The efficient LAPD Police Officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala are partners and best friends. Mike is married with Gabby, who is pregnant, and Brian is having a serious love affair with Janet. Brian has the intention of making a movie and is using a handy cam to film his daily work with his partner, under the protest of his colleague Van Hauser. After killing a powerful gangster in self-defense, they are transferred by Sarge to South Central Los Angeles where there is a war between black and Mexican gangs. When Mike and Brian arrest a gangster and find a great load of drugs and people involved in human-trafficking, they are sentenced to death by the Cartel and hunted down by a Mexican gang. What will happen to them?
Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.
I had high expectations for this movie, and was severely let down. The letdown came from a number of small things rather than one big one. While I accepted the story line of tough inner city cops working tough neighborhoods, I found the use of hand-held cameras to show uncommon angles to be an unnecessary distraction. So was the constant referencing of Anna Kendrick's cleavage in almost every shot she was in.
But the biggest letdown in this movie was the generic nature of the battle between law enforcement and the human traffickers they fought against. The coyote types were one dimensional characters only - cold and angry all the time. We never really are told why they hate the police so much, other than that the police are obstacles to their business. But the human element was missing.
The other letdown was the portrayal of the disconnect between the LAPD, a local agency, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency. We aren't given enough content about their lack of information sharing, and the plot too easily glosses over ICE's not sharing potentially life saving information with the LAPD.
The one bright spot in the movie was the acting by Jake Gyllenhaal. He was very convincing as a hard charging, bend-the-rules street cop. But this movie could have been so much more, end evoked more empathy from its audience, had the script been better refined. Cop buddy movies rely mostly on the chemistry between the leads; it is what made the Lethal Weapon series work so well with Mel Gibson(before his melt down) and Danny Glover. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are paired as young uniformed patrol officers in a high crime Los Angeles neighborhood with battling black and Latino drug dealing gangs. The story alternates from action; including the obligatory chase scene used in every cop movie; and family life with the loyal wife of one, and girlfriend of the other shown throughout. The plot is rather routine and standard but the acting makes this one of the better police dramas offered in the last few years. The camera shots are mostly hand held, with very fast paced editing, so be prepared for a roller coaster ride for an hour and forty nine minutes. A solid 8/10. It almost becomes comical to count the number of "who's holding the camera now?" reverse shots that the filmmaker haphazardly inserts to propel the story forward. Such visual ineptitude, like much else in this tediously cocky enterprise, is downright criminal. "Harder Than You Think" by Public Enemy. Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) can be construed as being a very reckless police officer in terms of safety and precaution though his background in the movie as a former Marine would help to explain his demeanor as more militaristic and fearless when dealing with dangerous situations compared to his partner. Police officers in general though cornering a suspect in that scene would have a great deal of adrenaline running through their body and might not stop to think that there's an ambush waiting for them in the apartment building. The two main characters might have thought that it was just another gang member evading police capture by running into his apartment building. Yes, here's why: a5c7b9f00b
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