Review by John
I would like to start out by saying, originally I wasn’t going to review this movie. Not because it’s not an excellent movie unworthy of a review by me. But because of the nature of the film itself. In the movie there are countless vulgarities, scenes of violence, gore, and some all around pretty intense scenes. In the same breath though, I felt compelled to review this film for a few reasons. Just be aware, this is not a movie I would watch with my children.
Reason 1: It’s real life. Maybe not in your town, maybe not in my town, but it is real life stuff that police officers around the US deal with on a daily basis.
Reason 2: It was a GREAT movie! One that sparked several different emotions in me during the seemingly short 109 minutes. Anger, disgust, pride, sadness, and joy.
Reason 3: Playing off of reason 1, I wanted to emphasize the fact that these kinds of things take place on a daily basis and there is always someone willing to stand between the bad guys and you and your family.
“I’m the police. And I’m here to arrest you. You’ve broken the law. I did not write the law. I may even disagree with the law. But I will enforce it. No matter how you plead, cajole, beg or attempt to stir my sympathies, nothing you do will stop me from placing you in a steel cage with grey bars. If you run away, I will chase you. If you fight me, I will fight back. If you shoot at me, I will shoot back. By law, I am unable to walk away. I’m a consequence. I am the unpaid bill. I am fate with a badge and a gun. Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed. I think. I love. And yes, I can be killed. And although I’m but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are the same as me. They will lay down their lives for me. And I them. We stand watch together. A thin blue line. Protecting the prey from the predators. The good from the bad. We are the police.”
End of Watch is a story of two police officers, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhall) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), who patrol the gang infested streets of South Central Los Angeles as partners working for LAPD. The quote above is spoken by Officer Taylor during the opening scene of the movie. It completely sums up the entire movie in just the first couple of minutes.
The movie is shot documentary style and as we find out, it is explained that Officer Taylor is filming everything for one of his college classes. During the course of the movie it is revealed that these two officers are considered somewhat “hotshots” by their command staff and fellow officers. If it wasn’t for them being as proactive as they are though, a lot more people could have ended up worse off.
One example of their proactive approach to the job is when they are out on patrol and come up on a house fire. The two officers rush into the burning home to save some children. Some might say that is reckless behavior for a couple of police officers, you know, since they’re not firefighters. But when the situation is presented to these officers, they react quickly and save lives – all while risking their own lives.
Throughout the movie it is reiterated time and time again that Taylor and Zavala have a special bond; a love for each other. They rely on each other in order to survive. During some of the most chaotic situations they are always checking on each other, making sure the other is safe.
The bond that Taylor and Zavala share is exhibited the best at the end of the movie. Earlier in the movie, the officers uncovered some things that some of the leaders of the gangs didn’t like being uncovered. This lead to the officers being “greenlit”, otherwise known as having a “hit” put on them. Taylor gets shot in an unknown location. Taylor and Zavala are all alone at this point and Zavala refuses to leave his partner’s side. The gang members who were put in charge of killing the officers come upon the officers in an alley; Zavala hovering over Taylor applying pressure to his wound. The gang members begin shooting and Zavala falls on top of Taylor – shielding him from the raining gunfire.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (KJV)
This movie definitely gets the “John Shue Seal of Approval”! I leave you with my review and a trailer here. I highly recommend you watch the movie for yourself though. Let me know what you think of the movie in the comments section below!