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Movie Review: End of Watch

The latest police-based drama from the creative mind behind Training Day, S.W.A.T., and Street Kings, David Ayer’s End of Watch stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena in a gritty action-drama about two hot-shot, hero cops whose lives get turned upside down. The movie begins with a car chase in which two men are gunned down after firing on officers Taylor and Zavala, close friends and partners. After getting assigned to a new district upon their return, the pair runs into a series of events that will change them forever.

If you like the TV show Cops, you just might like this film. End of Watch is basically Cops on steroids, but with a deeper insight into the personal lives of the officers on the show. With plenty of action, heart-warming moments, and humorous sidebars, End of Watch is definitely an entertaining pick. Although the sequence in which events occur throughout the movie doesn’t seem to solidify into any general timeline, the events themselves make up for that. The style in which the film was shot was a little chaotic at times, seeing as the film was made to be seen from the point of view of a handy-cam or camera attached to the actors’ shirts. As for the action itself, it was very guerilla-esque, very up-close-and-personal.

The cast turned out to be one of the biggest positives in this movie. Gyllenhaal and Pena really do make a convincing pair of old friends who have each other’s backs no matter what. The way these two can play off of each other is just what this movie needed, although the supporting characters did exactly what they were supposed to in strengthening the cast and adding more depth to Jake and Michael’s characters. Such supporting actors as America Ferrera, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez and Frank Grillo did great jobs in giving Jake and Michael what they needed to build off of in certain scenes, making for a more naturally flowing movie.

All in all, End of Watch was a decent watch, with mild entertainment factor. It’s funny at times and action-packed at others, but in my opinion, there wasn’t really enough there to really pull me in and truly captivate me. At best, this movie would be a good watch if you were trying to pass a little over an hour, but I’d be shocked if Mr. Ayer brought in any awards because of it. Overall, I’d give End of Watch a solid 2.75 stars out of 5: decent movie, fairly entertaining, but not necessarily memorable.

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