Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie Review

Good teamwork

Published August 11, 2003

Colin Farrell
[Columbia Pictures]

Movie: S.W.A.T.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Jim Street (Colin Farrell) is a Los Angeles police officer who is kicked off the elite Special Weapons and Tactics team after he and his partner, Brian Gamble (Jeremy Renner), disobey direct orders in an attempt to save lives. Gamble leaves the force, but Street stays with the department, for he has hopes of one day returning to the group. When "old school SWAT master" Lt. Dan "Hondo" Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up at the station, he is assigned to the task of putting together a team of the finest officers he can find for a new SWAT unit. Street works his way onto the team, which is immediately put into action. When criminal mastermind Alex Montel (Olivier Martinez) is imprisoned in the United States, he makes a public offer of $100-million to anyone who can spring him. It's SWAT's job to keep Montel alive as they transport him to a federal penitentiary, and to prevent a $100-million rescue mission from going down.

My view: This film is based on the general concept of the 1970s TV series of the same name (of which we are perpetually reminded through the clever scoring of its hit theme song). It's 110 minutes of high-intensity, nonstop movie excitement, though the concept is far from original. This is all about good guys fighting bad guys. In a role similar in ways to the character he played in The Recruit, Farrell was definitely the right choice. Jackson is another strong casting choice; his quips provide a needed break from the intensity. All in all, the right people are in the right roles, the special effects will get your attention and you'll find yourself cheering this team on.

Recommendations: The violence factor is extreme, and the PG-13 rating is an absolute necessity. I do suggest you catch this one, as it will surely boost your adrenaline and leave you feeling energized.

Grade: B

- Billy Norris, 15, is in the 10th grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

[Last modified August 8, 2003, 13:02:25]

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