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March 16, 2013
End of Watch Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
1/11/20126/3/2013Village RoadshowDavid Ayer
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Jake Gyllenhaal
Michael Peña

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Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star in End of Watch.

One of my favourite TV shows is Cops and with 25 seasons and almost 900 episodes it obviously has a pretty wide appeal with audiences around the globe. When I first saw the trailer for this film, End of Watch, it had an instant appeal and familiarity. A documentary styled police buddy film starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince of Persia, The Day After Tomorrow) and Michael Peña (World Trade Center, Tower Heist) was going to hit all the right notes for that built-in audience.

Written and directed by David Ayer (who also wrote Training Day, U-571 and S.W.A.T.) the film focuses on two young L.A. police officers and their role to keep the streets safe. When the stumble across a couple of "interesting" discoveries it puts them in the sights of the country's most dangerous drug cartel.

First thing first... Argh! As many of you would be aware I hate shakey cam footage and this film is full of it from start to end - BUT - this is the one film where I not only understand the use of shaky cams, but accepted and enjoyed it. It gives the film a realistic, documentary feel just like the aforementioned TV show.

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Discussing events with an informant.
While there are some moments of violence, and certainly some swearing which is a little excessive in my book, End of Watch is a fantastic film from start to finish with superb acting from the two lead actors that really keeps you hooked throughout the 109 minute runtime. Like any good buddy-cop movie you really invest in their relationship, their struggles and their story.

There were, however. a couple of things in this film that I didn't quite believe. In particular one scene where one of the two policemen drops his belt in order to fist-fight an offender being apprehended in his house. To me, it was just stupid; surely cops would, never do this in real life. Having said that in the audio commentary David Ayer addresses this and confirms that this has in fact happened with a suggestion that he knows more than one policeman that may have done this. With that in mind, my opinion of this film only grew.

End of Watch is like watching an extended, and more adult, version of Cops, but with a bit more of a story. Naturally it's a scripted film, but there's plenty here that could be based on real events. End of Watch is a film that really leaves me with much more respect for the men and women that protect our streets and comes highly recommended.

As we've mentioned in the films review there is a lot of shaky-cam shots in this film and also a wide variety of quality of footage however it's clear that those responsible for this transfer to Blu-Ray knew what they were doing with a gorgeous transfer that handles all the (intentional) film artifacts superbly.

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Beware, she's actually a gang member!
The AVC MPEG-4 transfer is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and with a high bitrate it allows the transfer room to retain all the fine details, and dark shadow detail too which is critical in a film which has many scenes at night time, or in dimly lit areas. There were scenes though where contrast levels were off which meant some detail was lost in areas, but this, again, is most likely either intentional or a result of the cameras used to film End of Watch.

This Blu-Ray includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) soundtrack that while mostly front heavy, does at times make use of the surround sound channels and, especially during scenes with music (for instance at the party between 29:09 and 30:03), the sub-woofer too. Dialogue is generally very clear to understand at all times and doesn't have the quality one would normally associate with small lapel or dashboard cameras where this footage supposedly originates. The music from David Sardy also get the job done nicely and hits the right notes when required according to the action in the film.

As with most Village Roadshow releases there is only one other audio track – an English Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired which has been encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224kbps and gets the job done. The disc contains a single subtitle track which is accurate to the dialogue, but lacks placement near the character talking, or colourisation which helps identify the person talking.

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Visually End of Watch impresses on Blu-Ray.
End of Watch on Blu-Ray starts with a trailer for The Intouchables (2:03) and Red Dawn (2:26). Beyond that there isn't too much on the disc, although the commentary is a highlight.

Audio Commentary: The End of Watch Blu-Ray contains an audio commentary with Writer/Director/Producer David Ayer and his commentary is pretty constant through the film with plenty of detail about both the production and technical details compared to real-life police work (for example the first scene concludes with a shootout but the director mentions that in real life, the police would not walk towards the offenders shooting, but stay behind the car for cover - however due to dramatic effect that was change so you could see the police). It's certainly worth a listen.

Deleted Scenes (12:01/HD): Annoyingly there's no option to Play All, no scene titles, nor any commentary and some still have timestamps etc on the footage, but these five scenes contain a few more nice moments although obviously trimmed for pacing. These scenes include "Scene 21" (1:33), "Scene 31" (1:14), "Scene 32" (2:12) which is an alternate scene and is actually better than the one in the finished film, Scene 48 (2:40), Scene 52 (4:22) which is a nice scene but too long and not relevant too relevant to the story.

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End of Watch, an impressive film on Blu-Ray now.
Featurettes (10:50/HD): I was hoping for some depth here however they are only short featurettes which adds little value to the disc as they are mostly just advertisements for the film rather than anything in-depth. Featurettes include "Fate With A Badge" (2:08), "In The Streets" (2:08), "Women On Watch" (1:58), "Watch Your Six" (2:33), and "Honors" (2:03).

End of Watch is a fantastic film which demonstrates what law enforcement, anywhere in the world, sacrifices to make our world a safer place. The film is fantastic, the transfer is solid but a few more extras would have been appreciated.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.