Viewed – 08 October 2013 Blu-ray
Anyone who has watched the long running reality TV show ‘Cops’ should be right at home here, with two street police officers (Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Pena) going about their daily duties in South Central Los Angeles, risking their lives as they attempt to enforce the law amongst local gangs consisting of African-American punks and Columbian drug dealers.
Shot with a mixture of traditional and shaky hand held camera, this is immediately authentic and engrossing. Gyllenhaal is one of my favourite actors, and proves utterly gripping. With good support from Pena, they make for likable buddies. Of course when they piss off a local drugs cartel after stumbling upon a crime scene involving a big stash of narcotics as well as human trafficking, these street-wise officers soon realise they may have bitten off more than they can chew.
Director David Ayer (Street Kings) has crafted a powerful movie that’s not scared to show the gritty realism of the streets, including some strong violence, making for a hard-hitting but also entertaining experience. Granted the South Central / hood thing has been done to death (ahem), but the documentary-style approach offered a refreshing take, pulling this viewer in and making him feel like he was there. The ending was also a bit obvious for the most part … but overall, this was a quality evening’s viewing.
Verdict: 4 /5