Reviewer: Scott Nehring
Should I see it?
Director/Writer: David Ayer
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick and Frank Grillo
Rated R for violence, language, sexual references and drug use.
Watch or Rent This Movie Here
Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Peña) are a pair of LAPD patrolmen who, when not accidentally uncovering international crime, wisecrack at their superiors and hold snappy, charming conversations in their patrol car. Most of this is captured by the officers themselves through the small cameras they have attached to their uniforms.This is against protocol,and for no reason other than the director, David Ayer, thinking it would give a point-of-view look at the work of the LAPD (it doesn’t).
Brian is The White Cop and Mike is The Not White Cop. I know this is the case because over and over Mike and Brian talk about how Brian is white and Mike is not white. In 2013, in Los Angeles, apparently this is rare enough for it to warrant multiple mentions.
White Cop is a former Marine and is referred to as being exceptionally smart. He has a great girlfriend Janet (Anna Kendrick) who happens to have a great job and is loving and kind. Not White Cop has a wife and kids. Not White Cop has to ask the meaning of words and dismisses anything that involves him thinking too hard. He also has a Not White wife who doesn't have a great job but she does have a wonderful scene where she reveals her Not White husband’s sexual proclivities. Not White Cop later recounts a tale where he is stuck under his Not White in-law’s bed while the two have ‘freaky’ sex. Got it. White Cop = smart, clean, thoughtful. Not White Cop = stupid freaky sex beast.
White Cop and Not White Cop bumble their way to a Mexican cartel member and a boatload of cash and guns. Following this interaction, the two return to mocking their superiors and fellow officers. They take jabs at each other and comment to their cameras about how their work is difficult.
White Cop and Not White Cop then, of course, rescue children from a house fire and, of course, are rewarded with the Medal of Valor.
The story could have continued to unfold in a logical fashion, developing characters with a building sense of impending doom from the violence these men face on a daily basis. No such luck. Ayer, who also wrote the script, has White Cop and Not White Cop uncover an illegal alien trafficking safe house. ICE agents descend on the house and take over the crime scene. White and Not White Cops are told by an ICE agent that they have uncovered a safe house being run by a Mexican cartel and they should “lay low” for a while due to the risk of reprisals.
White Cop and Not White Cop later perform a seemingly innocuous welfare check on an elderly woman. They randomly pick this stop from a list of open cases. This RANDOM STOP turns up revealing that the woman is dead and her home has been turned into a torture chamber/drug storage house for the same Mexican cartel that White and Not White Cop had crossed earlier. These cops can't seem to not trip over the pesky cartel.
Based on three random stops the cartel green lights the assassination of the two beat cops. Which makes sense, because if an international criminal organization wants to worm their way into a city, murdering low level beat cops is the best way to get that done.
A group of Latino gang members from central casting are brought on to shoot the cops. They shoot the cops. White Cop being the white cop gets to survive his wounds. Not White Cop, being not white, dies sacrificing himself for White Cop.
This being a Hollywood movie the Latino gang members from central casting are then gunned down standing in a straight line in the middle of an alley by the LAPD. Just like it happens in real life.
The bottom line is this, if you can ignore the lazy racism, illogical plotting and slim character development, you may find some moments of interesting action and some cute chunks of dialog. If that sounds like a fun night, have at it. Most people should have better things to do with their spare time.
Jake Gyllenhaal movies
Brokeback Mountain (2005)