Is SWAT the best action movie of the last twenty years?

I just re-watched SWAT the other day for at least the 10th time and I can say with conviction there is no other movie perfect for a Saturday morning. You’re hungover and tired after a long night of drinking and SWAT comes on FX, the odds of you changing the channel are practically 0%. Why is SWAT a great movie, because you get everything you want without being bashed over the head.

SWAT is the story of the every-man hero, before the industry got obsessed with superheros. Yes some studios do a good job with their superhero movies and tying them seamlessly to each other but today that’s all there is, another superhero movie on top of another superhero movie. There is no realism associated with today’s superhero movies. There is limited connection to the superheros because they don’t really exist, and New York City hasn’t been attacked by aliens in the real world. SWAT is a fun entertaining movie that has an every-man hero( Jim Street, Spoiler Alert) and a realistic situation(Jailbreak, Spoiler Alert). Let’s dive in a phenomenal movie:


Even the Amazon Video Player knows its time to go.

The film opens up and just throws the viewer straight into the fire. You can hear gun fire and a police officer call on the radio before opening up to a street with masked men firing automatic weapons. It’s a hostage situation at a bank

Already we know its on as the officer says “Requesting SWAT, code 3”

We see a helicopter coming in with Colin Farrell(Street) and Jeremy Renner(Gamble) inside.

Street looking good, Gamble looking a little pissy:


Landing on top of the bank. Great repelling action and camera work.


Street and Gamble know what they’re doing, they’re pros. This isn’t their first rodeo. We see SWAT outside the bank and are introduced to Lt Velasquez(right) and T.J McCabe manning the perimeter, looking over the situation.


Everything is going great, Street and Gamble are inside getting a visual while the rest of SWAT is outside trying to talk down the hostage-takers.

Gamble get’s a little trigger happy and decides that he can shoot the leader of the robbers gang but ignores the potential danger of harming the hostage. He kills the hostage-taker but also shoots the hostage, saying its okay because it is collateral damage and that she’ll live.

Clearly Street is not happy with this he  backs up his partner because that’s what partners do. Farrell putting on an acting clinic.


What a fucking actor. Why didn’t they give him the Oscar.

Well now Street and Gamble are in trouble with Captain Fuller, a douchebag. Street backs up his boy even though Street is given the opportunity to rat out Gable. After refusing to do so he’s off SWAT. Gamble quits the force but  Street stays to try and get back on SWAT.

After a fight we realize that the friendship is over. I’m not sure how Jimmy can handle breaking a mirror with the back of his head and be 100% A-OK but he’s Jim Street, he can do anything.

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PHENOMENAL first ACT. Setting up the whole movie perfectly. Redemption story for the ages: let’s see how this plays out,. shall we?


Jim is back training and six months later is in great shape.

Guess what, we get a mother fucking montage!!!!

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Weighted vest runs on the beach will get you ripped.

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Some Boxing


Running with the police dog

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Back to boxing

Fucking right Jim.Shred city

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Pullups baby, get those lats going

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PUKE SCENE, what a fucking legend you can’t teach that in acting school anymore

Here is a summary introducing everyone

HONDO, legend in the SWAT game, aptly played by Samuel L. Jackson.

We get a scene with the meetings of the minds, and why Hondo is here. L.A. SWAT, the best in the biz, is having a tough go and Hondo is here to fix up and lead a strong new unit.

We see Jimmy working late showing his dedication, grinding away. Jim Street legend.

Jimmer gets home his girlfriend (and former-SWAT partner’s sister, more on that later) is packing up to leave. We have reached rocked bottom for our Protagonist, or shall I say BRO-tagonist.

Jim looks sad:

Jim sad after breakup.PNG

Alright we’re back in the gun cage, and we get a litle bit of foreshadowing perhaps? Yes yes it is foreshadowing.

Jim describes his “key to the city” *FORESHADOWING*

ket to the city.PNG

Jim is now working for SWAT as the gun-bunny. He fixes and tests the weapons. We see Hondo and T.J McCabe going through a SWAT training obstacle course, and Hondo gets worked.

He then challenges McCabe to a good ole fashioned rematch, but puts Street up against T.J.

McCabe laughs.


There is some really fucking great dialogue here that you just got to watch for yourself.

It’s a close battle between Street and T.J

T.J has lost that confidence, now nervous, he can’t handle the heat. He knows he lost andddddddddd.

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The winner is….

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Now we are introduced to the bad guy, Alex Montel. He really doesn’t do anything, really at all except propel the story forward. He’s got a few good parts but what is great is that he gives us an ALL-STAR cameo from…

HERC!!!! The Wire legend plays “Henchman #1”. Let’s call him Herc because that is who will forever be in my mind. Great casting choice.


Montel comes to the US, kills his uncle, implies that he killed his father and ends up getting pulled over for a busted taillight.Really nothing of importance, let’s get back to Jimmy

Street is driving Hondo around as Hondo looks at recruits.


Now THAT is acting.

Look at this duo, can you say true detective season 3? I lost all memory of that abomination  of season 2


Hondo is an overall bad-ass, serving in some function of the armed forces. We learn that Street was a Navy seal and that if “anyone knew what we did, we failed” We’ll learn more about this later. Notice a theme here, Street is the man

Let’s meet some recruits:

LL Cool J: We get a nice introduction to his character and he joins SWAT after a nice chase scene. LL proves his worth, he’s IN

Side note this woman is in so many movies, great casting choice

sassy black woman.PNG

Next candidate up is this fucking guy:


He has everything on paper to be a good SWAT candidate so let’s explore the reasons to cut him:

First he doesn’t eat a good ole fashioned american hot dog, instead a vegan dog with a tomato juice.

Second, he’s never had a complaint and doesn’t understand that in SWAT you need to get a little dirty behind a street bus. SWAT is a different breed of cop, they have to do things that a normal officer can’t.

He’s OUT

We then meet the honorable Michelle Rodriguez, AKA Chris Sanchez. A tough chick who fuller doesn’t like, mainly because she’s a woman. We’re introduced to her as she’s getting tended to after an altercation where she beat the shit out of some dude.

She is exactly the type of person Hondo is looking for, She’s IN

sanchez bad bitch.PNG

Street is clearly not happy about not being considered. Hondo is not trusting of Street. We get an

Two alpha dogs going after each other, acting at its finest. Street-Hondo. Jackson-Farrell.

Hondo-Fuller go back and forth about the team, Hondo get’s his squad but with one caveat, if they fail  all are off SWAT and Hondo and Street are off the force entirely.


Street is the quintessential GRITTY team player. First one in, last one out. We meet the team but not without some fireworks. Remember that girlfriend Street had? Well her brother is on SWAT still and not harboring the best feelings towards ole Jimmy. After a little dust-up things settle down and the squad gets to work.


montage 2.PNG

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Not good enough so far


Here we go, kickboxing baby!!!

great stache.PNGGreat ‘stache


Teamwork, YEAH!


Team Bonding

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More team bonding.

Team is coming together. Also what a fucking actor Collin Farrell is.

coming together.PNG

Hondo is happy

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Great Cinematography


Fuck yeah! Let’s go boys

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Street and Hondo bonding, everyone knows he’s the leader on this squad



They have to stop faux-hostage-takers on an airplane. This is going to take skill, speed, precision, and a little ingenuity.

The team formulates a plan led by Street telling them of another way in.

A small area near the service entrance that Street discovered by “knowing a few flight attendants” Atta baby Street even your dick helps this team

We get some great music

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We go through all types of emotions. Suspense to action to suspense to victory to Fuller looking pissed. What a fucking scene, and a new course record to boot.

Celebrating ensues but everyone calls it an early night except Street and Sanchez, a little sexual tension/love story developing. How can anyone resist Jim Street? Answer: you can’t

Update on Montel:

He’s pissed, stuck in prison and not getting getting out anytime soon.

alex mad.PNG

Great flow though

At an old watering hole Street and Sanchez grab some beers, his ex-partner Gamble is there too. Can’t you FEEL the tension?

Little back and forth results in Street/Sanchez getting the best of Gamble , who proceeds to  breaks a picture of them. Gamble is pissed, full of regret, and will have his vengeance, in this life or the next.

gamble pissed.PNG

So Sanchez and Street leave and Sanchez invites him over to her kids birthday party, can you say BUDDING ROMANCE?

While at the party they get a SWAT call, no days off for the SWAT boys.

First job and they get a polish hostage, locked in his house saying he’ll blow the whole thing up. Insert Jim Street and his Key to the City.

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Jim is such a fucking leader

And guess what??? It works! No fucking way

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Alright back to Montel. The cops figure out who he is and are going to transport him to a Federal Prison, SWAT is going to escort. While on the way though Herc tries to break him out and a shootout ensues.

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SWAT wins the gunfight and Alex Montel is back in custody. Montel gets some TV time and says “I’ll give one hundred million dollars to whoever gets me out of here” and you know more action is going to follow.

These guys want in:

and it’s SWAT’s job to stop them.

Plan A, taking him via helicopter.

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Clearly that isn’t going to work.

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Its on to plan B

SWAT plays a little three card monte with everyone, pretending that they are transporting Montel via the road while they are actually walking him out of the city underground and then fulling getting him our at nightfall. Grade A plan.

There is a massive attack on the vehicles above ground that pictures don’t really do justice. It features an Asian guy with the best grenade throw in history. Check it out at 1:15 into the film.

In summation part A of plan B is a success, on to part B

Under the cover of night T.J is driving half the squad with Hondo and LL in another vehicle. T.J unexpectedly stops at a turn, right in a blind spot for the assisting helicopter. T.J McCabe is betraying his SWAT brethren, he just couldn’t resist the money could he.


Holy SHIT it’s GAMBLE!

Hondo is alerted, time to flip a bitch

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They aren’t going to let Gamble get away with this

Jim is shaken but ready to take it out on his boy. You can’t teach this type of acting

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Gamble and Co. go to the subway and get going JUST before SWAT can get there.

SWAT locks down the subway but Gamble and Co. have taken a route in the tunnels.

There are booby-traps set up all along the tunnel but Street, the leader that Jim is, is ready for them.  Street uses his training and a calymore to blowup a locked door.

Fucking right Jim

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SWAT makes it through and hi-jacks a limo.


Lets go boys, fast and the furious SWAT edition

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Sorry guys, Jim Street it taking over

How are our foes doing?


Gamble hires a pilot to land a jet on a bridge downtown while all the cops are across town, a death-defying stunt


Uh oh is he going to make it?


Sticks the LANDING!


Booby TRAP!


They made it though


SWAT is in hot pursuit.






Street still can’t take the shot, won’t endanger the hostage


Montel tries to run but our guy LL puts an end to that


Street goes after Gamble, great repelling technique


Sneak Attack: Gamble with the early advantage


Street rips a fucking knife out of this hand


Jim’s in pursuit


Round two lets fucking goooooo

Fists flying, head-butting,  oil drum throwing, jujitsu-ing, and finally Jim doing it the ole fashioned way




More punches kicks and we got a mother fucking train approaching

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Culminated in a nice fucking decapitation


McCabe, overcome with guilt and remorse pops himself



Jim looks like shit but mission accomplished.


Fuller is still a dick.


The SWAT makes it safely to the Federal Detention Center and we got ourselves a WRAP


SWAT is one of the best action movies of the 21st century. It is a story of your average SWAT team going about their business. This isn’t some superhero movie where aliens are invading every single time. They don’t go into the sunset, they go into their next job.

Everyone likes a good superhero movie but those don’t stand  the test of time. Know what does? SWAT. SWAT, Die-hard, Braveheart, and Lethal Weapon are all movies about every-man characters going about their business. It is realistic. There is a connection to the audience. Sure Thor or Iron Man is going to gross 200,300400,500 million dollars, but it isn’t going to have the longevity of a movie that the audience can connect to. While we won’t be members of SWAT, god knows I’m not that heroic, we understand the situation and how realistic they are.


SWAT A+ Action flick


2 thoughts on “Is SWAT the best action movie of the last twenty years?

  1. Pingback: Movie Teaser Wednesday? | Rhino Thoughts

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