by Dan Fields
First published September 22, 2012 by the California Literary Review
The Street King Rises
End Of Watch is a perfectly serviceable drama. It is also a bait and switch job. Writer/director David Ayer, whose chief preoccupations are Los Angeles street life and the pitfalls of upholding the law, set out to create a different kind of cop movie and succeeded. This means that the ads linking this film to Ayer’s breakout script Training Day are inappropriate. The twisted secrets and perilous standoffs promised in the trailer take up a surprisingly small percentage of the story. Advertising End Of Watch as a movie that takes its sweet time might not sell as many tickets, but it would lead to less grumbling among the fans who showed up strictly for police corruption and crack cocaine.
Officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Peña) are LA’s finest – a pair of patrol cops who face a sordid and dangerous world with guts and good humor. Zavala has a family, Taylor is looking to build one, and they have forged a solid kinship as partners and brothers in arms. The trouble with a cop drama is that the good guys always have so much to lose, and the most dangerous thing for a peace officer to do, especially in a David Ayer project, is crusade for justice with an untainted soul. Continue reading