Monday, July 17, 2023

2K Replay: S.W.A.T

 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Action Trailer” at the Golden Trailer Awards. It lost to Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

• Best Scene/Moment: Any mano-a-mano moment between Colin Farrell and Jeremy Renner.

• Best Song: “Figure.09” by Linkin Park.
• Best Merch: A “S.W.A.T. Plastic Popcorn Bucket…” for $13.59. It features images of the cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J. It’ll turn your popcorn into swatcorn. I’m sorry.

• Director Check: S.W.A.T. was directed by actor-director Clark Johnson. Johnson began his career in the mid-'80s and appeared in films like Adventures in Babysitting, Iron Eagle II, and Renegades. While continuing to act, he began directing for television with the series Homicide: Life on the Street during the mid-'90s and has helmed episodes of many popular series over the years including NYPD Blue, The West Wing, Homeland, The Walking Dead, and The Wire (which he also appeared in as an actor). Johnson made his feature directorial debut with the HBO film Boycott in 2001 starring Jeffrey Wright, Terrance Howard and CCH Pounder. S.W.A.T. was his first theatrical feature and became a success at the box office despite receiving mixed reviews. His next theatrical feature was the forgotten 2006 thriller The Sentinel starring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland. Johnson has directed television primarily since then except for a couple of smaller films I’ve never heard of like 2019’s Juanita starring Alfre Woodard and 2020’s Percy starring Christopher Walken. Next, Johnson’s is directing multiple episodes of the Disney+ series, Daredevil: Born Again which is scheduled to drop in 2024.

• Double It with This 2003 Movie: Bad Boys II

• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Basic, Hollywood Homicide, The Recruit
Draft Day or S.W.A.T? Draft Day

• Mall Movie? Hell yeah! Any movie produced by Neal H. Moritz is a mall movie.

• Only in 2003: The soundtrack which features Linkin Park, Apollo 440, Molotov, and Hot Action Cop. Not all the music in S.W.A.T. is bad but some of the songs are among the worst I’ve heard in my entire life.

• Scene Stealer: Jeremy Renner.

• I Miss: Jeremy Renner villain performances. He makes for a great creep.

• I Don’t Miss: Josh Charles being a secret bad guy. To be fair, I think it just happened in this and Four Brothers, but it feels like it happened in every action movie for five years. I like Josh Charles, so this isn’t a knock on him or his performance.
• 2003 Crush: Michelle Rodriguez.

• 2023 Crush: Michelle Rodriguez but to a much greater extent.

• What I Thought in 2003: I thought it was an enjoyable diversion on a summer afternoon.

• What I Think in 2023: S.W.A.T. rules. I’ve grown to appreciate it more over time. I wish middle-of-the-road theatrical action movies like this still existed in 2023. It exceeds in its ambition - there’s charismatic performances, the villains are compelling and the action is exciting. I wish we had as many S.W.A.T. movies as we do Fast and the Furious movies.


  1. This is one of my comfort movie. First of all, Michelle Rodriguez is badass and never been sexier than this. And the rest of the characters are just good at their jobs, and also badass. There's no clumsy idiot in the group and i kinda find it refreshing.

  2. I saw this in theaters opening weekend because my wife’s friend from her improv class at the time had a tiny part in the movie (dispatcher no. 1). We had all done extra work before, but seeing a friend with lines in the number one movie of the weekend was super cool. And it was just an awesome summer popcorn movie so it was a win win night at the movies.

  3. I haven't seen this since it first came to DVD but I do remember liking it. And now I definitely am hungry for Swatcorn, so thanks!

  4. S.W.A.T. does indeed rule. I think it's important to note the screenplay is co-written by David Ayer (who also has a co-writing credit on the original Fast!), which gives it just the right amount of edge. Also, fun fact: the pilot of the 2017 TV series reboot, which is still running, was directed by Justin Lin.

    On the one hand, I agree it would have been cool to see a sequel, but on the other hand, I don't know how you top all of LA's gangs racing to free one foreign prisoner all at once. That was a genuinely cool idea, well executed.

    1. Technically, there is a sequel. Different characters and all, also sucks, but it exist.