End of Watch
is a late summer 2012 release directed by David Ayer starring Jake Gyllenhaal
and Michael Peña.
Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike "Z" Zavala (Peña) are two LAPD police officers of Unit 13
, their district handling the infamous crime ridden South Central
Los Angeles. The film follows the two both on the job and in their private lives. Things turn sour when the two unknowingly start sticking their noses into the Mexican Drug Cartel
activities that eventually puts a hit on their head when they discover something they shouldn't have.
- A-Team Firing: The criminals in the film don't aim their weapons well, which doesn't help when using the notoriously inaccurate AK-47. A team of five of them fire on Z and Taylor late in the movie and only end up landing one shot.
- Abusive Parents: Shown when Taylor and Z get a call about "missing children".
- Anyone Can Die: Zavala.
- Bald of Awesome: Taylor
- Big Bad: Appropriately named "Big Evil."
- Bigger Bad: The Cartel leader who orders the hit from south of the border.
- Bling Bling BANG: "Cowboy", a suspected cartel runner, carried a chromed and gold plated, diamond encrusted M1911 and a gold plated AKM.
- Camera Abuse: One of the gun fights ends with the camera being taken out.
- Cassandra Truth: A gangbanger warns the pair that there's a hit out on them. They immediately dismiss it.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: Happens a few times. Most notably at the end where Brian and Z have already been shot. Z doesn't survive.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: The format of the movie. Scenes switch back and forth between the hard life of an LAPD officer in a crime ridden area to joking conversations between Taylor and Z. It eventually culminates to a really hard Mood Whiplash.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Sureño gang uses a silver MPV in a drive-by shooting at the beginning of the film. When its torched wreck is discovered, Taylor suspects it's been used in a shooting and explains why gangs prefer to use these as they do not attract attention and can carry a lot of people (and guns). When another one appears behind the patrol car after a hit is placed on Z on Taylor, you know something bad is about to happen.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The black guy Z has a brawl with earlier later informs the two that The Cartel put a hit on them.
- Cluster F-Bomb: There's a whole lot of swearing, but the Curbside Crew drop obscenities between every word.
- Covers Always Lie: No, that AK is never used by either of them.
- Da Chief: Taylor looks up to him and he has no issues with the main characters. The pair's sergeant occasionally barks at them, however.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After trading insults with a suspect, Zavala agrees to fight him. Zavala's victory, combined with his decision to only arrest the suspect on the original charge of disorderly conduct (as opposed to assault on a police officer) wins the gangbanger's grudging respect. He is later shown speaking well of Zavala, and eventually warns the protagonists of the hit that was placed on them.
- Disney Death: Taylor. He passes out wounded, seemingly dead, as Z stays at his side, before The Crew catches up to him and shoots him fatally, leaving both men lifeless in the middle of the alley. In the next scene, Taylor is shown injured yet alive at Z's funeral.
- Documentary: In-universe. Taylor is filming his day for a "school project". Action scenes switch between what those cameras are seeing and regular angles.
- Downer Ending: The only uplifting thing is that Taylor survived in the end. If that's considered uplifting.
- Eye Scream: Van Hauser's right eyeball is split in half by a knife, causing his retirement from the force.
- Fatal Family Photo: Family seems to be brought up quite often by the two officers. Especially Z.
- Fight Scene: Z and a repeat offender go at it to settle their differences.
- Found Footage: Both the cops and the Curbside Crew are recording themselves.
- Good Is Not Nice: Both Taylor and Zavala themselves. Just because they're policemen, doesn't means that they will instantly be nice people.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Taylor and Zavala say that they're brothers, and the whole film is basically scene after scene reinforcing it.
- Jerkass: Van Hauser.
- Lighter and Softer: Than Ayers other work. Our main characters are good cops without any real flaws, in comparison to the Anti-Hero and Villain Protagonist cops that usually feature in his works.
- Mockumentary: Much of the film is shot from Taylor's handheld camera as part of his class documentary project.
- Mood Whiplash: After Z's funeral, the film flashes back to a humorous story that Z tells, which is funny as well as tragic given the information we know about his future.
- Mundane Utility: Taylor carries around a camera to film his police lifestyle. While raiding a house, he uses it to peek around corners.
- New Meat: One is part of the police force. The two protagonists don't even know her name. She retires after a criminal severely beats her face in.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: One member of the Cartel catches a patrol squad, leaving a knife in the eye of one and beating the hell out of a rookie until Taylor and Z show up.
- Oh Crap: Taylor and Z know something is really bad when ICE in para-military gear show up.
- Police Procedural: A good portion of the film is Found Footage-style examination of a ghetto cop's day-to-day life. The bad aspects of the job are often highlighted.
- Psycho Lesbian: Big Evil has one in his crew. Aside from her threatening and flirting with a female cop, her depravity and sexuality are independent.
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: In the beginning, a black gang is shown complaining about the shifting demographics of their neighborhood, then getting gunned down by the invading Sureño gang.
- Shaped Like Itself: Why is the Big Bad called "Big Evil?" Because his evil is big.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The sergeant reveals that he's still suffering from a partner taking a fatal bullet for him.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: A good chunk of the characters would qualify to some extent, but Big Evil and his followers particularly stand out in this regard (and among them, Big Evil himself and La La are easily the worst), which is especially notable in a film with as much foul language as this one.
- Spoiler Title: "End of Watch" is a term used when police officers are killed in the line of duty.
- Those Two Guys: Officers Orozco and Davis, the female pair, always seem to be the second on the scene.
- Turn in Your Badge: The rookie hands her sergeant her badge while being carted off to a hospital, indicating her resignation.