Cop movies are a dime a dozen. Most follow the same type of plot (best friend partners, going after the bad elements, getting shot at, etc. ) so it can make it hard to distinguish one from another. End of Watch is this type of cop movie.
End of Watch stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña (playing Brian Taylor and Mike Zavola, respectively) as two Los Angeles police officers and close friends. They get to shoot the bad guys, get shot at by the bad guys, and try to save their community from drug dealers, gang members, and other typical bad elements. In a scene that leads to nowhere, Taylor and Zavola stumble into a home where two kids are locked away in a closet, but we really aren't told why and how this relates to the rest of the movie. Perhaps it's gang related?
Other scenes show the officers respond to a house fire from which they rescue a child and receive the Medal of Valor, and in another one, they stumble upon a house where they discover Mexican and Asian prisoners hidden and held captive in the basement. Again, we don’t know why. Is this just for shock value?
Of course, the formula of a cop movie needs to include romance. So the single Taylor meets Janet (Anna Kendricks), meanwhile Zavola's wife Gabby (Natalie Martinez) gives birth to their first child. Then Janet becomes pregnant, and at this point you can predict how this film will end. Without giving too much away, End of Watch is the term used by police in the U.S. for officers killed in the line of duty.
The acting in this film is better than the script they are acting out. Gyllenhaal as usual is very good as policeman Taylor; he fills out the cop uniform very nicely and is very believable. But it is Peña, as Zavola, who brings the charm and fun to this movie. His character is loveable and charming, and Peña upstages Gyllenhaal in most of the scenes they do together.
Directed and produced by Daniel Ayer (who wrote the cop movies S.W.A.T., Dark Blue and Training Day), End of Watch shows us nothing new in the life of a Los Angeles cop, and unfortunately, and most importantly, has a very predictable (and mostly unbelievable) ending.