First Hit: Very well acted film about the bond between two police officers in South Central LA.
One of the very best things about this film was that it wasn’t about a huge crime event, or the solving of a particular crime.
This film is about the relationship of two very different people, Officer Brian Taylor (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Mike Zavala (played by Michael Pena) and the trust they have with each other.
The film walks us through the antics of the officer’s headquarters meetings, the different personalities on the force, and their dialog in the car as they cruse South Central. Officer Taylor is a bachelor, has identified his dating process from beginning to end and that it seems endless.
Officer Zavala has married his high school sweetheart and he is completely happy in his home life. Zavala has a child on the way, while Taylor only wishes about having a meaningful conversation with a woman after the third date.
Together they complement each other in how they do their job, their special skills, and how they can accept and embrace each other. When Officer Taylor meets the woman of his dreams Janet (played by Anna Kendrick), it is great to see and watch his subtle shifts as he realizes much of what Officer Zavala has told him about what love and marriage is really about.
As Police Officers, they are heroic (house on fire scene), ballsy (walking into the large party scene), and brave (as they work themselves out of a fire fight scene).
The best thing about this movie is that they show these things as to demonstrate their characters as people and police officers, not as crime solvers and preventers.
Gyllenhaal was very very good as the officer who learns what is really important in his life. Pena was excellent as the officer who knew his place and what was important in his life. Natalie Martinez (as Gabby) was wonderful as Pena’s wife and support system. Kendrick was really very good as Taylor’s girlfriend and wife. Her scene in the bedroom with the video camera was excellent. Dominique (as Wicked) was strongly wicked and took over her scenes. David Ayer wrote a very strong script which highlighted the characters differences in a very natural way. His direction was spot on and using Officer Taylors hand-held camera for some of his shots was a good choice.
Overall: What I liked about this film is that it put the crime in perspective to their lives and not the other way around.