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S.W.A.T. (2003)



Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 27

A competent, but routine police thriller.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 272,607

My Rating

Movie Info

Clark Johnson's big-screen adaptation of the 1970s television series S.W.A.T. stars Colin Farrell as Jim Street, a young special weapons and tactics team member who, in the film's opening sequence, is demoted after his hothead partner Jeremy Renner shoots a hostage while trying to kill her captor. In need of good press, the higher-ups call in SWAT expert Hondo Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) to put together an elite team that can bring some luster back to the badge. He chooses Street, veteran T.J.

Dec 30, 2003


Columbia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (171) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (79) | Rotten (86) | DVD (41)

As summer shoot-'em-ups go, this is pretty well executed, with plenty of macho posing and gunfire.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

he high definition SWAT training footage resembles a US Army recruitment ad, appropriate since TV journeyman Johnson imagines downtown LA as an unpatrolled Baghdad, swarming with guntotin' mercenaries pursuing their share of the bounty.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is something sneakily gratifying about all this.

August 7, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A rigmarole of stranded clichés and thrill-free action-movie legerdemain.

August 13, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The director, a TV guy named Clark Johnson, doesn't shoot action very well, which is sort of a handicap.

August 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You can't get mad at it -- except for the two hours of your life it steals from you.

August 9, 2003 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By-the-numbers explosion flick -- no surprises.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Never quite rises above the level of merely watchable.

January 8, 2010 Full Review Source:

Is surely flawed, but in the end manages to work well as action entertainment...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

A lively, mindless police thriller.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Solidly entertaining without being spectacular.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Watching the wheels come off of S.W.A.T. is quite a sight.

June 26, 2005 Full Review Source: FromTheBalcony

Is there an actual character in S.W.A.T.? A plot? A single intelligent or exciting sequence?

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness | Comments (2)
Lessons of Darkness

...a case of a modest workmanlike film exceeding diminished expectations

January 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This is an enjoyable entertainment, but I can't really call it any more than average.

October 7, 2004 Full Review Source:

I think intentions matter. On its own terms, this vaguely retro S.W.A.T. is honest filmmaking and bang-up entertainment to boot.

July 2, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

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

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source:

Reasonably entertaining for the first half-hour, after which your eyelids will be heavy.

January 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Guardian

... S.W.A.T. is an action movie for those of us who want to see more than shiny cars and musclebound meathead heroes of the Vin Diesel variety.

January 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

S.W.A.T. may well be the set up for a movie franchise. Let's hope the producers understand why this one works.

January 2, 2004 Full Review

'Meat and potatoes action cinema.'

December 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Teletext

Um filme interessante, mas não muito eficiente.

November 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

It's just a shame there's not more substance to the style. Plenty of crash, bang. Not a lotta wallop.

November 25, 2003 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for S.W.A.T.

Watchable. Suspend reality of course.
January 20, 2014

Super Reviewer

S.W.A.T is a film that had the potential of being a terrific, mindless and well executed action picture that relies on every cliché to create something that is supposed to be thrilling. Well, this was a disappointing and awful film that simply didn't do anything to entertain me. The cast were not well developed and the script had poorly written dialogue that was cringe worthy. I really wanted to enjoy this one, but it was a poor attempt at creating something truly awesome. This film started off with plenty of potential, but quickly ran out of steam. The film suffers from a poorly written, underdeveloped script that simply fails to try and deliver some thrills. However this is just a typical action film that doesn't break new ground despite its concept. If you're looking for a great and fun popcorn film, you won't find it here. This is simply an awful film with bad acting and poorly written and thought out direction. This film really could have been awesome, but it just ended up being a bland, uninteresting actioner that didn't deliver. There was some pretty impressive talent involved, but it was all wasted on a clichéd script that simply didn't know how to create something worthwhile to watch. This film is really not worth seeking out even if you have nothing else better to watch. This one is just a standard action film that is predictable and ultimately laughable. This was a wasted opportunity in trying to make something special; a\and despite good actors such as Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, this one just didn't have the ingredients necessary in making something really awesome and highly entertaining. S.W.A.T might have looked good on paper, but on-screen it is a train wreck that just fails on almost every level.
May 13, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Kinda based on the American TV show but ultimately kinda not. Characters left out, new ones in, different ethnicity for the one member and turning one regular into the baddie. Kinda makes you wonder why they bother adapting these old shows if they're gonna change most of it. Luckily (amazingly) this film hasn't suffered too badly and is pretty much a stand alone action film, old TV show left by the wayside.

When this was first brought up I instantly thought it would be crapola, just a weak timid action flick that would probably border on comedy. Much to my surprise the film is an out n out serious fast paced cop flick, more serious in terms of realism than say...'Lethal Weapon', but with less of the comedy.

I think we can all guess its a film about a tough highly skilled elite team of cops, and this being a modern flick the testosterone is through the roof!. The clearly unfit Samuel L. Jackson leads a team consisting of Farrell, Rodriguez (again in another crack team of tough nuts), LL Cool J and two other faceless guys. In all honesty I think the team could have been better cast with better character actors from the 80's action genre, why we have to put up with these ex-rap/hip-hop stars with stupid names I don't know.

The plot is sort of obvious but not completely, you'd expect the usual last stand type ordeal with a team but the film shows some imagination. The main bad guy spends most of his time cuffed with cops which is a brave move, the good guys tend to be always trying to gain the upper hand and never really in control and of course there is betrayal, which spices things up. Its not exactly hard to predict but it plays out a little differently than most cookie cutter action films.

What is different is the fact half the film shows this team training, and what is shown looks pretty realistic I gotta say. Lots of skilled combat/hostage training with your cliched yet highly polished 'Top Gun-esq' over the top camaraderie and macho showboating with liberal splashes of gun porn. It all looks slick sexy and makes you wanna run down to the local cop recruitment centre and get shooting. Oh those boys in blue do look handsome in their nice perfectly fitting uniforms and actionman body armour.

The film isn't really very violent, it hints at some strong stuff, you just don't see it. I do tend to think that the film might have been much cooler had it been an all out adult film, bit more gritty and a bit less glossy perhaps. But in general its a solid action flick that you can easily enjoy without ever knowing the old TV show ever existed.
April 9, 2013

Super Reviewer

S.W.A.T. has two people I love watching on screen. Samuel L. Jackson for his tough attitude and his smart-ass mouth and Colin Farrell. Well, he's just nice to look at, Lol. Also he's a badass and I like watching him is action flicks. LL Cool J isn't bad to look at either.
It has nice action and not a bad plot to boost. I enjoyed all the performances, even the not so stellar ones. It's a movie I can watch any time. I've seen it more than once and will probably see it again. Give it a chance. It's not amazing, but its fun and action packed. Sometimes these kind of films are just what you need on a rainy day."
February 2, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Sgt. Dan "Hondo" Harrelson: You still want to work S.W.A.T?
    2. Chris Sanchez: No. I just enjoy applying all the time.
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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