S.W.A.T. (2019) review

142640.57599544_1000X1000The latest in the ‘Glorified recruiting video’ subgenre of Chinese cinema (see the first Wolf Warrior, The Warriors or Sky Hunter, and many others), Ding Sheng’s S.W.A.T. follows the Blue Sword Commandos, an elite SWAT team, as they train arduously and go up against a ruthless drug trafficker (Robert Knepper) and his team of mercenaries. That’s about it for the plot: built like a banal network TV show, the film alternates between training sequences (in a hangar, in a plane, on the shooting yard), skirmishes (in a metro station, atop a skyscraper), and scenes of evil Gweilos going about their business, until a drawn-out action finale on an island. Subtlety is absent, and the usual racial paradigm of these Chinese propaganda actioners applies more than ever: Chinese are good, Africans are funny, Caucasians are evil.

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