End of Watch – Blu-ray Review

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I’ll admit I never was looking forward to watching End of Watch, but with the majority of people out there giving the movie rave reviews I had to check it out. It’s been a long 11 years since Training Day writer David Ayers has written a police drama, but David Ayers tries his hand again at the police drama genre in writing and directing End of Watch. The writing for End of Watch is great, maybe even better than Training Day. While Training Day is a great movie, End of Watch put me through emotional, thrilling, and funny moments – something that Training Day never really gave me. All of this is because of the interaction and dialogue between Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña). If the viewer is going to live through the lives of the characters, you better make sure that you care about them. David Ayers did an amazing job of this, as I felt attached to these characters and the journey they went through.

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The film is shot in a pseudo-documentary style, which are a detriment and a benefit to the movie. On the positive side, this documentary style of filmmaking helped me feel for the characters. You get an inside look at the lives of these two officers and the various events from the couple of years that the movie takes place in. On the other hand, this style of filmmaking can garner some weird cinematography that may be distracting for some viewers. At one point you go from a shaky cam to a first-person shot, then back to the shaky cam. Also, the fact that Brian Taylor can continually get away with filming for his class while on duty doesn’t seem all that realistic. The same thing can be said of the Curbside Gang members that record themselves too.

My other minor gripe with the movie has to do with some of the coincidental moments that get these two involved with the Mexican cartel. The tipping point for the cartel to go after the officers happened with one incident. I won’t spoil the scene but it made me think, “Wow, now that’s some bad luck right there.” That bit made it seem unrealistic when the point of the movie is to make the film realistic.

Apart from the minor gripes I’m glad that I watched this movie, as it’s one of the best cop movie ever made, beating out Training Day. Some of you might disagree there, but you can’t deny that at the very least it’s one of the best films of 2012. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña shine in this movie and their chemistry on-screen made the film as enjoyable as it was. I highly recommend this movie.

Movie grade: A-

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Video

The 1080p high definition MPEG-4 AVC video is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The video is hard to rate here as different cameras were used to keep the aesthetic of the documentary style filmmaking. Some scenes would have great contrast, but in another scene it would have a low contrast due to the particular camera that was used. The color saturation is flat here, but as with the contrast this is keeping with the overall aesthetic with the film. The video transfer is nice and crisp but the one negative I can really see is with the brightness of the transfer. The blacks are so crushed that a lot of the details in the LAPD uniforms gets lost in the blacks. I would see a large silhouette of the uniform on screen and the only thing I can see on the uniform are the badges and nametags. This is a problem considering half of the movie takes place at night. Overall, it’s really hard to comment on the film since it was filmed documentary style, but the crushed blacks on the video transfer makes some of the film hard to see.

Video grade: C+

Audio

End of Watch is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Being a drama the front and center channel speakers get a lot of work here. There are two only noticeable times when the surround sound speakers are used are when there is a firefight and when a song is playing during a scene. There are times though that the surround sound speakers could’ve been used to help immerse the viewer within the scene, but ultimately your back speakers won’t be used be much.

Audio grade: B- 

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Extras

For a Hollywood movie, there aren’t many extras in this Blu-ray release. All that you will get with this release are 17 deleted scenes and 5 featurettes. The one deleted scene to take note of is the alternate ending for the movie, I won’t spoil what that is but once you watch the movie you’ll see what I mean. I’m just glad that they at least entertained the idea of this deleted scene. The featurettes as well aren’t full-on featurettes but more so a compilation of featurettes that you might find on Apple trailers.

Extras grade: D

If you’re still on the fence about the movie (although you should really watch the film), check out the trailer below!

[youtube width=”600″ height=”368″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DonxsOok-gI&hd=1[/youtube]

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