I was there opening weekend for the Colin Farrell S.W.A.T. back in 2003. I really enjoyed the film even though it featured Jeremy Renner as the “bad guy.” I watched the film and truly couldn’t believe that the producers hired the stoner kid from National Lampoon’s Senior Trip to be the bad guy in a film starring Farrell, LL Cool J, Michelle Rodriguez, and Samuel L. Jackson. I thought it cheapened the film (and this coming from a huge Senior Trip fan) but as Renner went on to much bigger and better roles I can now go back to the original S.W.A.T. and enjoy it a hell of a lot more.

2011 saw the release of S.W.A.T. Firefight. The film was poorly received with many decrying the film for not having it star any of the actors from the original film. Even though it had a much smaller budget I thought the film was action packed and quite well done. Having the gorgeous Kristanna Loken certainly helped along with casting seasoned actors like Robert Patrick and Giancarlo Esposito. I gave it high marks and was damn happy that they actually used my review quote on the cover of the home video release.

Now it is six year after Firefight and S.W.A.T. Under Siege has finally arrived to round out the trilogy. This film doesn’t star any of the actors from the 2003 or 2011 films. This movie is its own animal which proves to be good and bad at times.  Don’t look at me funny when I say this but when I heard there was a S.W.A.T. Under Siege film I totally hoped that Steven Seagal was going to be in it. At least a cameo. Come on…that would have been great.

Under Siege stars Sam Jaeger as Travis Hall – a member of Seattle’s elite S.W.A.T. unit. It was supposed to be a nice and relaxing 4th of July for Hall but he is called into work when a bunch of agencies come together to take out some well armed gang at this abandoned complex. What is a well armed gang doing hanging out in an abandoned complex right outside of Seattle? Especially guys who are just popping up firing bazookas at the cops…!??!

I had problems with this very large action sequence from the start.  It was just weird that this multi-cultured gang with a shitload of weapons are just sitting around this facility hanging out. As the DEA and the S.W.A.T. team descend upon them I felt that they didn’t look like cops. They looked like actors. They looked like actors that got some very basic training on the M-16, had a practice run, got into costume, then they just rolled film. Having been in the military for thirteen years I’m very familiar with the rifle, how to strafe, and how to properly fire the weapon. This beginning sequence just didn’t look right to me.

Two things happened. The bullets started flying as the cops basically started killing all the bad guys. And I took my brain out and just watched the film without trying to nitpick every little thing I saw onscreen. I decided to accept this film for what it is – a lower budgeted film trying to tell an interesting story with some gratuitous violence. After I did this I found myself really enjoying the film. A lot. Especially once the film got going after this initial sequence.

After the S.W.A.T. team takes out the bad guys they end up finding a man simply known as Scorpion (Michael Jai White) strung up in a storage container. A car battery is near by with some jumper cables. It is clear they were torturing this man. But who is he? And why was he strung up? The team takes Scorpion and another prisoner back to their base of operations and try to interrogate them.  Hall questions Scorpion who doesn’t have much to say at first, but then lets it be known that men will come posing as federal agents to come get him. These men will kill everyone in their path, including all the cops, just to take him away.

Sure enough two guys show up. And after those two guys are stopped dead in their tracks more men start showing up. And more men start showing up. And then MORE men start showing up. It almost felt like a video game where wave after wave would come for me, each round harder than the next.

It seems that Scorpion has information that Lars (Matthew Marsden) wants. It was Lars’ compound that Scorpion was taken from and now Lars is sending these men to retrieve him. It seems that Lars is not only super duper rich but he is the owner of one of those Blackwater type of security forces, ex-military merc types who will do anything as long as they are well payed. Well it seems that they are well payed. Well armed too.

An ultimatum is laid out: hand over Scorpion and no one has to die. But don’t hand over Scorpion? The mercs will kill everyone including all of the cops AND their families. The thing is there is some truth to what Scorpion has been saying so the cops quickly have to decide if they can trust him. Once they make their decision? The fight is on.

I really liked Michael Jai White in this film. Of course I’m a fan of his from Tyson to Spawn to Black Dynamite to The Dark Knight I am always happy to see him. The man kicks some butt in this film and having something like 92 black belts helps fight scenes look pretty convincing. I’m not sure if White was looking a bit slower (no offense meant – the dude is almost 50 and is in phenomenal shape) or if the editing just makes his martial arts moves look choppy. Whatever the case is White once again killed it. You are never quite sure where his allegiance is nor if he is telling the truth. But can the man kick ass? Absolutely.

Adrianne Palicki plays Dwyer, a cop who oversees the S.W.A.T. team but doesn’t go out on missions with them. She’s more of “the suit.” Now I LOVE Palicki. Especially her roles in Sebastian Guiterrez’s Women In series and her fantastic part as an assassin in John Wick. So Palicki is basically the Captain role and while she isn’t as commanding (which usually comes off funny) as Steve Kahan or Philip Baker Hall, she was convincing enough as the lady who is in charge. Just don’t get on her bad side. There’s a scene at the firing range where Palicki gives her war face. I’d seriously never want to cross her.

I wasn’t very sold on Sam Jaeger in the lead. He sometimes has that vacant Aaron Eckhart stare and I swear that the two could be brothers in a Memento sequel where they can both give that 50 mile “what’s going on?” face. Jaegar’s performance is passable but his action scenes look very different than Michael Jai White’s action scenes. Jaeger just isn’t as convincing. His performance is passable but I really just wished they cast Palicki as the lead or maybe brought Gabriel Macht back.

I have no clue who actress Kyra Zagorsky is but now I have a total crush on her and want to see all the things that she is in.  All of the things.  Love you, Kyra.  I guess the only other actor I’ll point out is Matthew Marsden who is still too damn good looking with those super dreamy eyes.  Dude is a fox.

The title Under Siege is really applicable as these poor cops are surrounded by the security force looking to murder them. While the actual writing itself feels like it was written by two guys who may have seen a few cop films and then just decided to write one, I still had a good time.  While most of the cops just feel like their name in the screenplay should be “Disposable S.W.A.T. Cop #2” Zagorsky, Palicki, and White seemed to be having a ton of fun.

Overall S.W.A.T. Under Siege is an entertaining film full of solid firefights, good action, and some excellent actors who help elevate the source material. It may not break any new ground but Under Siege will easily keep you entertained.  I really hope that they keep making these S.W.A.T. films and that I don’t have to wait another six years for the next one.

In closing whoever decided that some of the female S.W.A.T. members should just walk around their facility in tanktops … thank you. Seriously.  Thank you.

RANK: B