End of Watch (Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
From the writer of Training Day comes a gripping, action-packed cop drama starring Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. In their mission to abide by their oath to serve and protect, Officers’ Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Pena) have formed a powerful brotherhood to ensure they both go home at the end of watch. But nothing can prepare them for the violent backlash that happens after they pull over the members of a notorious drug cartel for a routine traffic stop. Seen from the point of view of the officers, gang members, surveillance cameras, dash cams and citizens caught in the line of fire, a 360 degree perspective creates a gritty, compassionate and intense portrait of the city’s darkest streets, and the brave men and women patrolling them. – © Universal
If it has a lens and captures video, chances are it was used it to bring End of Watch together. Source-happy as the film's presentation is, though, there's nothing on display that suggests Universal's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is anything other than a faithful representation of original photography. Issues abound -- artifacting, noise, standard definition unsightliness and more -- but none of it traces back to the studio's efforts (or lack thereof). And, for the most part, it all fares quite well, with relatively lifelike colors and skin tones, capable contrast and satisfying black levels. But again, it's all in keeping with the filmmakers' intentions. Not that End of Watch is an unattractive film by any means; just fittingly rough around the edges. When detail delivers, it delivers. Textures are revealing and definition is crisp and clean. Of course, the presentation could be riddled with problems and it'd be next to impossible to tell. Even so, it's safe to assume everything is as it should be.
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track packs more punch, if only because the film's testosterone-addled sound design isn't as limited by the equipment being utilized in any given scene. Dialogue falls victim to background chatter, environmental noise, air hiss and the like, yet rarely takes a hit in intelligibility. Voices are clear and smartly prioritized no matter how chaotic a face-off or shootout becomes, and the only lines overwhelmed in the madness are those specifically chosen to overwhelm. LFE output, meanwhile, is bold and booming, throaty police cruiser engines and truly alarming gunfire, and rear speaker activity surrounds the listener in the all-too-convincing sounds of the crime-ridden South Central streets. All things considered, Universal's lossless audio mix only makes everything Taylor and Zavala experience that much more effective and involving.
End of Watch is the most realistic cop film that I have seen, at least in recent years. The film is shot from a variety of cameras, whether it is Brian Taylor's personal camera, the dashboard cameras in the police cruisers, or mini cameras that these two officers have implanted on them. This documentary style filming makes the film feel a lot more personal, especially because the film is about the lives of two police officers and the brotherhood they have developed. I don't know if I would have enjoyed End of Watch as much as I did had it been filmed in a regular format. If you're looking for a great cop movie with a lot of action and emotion, then this is the film for you. End of Watch places the viewer in the toughest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles and demonstrates just how difficult this job can truly be. An officer may never know when their day may come, especially when dealing with some of these criminals.
Posted by Ryan Gibbs, January 31, 2013 7:39 AM