End of Watch

Directed By: David Ayer

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, and David Harbour

We've had our fair share of bromances this year.  With This Means War, 21 Jump Street, and Savages having already rolled into theaters in the last several months, it's safe to say that there has been plenty of male bonding on the big screen.  With David Ayer's cop mockumentary End of Watch hitting movie theaters this weekend, it's also safe to say we're not done.

Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) are partners in the LAPD.  Having met at the academy, these two have become best friends and brothers to one another.  Mike is married to Gabby (Natalie Martinez), and longtime bachelor Brian is in a budding relationship with Janet (Anna Kendrick).  When these two fast and loose young cops discover some horrific things they're not supposed to know, they get the attention of a Mexican drug cartel in a bad way and get into a war for which they're not ready.

End of Watch has a little bit too much profanity for my taste.  I don't think I've ever said this about a movie, and I hope this doesn't mean I'm getting old.  I have to say it though.  At times, every other word in the screenplay is the F-bomb, particularly when gang members are talking.  I've seen some of the most violent and profane films this world has to offer, but the incessant dropping of the F-bomb in End of Watch actually got to me.  There are other words in the English language.

Beyond the profanity, End of Watch is really a film that aims at winning viewers over with shock value.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña deliver some strong performances as Officer Taylor and Officer Zavala respectively.  There's plenty of comedy, plenty of bromance, and even a plot in there somewhere.  At the end of the day though, it's the shock-and-awe factor that drives this film.  Anytime you start to wonder where this flick is going, blood starts flowing or heads start rolling courtesy of David Ayer.  Using gore for shock value is simultaneously the film's most valuable asset and its greatest flaw because we eventually reach a point where it's overused.

I'm also not a fan of the mockumentary filmmaking style director David Ayer employs here.  It really doesn't fit with the movie from a logical standpoint.  Why the hell would a cop go around filming his exploits?  Does he want to get fired?  For that matter, why would gang members want to film themselves and create potential evidence of their crimes?  It all just sounds nonsensical to me.  It's as if Ayer said let's just give everybody cameras because it will look cool.  It adds no value whatsoever to the film.

While I've got plenty of gripes with End of Watch, it is still an enjoyable movie.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña appear to be enjoying themselves on camera and that’s ultimately entertaining for us as viewers.  End of Watch gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few beers with this one.