S.W.A.T. (2003)

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Released 29-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Director And Cast
Audio Commentary-Screenwriters And Technical Consultant
Featurette-Anatomy Of A Shootout
Featurette-S.W.A.T.- TV's Original Super Cops
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-8
Featurette-6th Street Bridge - Achieving The Impossible
Featurette-Sound & Fury - "The Sounds Of S.W.A.T."
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 112:28
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Clark Johnson

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Colin Farrell
Michelle Rodriguez
LL Cool J
Josh Charles
Jeremy Renner
Brian Van Holt
Olivier Martinez
Reg E. Cathey
Larry Poindexter
Page Kennedy
Domenick Lombardozzi
James DuMont
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Perry Farrell
Elliot Goldenthal
Linkin Park

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A little while ago I reviewed the first season of a 70s cop show about an elite unit of police, who took on all the toughest cases, and fought crime like superheroes. That series, S.W.A.T. (which stands for Special Weapons & Tactics), was an Aaron Spelling creation, complete with bad hair, bad dialogue, a string of bad cliché plotlines, and all of it set to bad ‘wah-wakka’ porno music that made the show ultimately hilarious. When I heard that Columbia TriStar were dredging up this show to base a feature film on, I just started laughing. Turns out I was right to do so, but at least the laughter was (semi) intentional this time.

    S.W.A.T. the movie pretty much follows the archetype of the original. We have tough cop Jim Street (Colin Farrell) who is put off the S.W.A.T. force when his gung-ho partner shoots a hostage to save her life. Choosing to stick around on the force while his partner leaves, Street does his time in the gun cage, prepping the weapons the team uses, until one day S.W.A.T. legend Sgt ‘Hondo’ Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to put together an elite S.W.A.T. team to improve the image of the LAPD. But the team’s first real assignment may be its last when they are tasked with delivering a pretty-boy drug dealer (Olivier Martinez) to a Federal penitentiary after he has publicly offered $100 million to anyone who will set him free.

    S.W.A.T. does exactly what it intends to do – it provides a brainless action flick for the masses who like to watch things get blown up and shot full of holes in between more macho posturing than an Arnie film. It is far from being a classic action flick, and cannot touch the likes of True Lies, Face/Off, The Long Kiss Goodnight or even The Replacement Killers, simply because it is neither violent enough nor funny enough to engage on a more intense level.

    That said, the cast do a good job going through the paces and delivering their bad action-movie ‘one-liners’ with knowing smiles. And the film is directed by Clark Johnson with a great amount of visual flair which keeps the viewer entertained. But at the end of the day this is plain silly fun with guns – cops and robbers 80s style. If you engage with it on that level you will probably enjoy it, just don’t expect the unexpected.

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Transfer Quality


    Presented in a nice broad canvas aspect ratio of 2.40:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced and absolutely pristine.

    Colours are intensely saturated and shadow detail is great, with glossy blacks and shades of grey and no real apparent graininess.

    The transfer is devoid of any glaring MPEG artefacts, and the only film-to-video transfer faults I detected were some very minor aliasing and moire on grille panels in the background which you have to be paying attention to in order to notice.

    There is next to no dirt on this print and I went back through trying to find any. There is the odd white or black dot here and there but such faults are so random and interspersed that they are unnoticeable unless you are specifically looking for them.

    Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Italian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Icelandic, Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian and Swedish. They are white with a grey edge and do not substantially deviate from the script.

    The dual layer pause occurs at 57:00 during a scene change. It is noticeable but undisruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Audio is available in English 5.1 Dolby Digital and Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital.

    Dialogue is sometimes muffled by gunfire and explosions, but on the whole comes across clear and easy to understand. There are no audio sync issues.

    The range is excellent and there is exceptional use made of directional cues with gunfire coming from all over the place in several scenes, most notably the bank robbery at the start, the road ambush in the middle, and the gunfight at the end.

    The score by one of my favourite movie composers, Elliot Goldenthal, is nicely mixed and well rendered, complementing the action on screen without dominating it.

    The subwoofer is given a thorough working out with plenty of heavy machinegun fire, close up gunshots and fiery explosions to bring it to life.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with a 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack. The main menu has various little snippets from the film so don’t linger too long on it if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

Feature Commentary 1

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this track features director Clark Johnson and actors LL Cool J, Michelle Rodriguez, Brian Van Holt, Josh Charles and Jeremy Renner. This track is actually pretty interesting, although Johnson definitely does most of the talking unless the others are chipping in with wisecracks. Worth a listen, though, and comes with its own set of English subtitles.

Feature Commentary 2

    Also presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this track features screenwriters David Ayer, David McKenna, Ron Mita and Jim McClain who were all responsible for adapting the TV series to a big screen format.

Featurette – “Anatomy Of A Shootout” (9:07)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is a look at the making of the shootout at the beginning of the movie which was based on a real life shootout in Hollywood.

Featurette – “S.W.A.T. – TV’s Original Super Cops” (7:00)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is a look at the original TV series which the movie was based on.

Featurette – “The Making Of S.W.A.T.” (21:41)

    Presented in 1.33:1, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show, including various interviews with cast and crew.

Deleted Scenes

    Presented in 2.40:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are 8 deleted scenes:

Featurette – “6th Street Bridge – Achieving The Improbable” (5:22)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a look at the making of the action sequence at the end of the film.

Gag Reel (2:57)

    Presented in 2.40:1, non-16x9 enhanced, these are a series of (apparently quite intentional) screw ups that are very funny, particularly Farrell’s ‘Beer & Cigarette Olympics’ effort that has to be seen to be believed.

Talent Profiles

    There is a frame or two of information here regarding the principal cast.

Interactive Feature – “The Sound & Fury Of S.W.A.T.”

    This is an interactive feature that allows you to check out the various weapons used by S.W.A.T. during the movie and then see how sound is used during four of the shoot-outs in the film, allowing you to switch through audio tracks to cover gun shots, effects, ambience and then the composite mixed audio. Definitely one for the gun fanatics.

Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

    Presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital, this is a fairly decent theatrical trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    R1 also has a Pan & Scan version available as well as the widescreen anamorphic version that we have here. Otherwise, they would appear to be identical. If you have to have the Pan & Scan I’m afraid you’ll have to import, but otherwise these are the same.


    S.W.A.T. is basically an 80s-era style staple action flick that is almost as brainless as the series upon which it was based. Grab some beers, a couple of pizzas and some friends who like to laugh at things blowing up and getting shot full of holes and you will have a good night in.

    The video is outstanding, and nothing less than I would expect from Columbia TriStar.

    Sound is well above average, and just for people like me who like to turn up the amplifier to hear the sound of things breaking.

    The extras are extensive for a single disc release and worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
You missed the Featurette showing the crew playing golf. - ROBOCOP
Re: You missed the Featurette showing the crew playing golf. - Anonymous