End of Watch, directed by David Ayer, stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, and Cody Horn. End of Watch was not at all what I thought it was going to be. Yes, it's action, but based more in a dramatic mode while it walks the fine line between bad taste and intense cop drama.
From the writer of Training Day, End of Watch is a riveting action thriller that puts audiences at the center of the chase like never before. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as young LA police officers who discover a secret that makes them the target of the country's most dangerous drug cartel.
First off, I have to give major credit to both Jake and Michael for outstanding performances. I don't think Jake's taken on a role this diverse and engaging before in his career. Michael Pena has been one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood so hats off to him for showing he's got the chops and guts to drive home a realistic character performance. The banter and camaraderie between these two leading men was off the charts with very natural chemistry that brought home the realism this movie set out to achieve.
Set to the pace of the mean streets of LA, End of Watch feels like a long episode of Cops but one where you follow the cops home and look into their personal lives. Director David Ayer takes a serious shot at fulfilling this action drama and while I didn't walk away wowed, I was at least impressed with the dedication. Some of the visuals left more to be desired with the all to common shaky camera syndrome and chopping editing. Audiences are supposed to believe that Jake's character is constantly filming his job for a "project" but that fell flat for me since it seems pretty unrealistic that any department would allow this sort of behavior.
While just about every call they go on turns out to be exciting, it left me wondering about the small stuff like a dog barking or the can man digging around in trash bins. I mean come on, not all the calls are going to be this exciting and I wanted to see the small stuff too. As the movie rolls on I did find myself becoming emotionally attached to the pair, we busted jokes in the squad car, played pranks on other officers, and chased down the bad guys! So when they walk into extremely risky situations I found myself holding my breath. For the ride alone and the main character performances I'm giving this movie a solid rating.
A little less on the circa 1995 cliche gangs would have gone a long way but lil snoopy still needed his day to shine. Training Day this was not, BUT if you like Cops and don't mind some gore and grit then give this one a go. I support the men and women who wear a badge but felt the light shined on them may come with mix feelings.
Getting 3 and 1/2 'Turner & Hooch' Sheep