While I wouldn’t call it a action movie masterpiece, “S.W.A.T.” is a decent iteration of the television series that broadens its appeal for a younger audience. While I would have loved a movie that was darker and grittier, the movie works as a comic book kind of movie about the S.W.A.T. unit that look kind of like law enforcing Avengers. The 2003 action crime thriller flaunts every would-be super star and up and coming superstar, taking the S.W.A.T. team and turning it on its head when corruption reaches even its ranks.
I will never understand the reasoning behind Frank Miller ever wanting to direct his own superhero movie. It’s not that he’s directing a movie, either, it’s that he’s directing a movie in the style of Robert Rodriguez’s fast and cheap process where he merely places his cast in front of a green screen for ninety percent of his film. And we must endure a hundred minute crime thriller with people that stumble around a CGI world. Frank Miller has no idea how to grasp at anything other than dark, violent, and gritty thus he takes Will Eisner’s groundbreaking comics and tacks it on to his “Sin City” neo-noir universe. Miller doesn’t outright say it to us, but Miller wants us to very much believe that “The Spirit” is a shared universe with “Sin City.”
We fucking love Quentin Tarantino. And odds are if you’re thinking about buying “Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece” from Voyageur Press, you fucking love him, too. At two hundred pages in length,. the giant tome written by Jason Bailey (with essays from movie historians and critics) doesn’t just fill you in on “Pulp Fiction,” but on everything Tarantino. This is the big Kahuna of Tarantino knowledge, and it’s a hell of a fun book to sift through.
“I tend to play characters that I can infuse with certain kinds of humour. Even the baddest guy can be funny in his own particular way. I want the audience to engage with the character on some deeper level so that they leave the cinema still thinking about him.” – Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson just has a presence that makes even his worst films slightly watchable. From shit like “xXx,” to “The Man,” right down to the entertaining “Red Violin,” and “”Die Hard with a Vengeance,” Jackson’s constant appearance in films is really no surprise. So I figured, what the hell, why not a list of my favorite appearances from the man? Be warned: Spoilers are extremely nigh.
Samuel L. Jackson has just bought himself a heaping helpful of infamy and prestige shamelessly bragging about and spearheading one of the most ludicrous ad campaigns ever enlisted for such a ridiculous movie. I admit I was one of the many who thought the hype, jokes, spoofs, et al were all overblown for what could have been a mediocre big budget crap fest. But you know what? When all was said and done, I’d rather have a fun ridiculous original film, then another remake of a childhood classic. And that’s what invariably won me over on “Snakes on a Plane”.
This is, to put it plainly, my current favorite film of all time.
Let me count the ways:
Cinematography. It’s experimental without being art kitschy. If there’s one thing that M. Night seems to get, it’s a good director of photography. The man knows how to frame a scene. A lot of that, I assume, is just like writing a book. Practice. And M. Night, judging from the early age at which he started making films, has a lot of practice. There are a number of angles in this film that just stick with you. The scene in the train from the perspective of the child. The scene from above the weights, giving the audience weight on the main character. The scene in the rapist’s home where you see the rapist suddenly appear. Willis in frame in his Security Outfit, as superhero as a superhero movie gets.
Director John McTiernan, after directing the horrible “Rollerball” remake, displays a high energy thriller which is beautifully directed; there some great shots in the film and the right mood and tension but ultimately it’s all wasted beneath the muddled confusing story. Taking it’s lesson from the classic “Rashomon”, an infantry group witnesses a murder take place attempting to rescue some survivors that never returned from a mission; they soon learn there was a large incident that took place and attempt to discover what occurred. Finding no options they call in DEA agent Tom Hardy played by the energetic John Travolta to take the reigns and interrogate the survivors and unfoil what occured while assisted by the scruffy Lt. Julia Osborne who discover a plot involving sadistic Sgt. Nathan West and his soldiers who hate him with a passion, and soon find much more beneath what looks like murder and drug dealing within the troop.
Originally set in 1975, the iconic series “S.W.A.T.” is given a welcome modern spin with all the original characters back in tow. Director Clark Johnson does a good job selecting an all-star hip cast to portray the famous characters from the original series. What this movie manages to do that most modern action films don’t is successfully establish every character, their personality, and their background which is interesting and then pulls the audience into the action taking place with the story. It’s reported among the stars that they actually studied the real S.W.A.T. training sequences and also interacted in exercises which can be seen in the very realistic and steadfast depictions of the exercises used by the S.W.A.T. infantry.