Reviewed By Brian McKay
Posted 01/02/04 00:11:04

"A prominent example of Hollywood Malaise."
2 stars (Pretty Crappy)

Excuse me while I switch to my Samuel L. Jackson voice for a moment. "WELL well well, what have we here? Why, if it ain't four lead actors playing the exact same part they each played in their last ten goddamn movies! Oh, and let's not forget a script that spews more cliches than shell casings. Let me ask you somethin', Hollywood - Do we, the moviegoing public, look like a bitch to you? No? THEN WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO FUCK US LIKE ONE AT THE TICKET WINDOW!"

Thankfully, I didn't pay nine bucks for this in the theater. I know which movies are worth paying full price for, and which barely merit an absent-minded dumping to the bottom of my NetFlix queue.

As it stands, S.W.A.T. is not a horrible movie. If your expectations are low enough, and you're in the mood for some fairly mindless entertainment, it's a passable way to spend a couple of hours on a hung-over New Year's Day.

But God Damn, it just feels so done. Every cliche' and throwaway catch phrase we've heard in every cop and military movie in the past decade is trotted out on display again. Sam Jackson phoning it in? Check. L.L. Cool J still thinking he's an actor? Check. Colin Farrell playing the token cool white guy? Check. Michelle Rodriguez playing the sulky, feisty chick? Checked by default. Blustering Asshole Captain? Check. Nondescript and generic villains? Check - although this time instead of a Latin drug lord or Mafioso type, it's a cocksure Frenchman, what with France being such a popular whipping boy these days. Everyone hates the French, right?

But you'd think everyone hates these paint-by-numbers action flicks even more - especially the ones that plunder forgettable 70's T.V. shows (the original of which is also now availiable on DVD - can you believe that shit?) for bare-bones inspiration to make an even more forgettable new millenium equivalent. I don't expect any better than this from Cool J or Rodriguez (each is a likeable enough character actor, but let's face it - an evolution of their thespian skill sets is not in the cards). But we all know that Jackson and Farrell are capable of doing much better work. But hey, why even try to, when you can skate by on the public's sense of nostalgia, a lazy but well-funded script, and the almighty paycheck?

See if it you like, but don't go out of your way - and don't feel like you'll be missing out if you don't.

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