End of Watch
To protect and serve; these few words mean so much for those that are out on the streets, making them clean from criminals. The life of a policeman is already hard enough with the bureaucratic process it takes to get someone in jail, not to mention the stress of keeping the cities safe. It only becomes harder when it seems more like the area their assigned to is almost too far in hell to be saved. I’m thankful that I’ve grown up in Murrieta, California, one of the safest cities in America. The police here seem to do a good job keeping the peace.
The city of Los Angeles is another story. The more spread out everything is, the easier it is to hide. Los Angeles is home to several gangs, including Mexican cartels. What scares me is that they are slowly rising in power. I travel to Los Angeles a lot and usually stay in the safe areas, but I still keep a close eye on everything. Until these monsters are brought to justice, they believe that the city is theirs. The cartel leaders will declare themselves king in the underground world and destroy anything that opposes them. That’s when you know it’s time to storm the castle.
End of Watch is a very effective cop thriller that shows the darker side of being part of the police. I’ve seen many films where the cops are tired, burned out men that don’t believe in society anymore and young rookies that are cocky and overconfident. Instead of those cliques, I feel like that I’m looking at real cops. Not just any cops, but also likable cops. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are practically brothers when they turn their heads to the streets and slums of Los Angeles as the cities finest.
Both men are Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), the best of friends that are so committed to protecting and serving the people of the city, they are willing the put their own lives at risk. The audience joins them on the ride along of their lives as they get assigned to the worst area of Los Angeles. For the most part, both guys talk about life, their work, and their girlfriends. But when the mouse steels the cheese, the cat’s gonna chase. Brian and Mike end up being marked for death by the leader of a large cartel, “Big Evil”.
Though the found footage style is becoming a clique, the movie uses it to its advantage. The documentary-like imagery makes End of Watch feel like that we’re in the same car as the officers. I didn’t feel like that I just saw a movie; I believed that I was with them in every chase and shoot out. But that’s what the movie is mostly, a shootout. I would have liked to see more of Michael Pena’s characters reaction to the Mexican cartels, as he’s Mexican himself. The movie really wants to say something about racial issues in the city, but I couldn’t find it.
I’ll give this four badges of L.A. out of five. If you want something that puts the police in hell, this is the movie that you’re gonna get. Though not a masterpiece, End of Watch reminds me that there’s another person out there that wants the drug cartels to disappear like I want them to.