearless dude, Michelle Rodriguez as the thinly drawn chick in the house, and Samuel L. Jackson as their thinly drawn squad leader.

So it’s unfortunate that the stars’ considerable talents are squandered in the standard-issue extras. Production docs make explosive set pieces seem as interesting as a recitation of the California penal code. A dissection of the film’s sound effects walks the morality tightrope when, no kidding, it provides a tutorial on how to work an AK-47. And a filmlet devoted to the original blip of a middling ’70s TV program only makes one wonder why they decided to remake that show and not, say, ”CHiPs.”

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