41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
As you may have noticed, the reviews of this film are up and down; some praise it to the nines, others think it's a load of huey! Well each to their own I guess. If we all liked the same things, ate the same food, listened to the same music, talked the same and looked the same it would be a colossally boring world hey?
I had my preconceptions before I watched the film, but very quickly they dissolved and what I found rather than the usual utterly violent, gritty, angry, tough American cop drama, was a film that although about two police officers working in Los Angeles' very dangerous South Central area, known for violent gangs and big drug dealers and murders and violent crimes by the dozen, is actually a bromance, about two friends on the same 'beat' telling jokes to each other, swearing, laughing, being offensive and making sleazy jokes about their women, you know typical guys everywhere, as they ride around their pitch in LA. What happens, and I won't go over the plot or spoil it for you, is they cross serious players and then the film kicks into another gear as they become marked men. Both lead actors in the movie are very good and watchable and convincing, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, who play the cop buddies, and there is an outstanding performance by an actor called Maurice Compte who plays 'Big Evil'; not a guy you'd want to cross in an alley on a light night let alone a dark night!
All in all, a very enjoyable, if violent, cop movie with a difference.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2013
I saw a trailer to this movie back a few weeks ago and it must be said it looked all a bit.. ho hum... seen it all before.
The reviews came out and they were positive so I gave it a go, not expecting too much...boy was I wrong!
Filmed almost documentary style, gritty, snappy dialogue from the great two leads (Peria and Gyllenhaal) this is pretty much like a two hour episode of the superb US TV show The Shield.
Not just one of the surprise packages of the year, but one of the standout films of 2012.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Jake Gyllenhaal plays L.A. Cop Brian Taylor, who describes himself as `I am fate with a badge and a gun' at the beginning of the film. He is teamed with Mexican Michael Pena (`The Lincoln Lawyer') playing cop, Mike Zavala. They are the sort of cops that are all guns out but not so gung ho as to be corrupt and through their joint effervescence for the job, they get lucky. That is they manage to hit upon a couple of busts for both narcotics and human trafficking. Whilst this brings them to the attention of the powers that be, it also gets them the unwanted attention of the Cartel, crime lords - who respond reasonably enough, by ordering their death.
Brian has met Janet (Anna Kendrick - `50/50') and Mike is married to Gabby (Natalie Martinez `Broken City' just out) and she is pregnant and he can't wait to be a Daddy. Meanwhile dark forces gather on the L.A. streets where every other word has to involve `fornication with your Mum' type talk or the person talking will not be taken seriously. The gangs are either Black or Hispanic and a turf war is being waged almost non stop.
This quite a good film, and it should be it comes from writer and director David Ayer who grew up on these streets and is responsible for `Training Day', `Harsh Times' and `Street Kings' so he knows his trade. The language is gritty, the violence believable and the plot convincing up until it falls into a cliché of sorts near the end, but it is just forgivable, to say what it is would be a plot spoiler. The sound track is quite good too; I spotted Mazzy Star, Black Rebble Motor Cycle Club and Public Enemy in there along with a load more.
So a well made and acted and actually quite engaging film and I was presently surprised by how good it actually was, a plot twist too much could have ruined it, but in the end it all worked rather well - recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The open sequences are highly paced with a black and white chasing down another vehicle we hear voices and but see no actors until there is a shootout, where the bad guys are blown away. We are then introduced to Officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Peña) who are on patrol south central LA. They're cool cops sporting Oakley straight edge sunglasses.
After a compulsory break, due to the fatal shooting of the bad guys there is an investigation that exonerates them of any wrong doing and they return to duty. However, life for these two is never dull - as what should be a routine traffic stop leads to the discovery of weapons and drug money linked to a Mexican cartel, add to this, their apparent bust up of a slave den and narcotics hall - earns our two intrepid heroes the number one spot on the hit list of the same leading Mexican cartel gang.
There are some real mixed reviews for this and guess each to their own, for my part I really liked it. There are scenes of self-documentation in the beginning of the movie, as we see our two cops video documenting there daily routine. On the flip side we have the `Curb-side' gang who seem to be doing the same thing.
The narrative of this tale can be at times seem somewhat preposterous; as this is a top-a heavy blend of action and theatre, The director Mr Ayer pushes this film at a pace, It helps that Gyllenhaal and Peña are likeable and their interactions work very well as they bounce a mix of Cop speak and street slang off each other. Everyone else in this action-man male bonding love feast are purely there for window dressing or they are there to reinforce and contextualise how strongly these guys feel for each other, that includes their significant others. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, flaws and all - well worth a look at the very least.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, moving, tense if sometimes uneven mix of very rough,
hand-held visual style, improvisational feeling acting, and occasionally
much more conventional plot turns. This study of two slightly gonzo,
gung-ho, but basically righteous Los Angeles cops is alternately deeply
engrossing and affecting, and occasionally frustrating.
When it all works, it feels about as real as any police drama I've ever
seen. (It's also too rare to see an heroic Hispanic lead character in a film
about a city where Latinos make up a huge part of the population)
When it gets in it's own way -- as when the camera-work becomes so
self-conscious that you start thinking about it (Why do so many
characters just happen to have cameras? Why are many of the shots from
angles that could never be from a home video camera, if this is
following a "found video" conceit?) or when the acting occasionally
stops feeling real and suddenly comes off as self- conscious improv. Or
when our heroes are in firefights that look real, but follow Hollywood
rules of logic as to how they turn out. At those points the film can be
maddening, just for undermining how good it is when it's on target.
Still, very worth seeing, and far more interesting than most of what
comes out of Hollywood.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
End of Watch features Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code) as Officer Brian Green and Michael Peña (Battle: Los Angeles) as his partner Officer Mike Zavala. The guys patrol a predominately Hispanic neighbourhood in down-town L.A. with a reputation for violence. The hood-mounted-camera based opening scenes see the guys get the baddies and the two become the cocksure heroes of the department. But when they continue to make strides in denting crime in the area, they step on the toes of some much more serious cartel criminals who have no respect for the law. As we see Officer Green and Zavala's personal lives bloom, it becomes clear that they are risking their lives on and off the job for the thrill of the chase, will they make it home alive?
Filmed as a series of POV cameras (either the hand-held the guys carry, their button cams or the mandatory dash/hood cams) this film documents the rise of two young and upcoming stars of the L.A.P.D. - both actors provide a tangible and affable relationship that really comes across - they honestly seemed to be the best of friends and this made the story and surrounding plotlines extremely believable. Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air) plays Gyllenhaal's plausible love-interest and deserves some credit for carrying the slower emotional side of the story - however the action is frenetic and continual. The duo get themselves into more fire-fights than the last stand at the Alamo and the direction, cinematography and choreography are all impeccable - credit to director David Ayer (he directed Training Day to give you an idea) - there is an excellent hip-hop based but laced with mariachi soundtrack to boot.
Most refreshingly, this steers well clear of the usual corrupt-cop story selling out someone in the department à la The Departed and comes across as much, much more original - it's a simple a premise as that. Cops bust bad guys; bad guys fight back - who comes out on top? Resultantly, I was stuck to my seat for the duration, weighing in at 109 minutes including credits. Highly recommended for a cop movie that expends more ammunition than your average war-film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2015
A powerful film, a 'tad' depressing but heart warming at the same time. It's not your typical cop action film but more of a gritty and emotional ride conveying the close friendship of 2 cops in a tough messed up world. Be warned, there's a few graphical scenes portraying some pretty disturbing scenarios but they're all in context, though I'm not sure it's something I'd want my 15 year old to watch. I noticed a few negative reviews here mention the bad language, I didn't personally notice this as a standout point, certainly no worse than a lot of other films out there, and compared with some of the short but powerful visual scenes the language should be the least of there concerns. I haven't seen many films where I sit though the credits wondering what to do next but this was one of them, thought provoking and well worth watching, suffice to say I won't be coming a cop any time soon!
I was very favourably surprised and even more, IMPRESSED, by this 2012 thriller drama. It is definitely one of the best crime films I saw in those last years. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
The film tells the story of two veteran LAPD officers, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Miguel Zavala (Michael Pena). They are simple uniformed street patrol officers, albeit Taylor, a former Marine, wants to make detective and studies in the evenings. As part of his studies he records a lot of what happens on their patrols. This film is composed integrally with recordings, mostly those made by Taylor, but also a couple of news reportings, some official ceremonial recordings and also some footage of conversations of street gangsters, mostly made with their cell phones.
I will not say much about the story because it contains twists, surprises and developments which should be discovered integrally by the viewers. I would really advise AGAINST researching this film on internet before viewing, because here any kind of spoilers damage the viewing experience quite seriously. Suffice it to say that Taylor and Zavala are tough (and extremely potty mouthed) but honest and quite likeable police officers, who patrol a particularly rotten, dangerous part of Los Angeles.
Well known by local street gangs for being courageous, tough (and dangeorus if needs be) but fair and honest, they are treated with a (very) reluctant respect by some of gangbangers - but also supremely hated by many others. Amongst the latter the most prominent is Big Evil (Maurice Compte), a (not very sane) leader of a paricularly vicious Latino outfit, the Curbside Gang.
With time we also come to know Miguel's wife Gabby (Natalie Martinez) and Taylor's most recent girlfriend (Anna Kendrick), as well as some other police officers and brass both men are working with.
Before "End of watch" David Ayers made two other "cops+gangsters in LA" films, "Harsh Times" in 2006 with Christian Bale and "Street Kings" in 2008 with Keeanu Reeves. The first one was bad and the second one hardly better - in fact I forgot what they were about almost immediately after watching them. But this film, well, this is a whole different enchilada!
"End of watch" is a very good film, both in its technical visual aspect and in its scenario, which is an exceptionally solid thing. Most of this film is dialogs and they are actually very good - even if the amount of OBSCENITIES is such that some DVD players will probably not resist it...))) We are frequently surprised and shocked, but those surprises and shocks actually make sense and the whole story flows very logically and harmoniously until the end. It is a thing rare enough in recent films to deserve particular praise.
The treasures in this film are many and you deserve to discover them by yourself, but I simply must state here, that whoever invented the character of La La (Yakira Flakiss Garcia) should get an Oscar. The very idea of naming the very lesbian and absolutely TERRIFYING top killer of Curbside Gang after one of Teletubbies, well, I bow very low to whomever thought about it...)))
As written in the title of this review, for my personal taste, if "The Shield" was a movie instead of TV show and about good cops, instead of rotten evil ones, well, it would be this film... And for me it is the SUPREME praise, as I simply ADORED "The Shield".
I was very impressed by this film and I will keep the DVD for another viewing in the future. A film to see absolutely! ENJOY!
on 13 August 2014
The first point here is that whoever gave this a 15 cert should have their blue pencil taken away and ritually broken. I have never seen anything more deserving of an 18 cert. Outside of a Tim Minchin lyric, I've never come across such a concentration of f words. It may be accurate in the gang culture depicted, I don't know, but this should be an 18.
OK, rant over.
I'm rarely happy with point of view camera movies, but this one generally works in that respect, and gives a bit of reasoning for the POV filming.
The story is tough, gritty, all that and more, and mostly pretty convincing. You could easily believe a bad LA precinct is like this. The bad guys' shooting is as bad as Star Wars Stormtroopers, and two scenes are almost risible because of that.
However, there are great scenes, the dancing-best dance scene I've seen outside of "Billy Elliot".
The performances, excellent; I now have to remember to think of Jake Gyllenhaal not one of the best young actors, but simply one of the best actors around. Michal Pena, excellent, and the supporting cast on the cops' side superb. Less convincing were the gang members, as I said earlier.
In some ways, it ran for me like a super hard-edged remake of "Fort Apache, the Bronx" - high praise as that's genuinely one of my favourite cop movies.
Oh, and some really good elements in the ending.
The amount of swearing- sorry to come back to it- may stop people watching it- I certainly had to watch it on my own. So, if you watch it on my say-so (I can't believe anyone would), don't blame me, I'd have liked less f words, too.
BUT: a damned good film, too flawed for five stars, but a very solid four.
When I remember to review "Donnie Darko", I think JG will have an average of 4 2/3 stars for movies I'll have reviewed him in. He is brilliant.
on 28 January 2014
What Ayer has done here has taking the Cop thriller sub-genre and really added something to the mix.
Jake Darko (can't spell the surname, sorry) introduces the film with a wonderful monologue about life as a cop. He spends almost the entirety of the film behind a camera one way or the other, and is aided by trusty partner, Pena.
As the old cliché goes, they are the best of friends, and if one gets hurt, the other would help their family, blah, blah, blah, it's the usual fodder, and this is why it isn't a ten.
Luckily, Darko and Pena have amazing chemistry, and are really believable as partners, and as for the realism of the film, I couldn't possibly comment, as I am not a member of the LAPD, nor am I a gang member.
But one thing for real, it sure felt real, and then some.
From the upstart, the film has a brooding, almost sinister quality to it, as you know that, for some uncomfortable reason, the film isn't going to end in a happy way.
Half way through the film, it really gives the game away by having a marriage and having the two main couples talk about growing old together, again another tired cliché. One of the cast may as well have worn a target.
But these are only minor flaws, because the rest of the film is unflinching, and really doesn't glamorise what it's like to be an officer of the law. Silly films like Bad Boys make you think it would be cool, this will make you think different.
Believe me, if you've applied to join the police, avoid this movie.
Characters feel stereotyped, but somehow real, and the action is in your face, especially the final 20 minutes, which are really tense and un-nerving, like an evil twin of the last twenty of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Darko in my opinion, has never been better, and Pena is as good as always.
Female members of the cast (partners) get pushed to he side a little, but if they were not in it, and only mentioned by name, it wouldn't really ruin the narrative.
It's easily the best cop drama since NARC, and one of the biggest surprises of 2012