Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Studio: Stage 6 Films
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Benny Boom
Review Rating: 7 Obstacle Courses
Los Angeles SWAT Instructor Paul Cutler is sent to Detroit to train a SWAT group in FBI certification, but training gets a harsh dose of reality on a live response to a domestic dispute call.
You wouldn’t think they would bother with a sequel to the SWAT movie deal, considering that the first one, while fairly lauded and somewhat popular, didn’t make a whole lot of film waves; but they did. And to give the movie gods credit, it’s not half bad at all. Like, literally. Half the film is greatly watchable, and the other half, well, judge for yourself. Director Benny Boom seems to have a clear understanding that a SWAT movie needs a healthy balance of action, but also respect for all that they do, undergo, and fight for. Half the movie focuses on training under the boyish but firm hands of Gabriel Machts’ character Paul Cutler, with all manner of weapons, situations, hostage negotiations and so forth. The other half of the movie, where they attempt to toss all this nifty training into a real life situation and have the trainees go through it that way too, is rather sloppy and ill-explained. Which is unfortunate, because the bad guy in this instance is Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 fame, and he really deserved a more well-defined character. Interestingly enough, we also have another Terminator baddie, Kristanna Loken, who sadly gets all of five minutes face time before her face ends up on a wall.
Since the first SWAT movie had several noteable actors and gave the shot to a few lesser-knowns, the sequel seems to follow the same pattern. Aside from Macht, Patrick and Loken, we have several others of middling fame to round out a pretty nice-looking cast. Nicholas Gonzalez, of True Blood (that should get some attention), Anacondas and Spun note, stars as Justin Kellog, member of the team that gives Cutler the most trouble. Shannon Kane of Brooklyn’s Finest wings in as Lori Barton, the token female of the SWAT gang who of course happens to be a very fine sharpshooter and can hang with the guys all night long. Micah Hauptman, yes he was in Iron Man, stars as Richard Mundy, the somewhat methodical and contemplative member of the team. And Matt Bushell, yes he was *sigh* in Twilight, lends strength as another member of the team, Danny Stockton. Gino Anthony Pesi, of The Vampire Diaries and the newly released Battle: Los Angeles stars as Wayne Wolport, yet another teammate. And Giancarlo Esposito, who’s been in the biz since the 70’s and in everything from Do The Right Thing to CSI: Miami, gives a very fine performance as Inspector Hollander, leader of the Detroit SWAT group under Cutler’s training.
If you like gritty reality police-style dramas, this heartfelt attempt at a sequel is for you. Just bear in mind, the attempted plot has several holes; enjoy the action and try not to expect toooo terribly much. S.W.A.T. Firefight gets a rating of 7 Obstacle Courses!