HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: SWAT: Unit 887
HTS Overall Score:53
Anyone remember that little movie “SWAT” about a decade ago? It wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but it was actually pretty fun. It turned the police SWAT team into a bunch of special commandos and made them exciting on screen. Well, that and it had Colin Pharrell, a young Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson screen power to keep it fueled. Then came “SWAT Firefight”, which was a serviceable DTV action sequel. Now we have a THIRD entry into the series with “SWAT: Unit 887”. Let me start out by saying that I have not seen a movie like this for quite some time. I was honestly shocked and amazed by what I just saw. Now, before you get excited let me warn you. The shock and awe that I was experiencing was at viewing a movie so bad that I actually felt my brain cells dying as I watched it. The filmography is completely inept and amateurish, the audio is poorly mixed and full of flaws, and I think it may be an insult to High Schools to compare it to a High School play.
There’s not exactly a wildly intelligent plot attached to this masterpiece, but here it goes. The film opens with L.A.P.D. SWAT rescuing a woman during a human trafficking bust. The main characters, Chris (Timothy Woodward Jr.) and Sam Hicks (Richard Bachelor) get awarded commendations for their valor and are then subsequently lambasted by their boss (played by Michael Pare) for playing “cowboy” in another rescue job. Given guard duty as punishment, the two come face to face with a hostage situation when a group of mercenaries, operated by an international terrorist named Damian White (Tom Sizemore), take over the gala they’re babysitting. Chris ends up wounded and Sam ends up with a few holes in the chest thanks to Damian himself.
It seems that the FBI are after Damian as well, so SWAT and FBI have to work together to track down and find the terrorist before he can cause more harm to the city. So expect a little bit of police/FBI friction as is normal, but Damian has a few tricks up his sleeve to show the intrepid police officers. Well, by tricks I mean blatantly obvious twists that anyone with a brain would see half a mile away.
Oh….my….goodness. I try to see the good in every movie I watch, and I REALLY love watching bad B-grade movies, but “SWAT: Unit 887” tried my patience in ways I didn’t even dream possible. The directing was done by none other than star Timothy Woodward Jr., and I have to say that he shouldn’t ever step behind the camera again. He’s liveable in front of the camera, but the directing here is so sloppy and utterly abysmal that I felt my brain shrinking just watching. There were random time phase cuts that happened EVERY….THREE…SECONDS. Even when it wasn’t even necessary, we’d have all these slow motion shots with time lapse cuts for “coolness” sake, and it got so annoying that I felt I was in a parody film.
It didn’t make it any better with Tom Sizemore sleeping his way through the role of Damian White. He’s kind of fallen from grave in Hollywood and using the DTV market to pay his bills, but you could tell that he was literally wait for Timothy Woodward Jr. to call “cut!” and let him go back to napping in his trailer. The rest of the actors were your typical pretty boys/girls who can’t act their way out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it. There were a COUPLE of cool scenes, but what tension was there drained out pretty quickly as the fight choreography was just painful.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54490[/img]Much like the actual direction and camera work, the image is a bid shoddy too. Shot on purely digital equipment it has a VERY “soap opera” level of cheapness to the picture. Things look overly glossy, overly smooth motion, and decidedly very desaturated on the color spectrum. Greys and slate blues dominate the image, with only minimal splashes of primaries (like the clothing worn by Damian White). Blacks are kind of greyish and bland, with minimal shadow detail. Facial detail and long shots look ok, but suffer from an overly soft image that isn’t helped by the flat color palate. It’s a decent image, but nothing close to what good Hi-Def cameras are putting out by the dozens in the DTV market.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54498[/img]The audio was a puzzler for me. The mixing just seemed really bad for a modern film as you could hear all sorts of gaffs or mistakes in the background. You can hear the clothes rustling and shoes squeaking in the background from the camera men, as well as coughing and muffled dialog. As the characters shifted away from the boom mic you could hear it fading in and out at times. LFE is very limited and there doesn’t seem to be much impact or weight to the action pieces. Surrounds get used a good bit, but it’s very indistinct and not very nuanced.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not exactly a fan of the movie. DTV films are always a shot in the dark, but this type of editing and poorly developed characters and sound design, and mixing, and ..and and… just gives DTV a bad name. The encode itself is well done, but that’s the only really redeeming factor in the whole package. There is pretty much no extras as well, so unless you’re a glutton for punishment, I’d keep on flipping through the stack of DVDs to watch. SKIP IT!
Starring: Timothy Woodward Jr., Tom Sizemore, Mischa Barton,
Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Written By: Laruen De Normandie
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 96 Minutes
DVD Release Date: September 29th, 2015
Buy SWAT: Unit 887 DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: SKIP IT!
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