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S.W.A.T. (2003)

Even cops dial 911

Rating: 1/10

Running Time: 117 minutes

UK Certificate: 12A

What do 'Halloween: H20', 'Any Given Sunday', Charlie's Angels and the remake of 'Rollerball' have in common? They all feature an appearance by L.L. Cool J., and they all suck. It is not that the rapper is a particularly bad actor, or lacks on-screen presence – rather, whether by coincidence, fate or voodoo, any film with L.L. Cool J. is eternally cursed (cf. the Curse of Busta Rhymes). The only exception to this rule is the irreproachable 'Deep Blue Sea', in which Cool J. joins Samuel L. Jackson and Saffron Burrows in a fight to the death with a pair of genetically modified killer sharks. So the makers of L.L. Cool J.'s latest project, 'S.W.A.T.', must have figured that they could avert his Curse by reuniting him with Samuel L. Jackson – but unfortunately they forgot the sharks, leaving a film that lacks any bite. 'S.W.A.T.' is a compendium of every buddy cop film cliché ever. A cop who is given one last chance after an assignment goes wrong? Check. Training with punching bags? Yup. A pencil-pushing captain who chews out his men? Natch. An 'old school' team leader who has served in 'Nam? You betcha. Rivalry and machismo amongst the members of the team? Sure thing. A scene where men size one another up on a rifle range? Certainly. Racist slurs against ethnic minorities? Check (in this case, Poles and – quelle surprise – the French). A guy talking about the customised modifications he has made to a gun? Naturally. A car pursuing a plane? Absolutely. An apprehended criminal taken to prison and told 'yeah, they'll find you a nice husband in here'? To be sure. A wise-cracking black cop from Compton? You guessed it – that's L.L. Cool J… What the film lacks, though, is any excitement, tension or character. The normally remarkable Samuel L. Jackson is here confined by the script to delivering what is in effect lengthy recruitment propaganda for LA's Special Weapons and Tactics unit. Colin Farrell has even less material to work with, and he apparently cannot even be bothered to take the piss out of his rôle (as he did so effectively in the otherwise lacklustre DareDevil). Everyone else clearly has their mind on their paycheck, and the scenes in which they are supposed to bond lack all chemistry. Basically, no-one in this film could care less, and you will feel just the same. Even the chases are dull. Its one moment of truly effective horror comes right at the end, when you are confronted with the realisation that it is setting itself up for a sequel. 'S.W.A.T' makes Beverly Hills Cop 2 look good. It makes Bad Boys 2 look good. In short, it is B.A.D..

It's Got: A French villain (Olivier Martinez) who has a panoply of faked IDs, but who is universally labelled the Frog by the main characters.

It Needs: To lose a good 114 minutes.


'S.W.A.T.' puts together a police squad loaded with so much brainless testosterone that it ends up being just a bunch of balls. How much fun will you get from it? S.Q.U.A.T.