13th Sep2017

‘S.W.A.T.: Under Siege’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sam Jaeger, Adrianne Palicki, Michael Jai White, Matthew Marsden, Kyra Zagorsky, Ty Olsson, Olivia Cheng, Zahf Paroo, Aren Buchholz, Lisa Chandler, Mike Dopud, Monique Ganderton, Dakota Guppy, Marci T. House | Written by Jonas Barnes, Keith Domingue | Directed by Tony Giglio


An in-name only sequel- it’s been six years since the last S.W.A.T. movie, Firefight, and you REALLY don’t have to have seen the previous film – or the 2003 original – to appreciate this, the third film in the S.W.A.T. franchise. Yet another take on the Assault on Precinct 13 story model, S.W.A.T.: Under Siege sees a SWAT compound come under fire from an international terrorist who relentlessly and violently pursues a mystery man who was apprehended by Seattle SWAT after a raid went horribly wrong.

So why now? Why make another S.W.A.T. film now? Maybe it’s because CBS are planning a new TV iteration of the classic series, turned film franchise. Whatever.

However the reason for me extol the virtues of this unexpected sequel, is that S.W.A.T.: Under Siege is the latest film from one of my favourite writer/director’s, Tony Giglio (Death Race 2, Timber Falls). This is his first directorial gig since 2013’s Extraction, an underappreciated and little-seen US take on The Raid. Although this time round Giglio is not working from his own script, instead S.W.A.T.: Under Siege was co-written by Keith Domingue and Jonas Barnes – and Barnes’ only previous screenwriting credit is the awesome, underappreciated, and little-seen horror Babysitter Wanted. I sense a trend…

If there’s one thing I know about Tony Giglio, it’s that he can take any budget and craft a decent, eminently watchable action film: he did it with Chaos, an early starring vehicle for Jason Statham post-Lock, Stock etc; and he did it with Extraction (a Crackle production for gods sake). And he does the same here – using the limited locations to create a claustrophobic actioner that brings a real sense of “threat”to proceedings. A sense of threat that’s only increased by having an (admittedly cliched) British villain – you know how evil us Brits can be in action movies! Sadly the budget only stretched to former soap star turned Hollywood actor Matthew Marsden for the villainous role – though to be fair to Marsden, he’s carved out quite a DTV career. If you haven’t seen his film Bounty Killer yet, you should rectify that as soon as possible.

Whilst S.W.A.T.: Under Siege may not have the star power of the original, it does have the likes of Michael Jai White (Never Back Down, Black Dynamite) and Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), both of whom add some gravitas to the cast – especially White who, whilst getting on in years, still shows that he’s still got the moves that SHOULD have made him a bigger action star than he is! The star of the show however is Sam Jaeger, who is new to me however he has been carving out a name for himself on US television. S.W.A.T.: Under Siege is something of a departure for the actor whose probably best known for the dramatic comedy series Parenthood, based on the classic movie of the same name. Here he takes the lead as S.W.A.T team leader Travis Hall, a man who is very much the underdog, even though he does lead a badass team. Travis is played pretty much as an everyman, a man who gets knocked down [multiple times] but still gets back up and back into the fight. It makes a change from the superhuman, unstoppable hero more commonly associated with the genre and is a great reflection on the tradition of this particular series – which has been marked by ordinary men going that extra mile to save the day (something Giglio’s other films also have in common).

Another fantastic addition to the franchise, S.W.A.T.: Under Siege is packed with action from start to finish. Mixing tons of gunplay with hand to hand combat and a flurry of martial arts moves from Michael Jai White, in a solid action movie that manages to further the series whilst being a great standalone DTV action movie in its own right. If you enjoyed previous entries, then this latest iteration will not disappoint.

S.W.A.T.: Under Siege is available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Video now.

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