Directed by Clark Johnson, starring Colin Farrell, Samuel L Jackson, Olivier Martinez, Jeremy Renner, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Brian Van Holt and Josh Charles.

One of the hallmarks of Colin Farrell's career has been the knack of defying the actor odds and managing to be watchable whether the film is good, bad or routine. This time he's got another highest profile screenmate in Samuel L Jackson but 'SWAT' shows just what a bad script can do to anyone's best efforts.

Farrell plays Jim Street, a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team member who winds up in trouble when his friend and colleague Gamble (Renner) disobeys orders during a bank siege. Street gets demoted to the pen pushing end of the LAPD while the volatile Gamble severs links with both him and the force and heads off to see life from closing time every night.

Hope for Street's career coming back from the dead arrives in the form of Hondo Harrelson (Jackson), a SWAT veteran putting a new team together. Street gets picked and is followed by more hardcases and hotshots (Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Van Holt and Charles) from across the force. Their first job is to escort Interpol poster boy Alex Montel (Martinez) to federal custody. But Montel is more resourceful than anyone has given him credit for and issues a multi-million, come-and-get-me plea on live TV, leaving Street, Hondo & Co to face a running gun battle across LA.

The original 70s TV show of 'SWAT' was big in the US but meant nothing this side of the world and this mess won't have anyone wanting to learn more about it. With characters that have as much depth as the cardboard cutouts on the firing range and Farrell and Jackson getting no decent lines to work with, it's a film that's in the 'best' of company with 'Charlie's Angels Full Throttle'.

No one expects high drama and twists from action movies, but what's so unbelievable here is just how confused the pace and plotting are. Half the time it seems like 'SWAT' is just an excuse for filming people running up stairs and crashing in doors. And spending so long on those kind of set-ups, it's inevitable the ending feels like the desperate remedy of someone who looked at their watch at the last minute.

How any director can have set pieces involving trains, planes and automobiles and still come up with something this disappointing is one those mysteries you'd need an entire police force to figure out.

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Harry Guerin