Is End of Watch Worth The Ride Along?

MPAA Rating: R
Run Time: 109 mins
Common Sense Rating:

“I kick down doors.”
– Mike Zavala
(Michael Peña)

Writer David Ayer has penned such films like original The Fast and The Furious & Training Day. This time around, he returns as writer/director of End of Watch; a cop drama that gives a day in the life experience of being an LAPD cop.

Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña play Brian Taylor & Mike Zavala, a pair of police officers who are known for getting the job done. In fact, their reputation is known among the some of the gangs. After the duo arrest a man who attempts to kill them during a standard stop, it leads to a chain of events that land the partnership on the most wanted list of a dangerous cartel.

This movie is certainly different from most of the cop movies that have been made in the recent past.

The cinematography is a very integral part of the movie. Using several different camera techniques like shaky cam, police cameras & the occasional traditional camera placement makes you feel like you’re in the trenches with these officers as a part of the action instead of just a fly on the wall. While it takes getting used to, this way of cinematography really help the story.

The story seems to be like a little disjointed at times but overall it seemed to be a very multi-faceted story. What this movie does well is that it uses unique premises from this movie to provide exposition (info you need to know) and eventually brings everything together. Keeping in mind the different ways to shoot the movie, End of Watch really delivers on the action.

The movie featured some very powerful acting moments from Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. The chemistry between the two actors is undeniable. They are completely believable as they play brothers on the force. Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez & America Ferrera did well in playing the supporting women in their lives, with Martinez being the strongest.

The members of the drug cartel were one-dimensional playing the stereotypical gangster role. It’s kind of sad when a street thug that is seen twice in the movie has slightly more layers than the main villains. While the job was done well, play the part well but it seemed a little bit cliché of the crease a tough guy gangster act.

End of Watch is not a movie for the faint of heart. There is very gory violence, intense situations, very spicy language, off-color jokes [though not with malice, some may find it offensive], and a very frank discussion about sex. Just be aware of that before you go watch this movie.

End of Watch is a very gritty film that could change the way Hollywood sees cop movies. While I don’t consider it the greatest movie ever, it’s worth the ride along. If you’re looking for an action cop movie that makes you actually care about the cops, then go see this movie. B

Fade to black…


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