End Of Watch

Studio: Exclusive Media Group

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick

Director: David Ayer

Rated: R

Time: 108 mins.

Back Cover

From the writer of Training Day comes a gripping, action-packed cop drama starring Academy Awardr nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pe¤a. In their mission to abide by their oath to serve and protect, Officers Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pe¤a) have formed a powerful brotherhood to ensure they both go home at the end of watch. But nothing can prepare them for the violent backlash that happens after they pull over the members of a notorious drug cartel for a routine traffic stop.

Review

You seen this, ‘a day in the life of a cop,’ style of movie countless times before.  End of Watch brings nothing new to that type of tale in terms of story.  It does deliver it in a different manner.  The look and feel of it is much like the recent spate of lost footage movies but this one uses a video diary motif to achieve that gritty and hand held feel.  Both for the cops and the bad guys.  While such an approach strips away the movie glitz and makes it feel more  intimate it cannot hide the fact that we have seen this type of cop movie before.

So the in your face feeling that at first intrigues gradually becomes wearing as the movie plays out. The desire for the camera to hold still and the shots to move back grow stronger the longer the movie runs.  The feeling of claustrophia becomes a distraction.   All I wanted is for the shots to open up.

What works really well is the relationship between the two cops played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.  They have an easy camaraderie and really feel like two buddies.  Brian Taylor(Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala(Pena) have a strong bond between them as they cover each other’s back to make sure they always make it to the end of the watch.

What does not work so well are some of the criminal elements of the movie.  Taylor and Zavala run across a drug gang;  the members of that gang are widely drawn and are very cartoonish.  The intersection of these two paths between cops and the big bads is jarring.  It is like the merging of a documentary with an action movie.

Crave Factor – 6

Video

BluRay
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
1.85:1

The video is all over the place as a variety of hand held and digital cameras are used.  It  makes it difficult to judge what was intended and what was accidental.  In general the picture is pretty good with certain segments grittier looking because of the type of camera and/or shot used.  Plus the lighting conditions in which it was filmed.  Night time shots are more problematic as they tend to be more chaotic as well.

Crave Factor – 8

DVD
The DVD is the same with the expected loss of detail and a slight loss of clarity in darker scenes which are murky in the BluRay version to begin with.

Crave Factor – 7

Audio

BluRay
English/French Dolby True HD 5.1

A respectable and workman like soundfield.  This is a front soundstage heavy soundfield for the most part because it is a dialogue heavy movie.  During the action scenes the sound field opens up and employs the surround speakers to help flesh them out.

The disc includes optional English SDH and French subtitles—in easy-to-read white lettering—but no dubs or descriptive audio.

Crave Factor – 7

DVD
The 5.1 Dolby surround on the DVD matches up pretty close to that of the BluRays given the restrained sound dynamics at play here.

Crave Factor – 7

Special Features

On the BluRay only and in 1080p.  The Audio Commentary is present on both discs.

  • Audio Commentary: Writer/Director David Ayer

Single person commentary for the length of a movie is a tough task for the commentator in terms of maintaining listener interest.  Frank Darabont is pretty good at it.  David Ayer gives it a good try and does provide a lot of interesting tidbits about the LA Police Force, the new movie shooting possibilities because of the miniaturization of cameras, and the cast etc.

It’s easy to get onboard with the commentator if you agree with said person.  It’s a lot tougher when the person states why he made the decisions he did and those decisions are the very things you find problematic.

  • Featurettes: 5 EPK type segments each about 2 minutes long.
    • Fate With A Badge
    • In The Streets
    • Women On Watch
    • Watch Your Six
    • Honors

  • Alternate Ending

A misnomer – this is a collection of deleted scenes showing the funeral procession and honour guard outside the church.  In no way does it provide a different ending.

  • Deleted Scenes

A collection of nearly 40 minutes of deleted scenes.  Most of them are alternate takes with some new footage – notably a boxing match sequence.

Crave Factor – 6

Conclusion

Story wise – End of Watch brings nothing new to the table.  Which is a pity because it makes the performances of Gyllenhaal and Pena seem all for naught.

Overall Crave Factor

7

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