SWAT - The Special Forces

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German title SWAT - The Special Forces
Original title SWAT
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2003
length 112 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 14
Director Clark Johnson
script David Ayer
David McKenna
production Dan Halsted
Chris Lee
Neal H. Moritz
music Elliot Goldenthal
camera Gabriel Beristain
cut Michael Tronick

Successor  →
SWAT: Firefight

SWAT - The special unit is an American action - thriller from director Clark Johnson from the year 2003 based on the television series The hard hitting five of 1975. 2011 and 2017 were under the titles SWAT: Firefight and SWAT: Suspect two sequels on DVD released.


The SWAT team of Jim Street, an ex- Navy Seal , and Bryan Gamble are called to be held hostage in a bank branch. When a hostage-taker threatens to kill a hostage, Gamble acts against Lieutenant Velasquez's instructions and kills a hostage-taker and injures a hostage in the process. The remaining hostage-takers are then killed. Both of them are transferred to the armory for violating a direct order and injuring a hostage. Gamble then gives notice.

The operation with the wounded hostage escalates into a media scandal, and the chief is urgently looking for a way to get rid of the negative headlines. At his behest, the SWAT veteran Dan Harrelson, known as Hondo, is brought back to town. He should put together a powerful, young troop. When Hondo brings his service weapon to the armory, he meets Street there and later persuades him to join the new team. In addition, Hondo selects his two old colleagues Michael Boxer and T. J. McCabe, as well as the patrolman Deacon Kaye and the quick-witted traffic cop Chris Sanchez.

Meanwhile, French drug lord Alex Montel has arrived at Los Angeles airport to visit his uncle who lives in Los Angeles . He is celebrating his birthday and we learn that he has stolen from the Montel family. Therefore Alex cuts the uncle's throat with a knife shortly before he leaves . On the way back to the airport he was stopped by a police motorcycle patrol because a rear light on the car was defective. He is arrested because his identity cannot be determined. The inspection by the officials later reveals that Interpol is looking for Montel in 12 countries .

The entire Hondo team goes through the basic training that Hondo personally leads. After this training and successfully solving a fictitious hostage situation in an aircraft, you will be approved for active duty as a SWAT team. McCabe is shot in the exercise, but one dead is acceptable for the test. Afterwards, Hondo makes it clear to his team that a dead person is not acceptable to him.

In the meantime it has been leaked that Montel is a major criminal, and so upon arrival at the station there are already masses of reporters on site. As Montel is led by the mass of journalists, he turns to the camera and says, "I offer one who get me out here, 100 million US dollars to." Hondo team takes Montel into the job, federal prison to transfer. He tries again and again to bribe the members of the SWAT team, but he does not seem to succeed, since most of them are with the special unit because they enjoy the job and not for the money.

Montel is to be transferred to the federal prison by helicopter, but this is shot down by a sniper as he is about to land on the police building. This means that tactics must be changed quickly. As a diversionary maneuver, a large convoy is launched, which is ambushed in a street canyon. Instead of Montel, however, there is only a dummy in prison clothing on the back seat of one of the cars. Meanwhile, the real prisoner transport is carried out by Hondo's team with two SUVs . McCabe, who is in the same car as Montel, has obviously accepted the offer and gets the Street and Boxers, who are also in the car, to stop the car. At that moment, Gamble, who organized the entire escape, also appears. In the course of the argument between Street and Gamble, a shot goes off and hits the boxer. Gamble, McCabe, and Montel settle into the nearby subway while the rest of the team has no clue that a rescue operation is underway. Only when the three of them are already in the subway can Street describe the situation over the radio, and the rest of the team members come to the scene.

Gamble's group has organized a subway that waits in the station and leaves at the exact moment that Street follows. The next station in the direction of travel is cordoned off by the police in order to receive the three fugitives on arrival, but they have stopped on the open road and climbed into the sewers of LA to avoid this foreseeable step.

The remaining team Hondo and Street followed Gamble, McCabe and Montel through the channels and deviates also an M18 Claymore - booby trap that acts more ruthlessly, which Gamble settles, McCabe is why the first doubts about this approach are that it allows members of the team around Hondo very much. However, Gamble ignores these concerns and remains steadfast in its plan to remove Montel from the country. The group climbs out of the canal system at a junction and locks the grate there with a strong padlock, which Street, however, blows open with the claymore.

Meanwhile, Gamble launches a diversion that suggests the group is heading for Hawthorne Airport . Thus all available police forces are ordered there, which gives Gamble enough time to carry out his real rescue operation, namely with a Learjet hijacked by accomplices , which lands on the Sixth Street Viaduct in downtown Los Angeles . The team around Hondo is the only team to recognize that Gamble has only started a diversionary maneuver and follows it to the bridge, where it prevents the Learjet from starting again. In the ensuing firefight, the pilots of the hijacked aircraft and Gamble's accomplices are killed while Gamble rappels down from the bridge to a freight yard with a rope that was looped around a hostage from the aircraft. Street pursues him and a fight breaks out in which Street prevails in the end and Gamble is run over by a freight train. Meanwhile, Montel is arrested by Kaye and McCabe takes his own life before Hondo can arrest him.

When Captain Fuller arrives, he informs the team that their mission is not over as Montel has not yet been handed over to federal authorities. So they make their way to the federal prison in the desert, where they hand over Montel without further incident. At the end of the film, Hondo's unit drives towards the end of the day in a SWAT vehicle, while another SWAT operation is requested over the radio. The unit decides against the end of work and in favor of the mission.


"The fragmentary plot only serves as a framework for martial hunting scenes and pyrotechnic orgies of destruction, in which the brutal understanding of law dictates the questionable conceptual direction."

“SWAT is not a small crime drama but pure action - complex, fast-paced, lead-laden and with the right ounce of irony. Event cinema in its best form. "

Background info

  • The SWAT equipment shown was not props ; the real SWAT task forces use the same equipment. In order to be prepared for their role, the actors received several weeks of SWAT training in order to get the right “feel” for the weapons and the rest of the equipment.
  • A shootout similar to the opening scene took place in North Hollywood in 1997 .
  • The film is based on the television series The Knallharten Five (original title SWAT ) from 1975 with Steve Forrest as Hondo and Robert Urich as Jim Street. A SWAT member of the film, Michael Boxer, watches an episode of the series on television on his day off. Forrest himself made a guest appearance as the driver at the end of the film. Rod Perry, who played Deacon Kaye on the series, can also be seen in the film as Kaye's father.


The synchronization was carried out by RC Production Rasema Cibic in Berlin under the direction of Joachim Tennstedt , for which Andreas Pollak wrote the dialogue book.

actor Dubbing voice role
Samuel L. Jackson Engelbert von Nordhausen Sgt. Dan 'Hondo' Harrelson
Colin Farrell Florian Halm Jim Street
LL Cool J Stefan Fredrich Deacon 'Deke' Kay
Michelle Rodriguez Claudia Urbschat-Mingues Chris Sanchez
Jeremy Renner Gerrit Schmidt-Foss Brian Gamble
Olivier Martinez Patrice Luc Doumeyrou Alex Montel
Josh Charles Dennis Schmidt-Foss TJ McCabe
Reg E. Cathey Thomas Wolff Lt. Greg Velasquez
Lindsey Ginter Hans Nitschke Agent Hauser
E. Roger Mitchell Oliver Siebeck Agent Kirkland
Larry Poindexter Erich Rauker Capt. Thomas Fuller
Domenick Lombardozzi Lutz Schnell GQ
James DuMont Hans Hohlbein Gus
Jay Acovone Frank-Otto Schenk Lear Jet Pilot
Brian van Holt Bernd Vollbrecht Michael Boxer
Krista Hartling Tanja Geke Motorcycle policewoman
Bruce Gray Norbert Gescher Mr. Richard Segerstrom
Reed Diamond Stephan Rabow Officer David Burress
Kevin Davitan Luciano Carrara Uncle Martin Gascoigne
Denis Arndt Hans-Werner Bussinger Sgt. Howard
Page Kennedy Tobias Kluckert Travis

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for SWAT - The special unit . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , November 2003 (PDF; test number: 95 750 K).
  2. Age rating for SWAT - The Special Unit . Youth Media Commission .
  3. SWAT - The Special Forces. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  4. SWAT - The Special Unit Reviews. TV feature film , accessed December 30, 2010 .
  5. SWAT - The Special Forces. German synchronous index , accessed on April 25, 2013 .

Web links