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S.W.A.T.

Blu Ray

  • Score
    55
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • S.W.A.T. is enjoyable with great audio on Blu-ray, but lacks pace and extras.

    S.W.A.T. Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    62
  • 'S.W.A.T.' on early Blu-ray shows decent but inconsistent quality with vibrant yet sometimes dark visuals, natural tones, and mixed sharpness, reflecting its early high-definition era limitations.

  • Audio
    67
  • S.W.A.T.'s Blu-ray release boasts an outstanding PCM 5.1 sound mix, with immersive, well-placed effects and dynamic soundscapes, elevating the action-packed viewing experience.

  • Extra
    23
  • Sony's Blu-ray release of 'S.W.A.T.' lacks the DVD version's rich extras, offering only short, standard-definition deleted scenes and a few 1080p trailers, reflecting a downgrade in special content and no commentary tracks.

  • Movie
    47
  • S.W.A.T. remake's flashy yet mediocre action fails to leverage its Blu-ray visuals, sounding more like a hollow Hollywood output than a homage to the original series.

    Video: 62

    Sony's Blu-ray release of "S.W.A.T." presents a blend of visual strengths and weaknesses that make it a mixed bag in terms of video quality. The movie is delivered in a 2.40:1 widescreen format, which at times showcases the capacity of Blu-ray and 1080p resolution with crisp, detailed scenes, particularly those set in broad daylight. Colors are generally vibrant and flesh tones appear natural, although the overall picture can sometimes feel processed, with a slight overuse of digital tweaks leading to a somewhat artificial appearance. Despite this, the image quality often reaches moments of three-dimensionality that can be quite impressive. There's a noticeable variance in the video presentation, with some scenes exhibiting excellent depth and clarity, while others suffer from softness, dullness, and a lack of detail—issues that are especially prevalent in low-light conditions or those with heavy grain.

    The print quality itself is relatively clean, although it carries a consistent blue tint throughout, complementing the thematic color scheme of the film's S.W.A.T. team. This early high-definition release on a 25GB disc encoded in MPEG-2 has its limitations, reflected in the sometimes inconsistent sharpness and contrast across scenes. Dark scenes, in particular, display rich, deep blacks but are often marred by heavy grain that detracts from the viewing experience. Moreover, certain interior scenes appear too dark, slightly obscuring details which could have enhanced the visual narrative.

    Despite these challenges, "S.W.A.T." manages to deliver moments that demonstrate the potential of high-definition media, even if it doesn't consistently wow viewers accustomed to more recent standards of Blu-ray presentations. Issues such as noise affecting shadow delineation and varying degrees of softness within scenes suggest that while the disc represents a step forward from earlier Sony Blu-ray releases, it falls short of offering a uniformly high-quality visual experience. This, coupled with the technological limitations of the time such as the use of MPEG2 compression and potential hardware shortcomings, means that "S.W.A.T." looks good under real-world conditions but remains an imperfect showcase of early Blu-ray potential.

    Audio: 67

    S.W.A.T." makes a thunderous entrance into the Blu-ray realm with its exemplary PCM 5.1 surround sound track, offering an aural spectacle that is both immersive and thoroughly engaging. The mix excels in delivering an active soundscape where every bullet whiz, shell discharge, and environmental nuance is rendered with remarkable clarity and precision. The sound design takes advantage of the full 360-degree soundfield, ensuring that viewers are enveloped in the action, with sounds seamlessly transitioning across channels to create a convincingly real experience. Tactical scenes, like the intense opening shootout and the sniper training sequence, highlight the mix's dynamic range and spatial imaging, making excellent use of the LFE channel for impactful bass and creating a palpable tension that's as thrilling as it is technical.

    The audio presentation's fidelity is further showcased in its handling of quieter moments and dialogue, which, despite being slightly quieter than some may prefer, remains crisp and well-positioned within the mix. The juxtaposition between the high-octane chases and shootouts and the more subdued scenes exhibits the sound mix's versatility, transitioning from deafening explosions to subtle ambient noises without missing a beat. Notably, the absence of a DTS option, as seen in previous releases, is overshadowed by the superior quality of this PCM track, which is designed to be experienced at a higher volume to appreciate its full auditory impact.

    In sum, "S.W.A.T."'s Blu-ray audio is a testament to what an exceptional sound mix can contribute to the cinematic experience. It encourages the utilization of a comprehensive surround system to capture its intricate design and expansive soundstage fully. From the meticulously placed gunshots that encircle the viewer to the robust LFE channel that adds depth to every explosion and firefight, this mix not only complements the visual spectacle but elevates it, making it an essential aspect of the film's pulse-raising excitement.

    Extra: 23

    The Blu-ray release of "S.W.A.T." unfortunately falls short in the extras department when compared to its DVD counterpart, which was rich in content. This release is confined to a single-layer 25GB disc, limiting the amount of additional content that could be included. Among the sparse offerings, viewers will find a collection of eight deleted scenes; these brief 30-second clips, presented in 480p standard definition, focus more on character development than on enhancing the story. Notably lacking are the filmmaker commentary tracks and in-depth featurettes that adorned the DVD version. The only other supplements are 1080p high-definition trailers for other Sony releases. This pared-down selection makes it clear that the transition to Blu-ray has demanded sacrifices in the extras department, possibly due to technical constraints or storage capacity issues at the time of release.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Deleted Scenes: Brief character-building scenes.
    • Trailers for Stealth, Underworld: Evolution, and xXx: High-definition previews of other Sony films.

    Movie: 47

    The Blu-ray presentation of "S.W.A.T." lands with the precision expected of its titular elite police force yet fails to fully escape the shadows of its action-packed but ultimately formulaic composition. The visual fidelity is laudable, capturing the explosive set pieces and the kinetic energy of the notorious North Hollywood shootout-inspired opening with a clarity that does justice to the film's substantial budget. However, where the visuals soar, the film itself hovers at a cruising altitude of mediocrity, its narrative and character depth failing to match the technical prowess displayed in its sound mixing and dynamic action sequences.

    A recurring theme in critiques of "S.W.A.T." is the film's struggle to redefine or pay homage to its 1970s television roots effectively. Instead of innovating or injecting new life into the franchise, it opts for a polished, by-the-numbers approach that, while financially successful, leaves it somewhat detached and forgettable in hindsight. The performances, from a cast including Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson, are competent but are often overshadowed by the movie's leaning on generic action formulae and Hollywood gloss rather than substantive character development or narrative complexity.

    This iteration of "S.W.A.T." embodies the current remake frenzy that grips Hollywood, choosing spectacle over substance and familiarity over innovation. Despite its adherence to action genre conventions—highlighted by slick visuals and bombastic sound—the film lacks the heart or the grit that might have allowed it to stand out. It's an adequate but ultimately uninspiring entry into the action genre, capable of holding viewers' attention with its high-octane sequences yet unlikely to be remembered as anything more than a fleeting adrenaline rush.

    Total: 55

    The Blu-ray presentation of "S.W.A.T." offers a mixed bag for fans and newcomers to the film alike. While it boasts a competent transfer that provides enjoyable video quality and an impressive audio mix, this high-definition experience is somewhat marred by its lackluster pacing and slim selection of special features. The movie kicks off with a thrilling action sequence and wraps up with an engaging final act, but suffers from a sluggish middle section, a critique echoed by viewers both in theaters and upon re-watching at home. For those primarily interested in the technical aspects of the Blu-ray format—particularly the audiovisual fidelity—this release of "S.W.A.T." will not disappoint, thanks in part to its above-average video presentation and exceptional sound quality.

    However, the Blu-ray edition's shortcomings, particularly its dearth of supplemental content and a relatively steep price point for what it offers, might leave some enthusiasts hesitant. Given the advancements in Blu-ray technology and the expectations for comprehensive bonus materials that accompany many modern releases, this edition of "S.W.A.T." feels slightly behind the times. Despite these drawbacks, the disc remains a worthwhile consideration for those with a keen interest in experiencing this action movie's better qualities, such as its sound design and picture clarity, especially for viewers equipped to appreciate lossless or uncompressed audio formats.

    In conclusion, the Blu-ray release of "S.W.A.T." presents a satisfactory yet imperfect option for aficionados of action cinema. While it excels in delivering a solid audiovisual experience, its pace issues, lack of extras, and value proposition detract from its overall appeal. Prospective buyers might find this edition worth renting before deciding on a purchase, especially given the current landscape of more feature-rich Blu-ray offerings available on the market. This release, then, serves as a case study in balancing the priorities of video and audio quality against the richer, more immersive experiences sought by today's discerning home cinema enthusiasts.