Review: “S.W.A.T. Under Siege” Offers Plenty of Firefights and Fisticuffs (Reprint)

(Original Publication Date: August 26th, 2017) By: John M Jerva

Review: S.W.A.T. Under Siege

Starring: Sam Jaeger, Michael Jai White, Adrianne Palicki and Matthew Marsden

Directed By: Tony Giglio

Official Synopsis: “A SWAT compound comes 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.”

The Review-Is It Action-Flix Approved? Based on the iconic old TV show and the 2003 film adaptation that starred Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson comes the third film in the SWAT franchise. This film and the second one titled S.W.A.T. Firefight (which starred Gabriel Macht from Suits) are sequels in name only and are their own standalone films. This third entry in the series of films is the best one yet with plenty of high-octane shoot outs and hand to hand combat. The addition of action star Michael Jai White is a huge plus and Sam Jaeger (American Sniper) is solid as the film’s lead. Yes this is straight to video action but sometimes, these kinds of films are just as entertaining if not more entertaining then the films you shell out hard earned dollars for at the local movie cinema. We all know the budget isn’t huge but if you know how to do it right then the audience is in for 90 minutes of fun, action and glorious mayhem.


In S.W.A.T. Under Siege, Sam Jaeger plays Travis Hall who is the leader of an elite Seattle SWAT unit. On the Fourth Of July, Hall is called in to lead a joint operation assault along with the DEA to retrieve a shipping container from Bogota, Columbia that holds something vital. When Hall and his team eliminate the threat guarding the container, they find out that it’s not what but who’s inside. It seems that a man called The Scorpion (Michael jai White)  was being delivered to some pretty bad people because he has billions of dollars of information in his head. Thrown off but what has happened, the team secures the prisoner and brings him to their remote, secured training facility. The only problem is a very ruthless and evil man named  Lars Cohagen (Marsden) wants The Scorpion back at any cost and he launches an army of mercenaries upon the SWAT facility in a desperate attempt to retrieve the package. The Scorpion is not who he seems of course and he and hall form an uneasy alliance along with the rest of Hall’s team in order to survive the ordeal and make it home alive.


In terms of lower budget action films, S.W.A.T. Under Siege offers a lot of bang for your buck. The film starts off with a rather impressive shoot out and after a little time to establish plot and characters the action resumes and never stops until the credits roll. If you know me and follow my site, then you know that I am a firm believer that independent action cinema is most of the time way better then the big budget stuff you get in the theaters. Plus if you have a solid cast then you can usually never go wrong. Director Tony Giglio, who also directed Extraction with Jon Foo and Chaos with Jason Statham and Wesley Snipes, is a man that knows how to use the resources that he is given. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make a decent action film or any film for that matter and Giglio knows how to cram more action in the film’s short running time then most films that are over two hours in length. 


Sam Jaeger (American Sniper) leads the cast and he definitely has the looks and moves to carry an action flick. I was pretty unaware of him until this movie but I know who he is now that’s for sure. Jaeger portrays Travis Hall as an upstanding officer who will do anything to protect his team. He is an elite SWAT leader but he is also human. He gets hit, he gets knocked down but he always gets up and finishes the fight. G.I. Joe: Retaliation’s Adrianne Palicki is solid in the supporting role of Hall’s boss Ellen Dwyer. There is some history between the two of them and it offers some drama for the film. Action star Michael Jai White is always a welcome sight in any film and this one is no exception. He plays The Scorpion and you know that he is a bad dude as soon as he see him. White always has a commanding and intimidating presence in his movies and when you see what he can do with his hands and feet, it only makes him that more powerful. White’s Scorpion is a mysterious and dangerous individual and White’s on screen fighting skills are put to good use in the film. When he hits people, it just looks like a whole lot of pain. 


As i mentioned, the action in the film is pretty non-stop. The film has a Die Hard fill to it because once again the good guys are trapped in a building with the bad guys all around them. This type of plot has been done to death but it’s OK. If it’s done right then just sit back and enjoy the ride. Most of the action is relegated to assault rifles and never ending firepower but we do get to enjoy plenty of hand to hand carnage too. Everybody gets in on the empty handed fun and White has a rather impressive battle with a group of mercs at the beginning of the assault. The man just flat out kicks ass and when a man that is that big can move that fast well then watch out. His crowning achievement in the film is when he dispatches a horde of bad guys with a mini-gun. The scene just makes you want to scream “Hell Yeah!” By the time the film is over, you just have to wonder how many rounds of blank ammunition was used. My guess would be A LOT. 

On the negative side, some of the supporting cast’s acting is a little questionable and there isn’t a lot of time for character development so when SWAT members meet their demise, you just don’t really care that much. That’s the price you pay with a short running time and a film that is wall to wall action. Also, there are a few plot twists in regards to who is on the take and feeding the bad guys intel that you will see coming a mile away but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the film. 

To sum it all up, S.W.A.T. Under Siege is another solid entry in the franchise of direct to video actioners. Jaeger is sold and dependable as the heroic lead and Michael jai White kicks glorious ass as usual so what’s not to love. You know what you’re going to get when you go in so just sit back, relax and enjoy all the bullets, blood and fisticuffs on hand because they’re S.W.A.T. and they’re the baddest mother f-ers around!


S.W.A.T. Under Siege is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Official Trailer
Official Clip

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