In theaters today, End of Watch certainly has a lot going for it. Written and directed by crime thriller expert David Ayer (who penned the Training Day screenplay and helmed Christian Bale's 2006 cop flick Harsh Times), the new found-footage action pic follows a pair of likable, charismatic LAPD police officers (played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) as they run afoul of a drug cartel and a bunch of hired-gun Latino gangbangers. The shootouts are in-your-face and visceral, Gyllenhaal and Peña both give first-rate performances, and the tension mounts to a surprising, brave, and downbeat conclusion.
By no means a rousing success, End of Watch would be far greater in its enjoyment if not for the aforementioned Latino gangbangers. For no good reason, Ayer spends large chunks of time with the obnoxious and thinly written criminals, having them tape insufferable car rides full of obvious profanity that only point out just how poorly conceived the film's bad guy characters are—unfortunately, it's a deal-breaker.
Since all of his films revolve around street thugs and the lawmen who track them down, Ayer must be well-versed in cinema's long history of depicting urban gangsters, so it's a shame that End of Watch ultimately downgrades itself through stereotypical tropes. If only Ayer had the following list of The 10 Worst Gang Member Clichés In Movies to study before writing his latest cops-and-hoodlums flick.
Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)