Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena play two young patrol officers in south L. A. with a penchant for video taping their shifts and an appetite for pulling their weapons on a daily basis.
Pena’s character has a young wife expecting their first child. A lot is made of his Mexican heritage.
Gyllenhaal is dating a girl who is an engineer and definitely has her cap set on catching a cop and putting a ring on him, and maybe even handcuffs, on occasion. She is played by Anna Kendrick, a recent Oscar nominee for “Up in the Air.”
Writer-Director David Ayer has had a lot of success in this genre of film, including pictures like “Training Day” and “Dark Blue.” In “End of watch,” he seems to want to cover all the aspects he can, including the role of female officers, day-to-day supervision of patrol sectors, gang violence, the drug trade and lots more. The language in this motion picture is brutal. The bloodshed gratuitous and exaggerated. The film has lots of unrealistic aspects. In one scene, a character is shot by assault weapons fired by multiple shooters right on top of the victim, and then just a few days later the individual is seen walking and talking, although encumbered. Not going to happen.
“End of Days” has a herky-jerky visual style that can be disconcerting and is overused. The primary effort is to sell the relationship of the two young cops, and frankly I thought it was a little overdone. But the film is successful as an intense and forceful display of violence. It has an originality of style than can be engaging.