Nevertheless, such a strategy didn't pay off last year for I Spy, an Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson film version of the old Bill Cosby/Robert Culp show. The movie, budgeted at $70 million, brought in a paltry $33 million.
Could that be a signal to Hollywood that the nostalgia party is over?
S.W.A.T. is similar to I Spy in that it bears only token similarities to its TV namesake.
Farrell plays Officer Jim Street, a role originated by Robert Urich. He's a tough but independent crimefighter who's thrown off the S.W.A.T. team when he and his partner disobey orders.
They do that because — as we know in cop shows — sometimes you have to put standard operating procedures aside and go with your instincts.
Jackson is Lt. Dan "Hondo" Harrelson, a tough-as-nails team leader who fights with the self-protecting pencil pushers who are more concerned about bad public relations than fighting crime.
Jackson puts Farrell and other loose cannons on his special unit, much to the higher-ups' chagrin, and that allows the movie to feature long training sequences, with the sexy stars stripped to the waist.
LL Cool J — billed as James Todd Smith — obviously enjoyed the physicality of the role and flashes a washboard stomach. S.W.A.T. is clearly his kind of movie.
"Every single day I've been doing something cool," says the rapper. "Whether it's fighting, jumping, flipping, rolling in the streets, jumping out of limousines, or bombs exploding, everything you want to do, I've gotten a chance to do in this movie."
In Search of More Masculine Angels
This S.W.A.T. team is tested when a French drug kingpin, apprehended early in the film, gets a message out to L.A.'s underworld, offering $100 million to anyone who'll free him. As farfetched as the plot may be, Jackson says working on the film made him appreciate real-life special police units.
"We generally see S.W.A.T. guys as snipers," he says. "But that's not their job. Their job is to make sure everybody comes out safe."
Still, at a price tag of $100 million, S.W.A.T. builds toward a chaotic climax, with chases through L.A.'s subway tunnels, a plane landing on bridge, and lots of bullets flying.
As this is a modern S.W.A.T. team, it's diverse. Michelle Rodriguez of Girlfight joins male officers and proves she's just as tough as the rest, and still very sexy.
Rodriguez offers a convincing performance, and in the name of diversity, this opens the possibility that a qualified, capable and sexy man will one day rise in the ranks as a full-fledged member of Charlie's Angels.
We boys always had Bosley as our virtual Angel. But let's face it, he's just a glorified secretary, and the times they are a-changin' … as long as you're not looking at the familiar names this week on the movie marquee.