This was the last film I had planned to see and I kinda hoped it would be good and not cause me to walk out and do "anything else bar watch the rubbish on screen!" and let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed rather, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
Directed and written by David Ayer the man who wrote "Training Day" and "Fast and the Furious" to name two films. David apparently spent most of his time as a teenager on the most troubled streets of South Central Los Angeles hence his subjects seem to come from the same area.
In some parts this film reminded me of the gangster/coming of age classic "Boys in The Hood" and one of my favourites "Brooklyn's Finest" which was directed by Antoine Fuqua who also did "Training Day."
The film starts off with a narration by one of the cops telling you about the job and his dedication to it. He doesn't focus on climbing the career ladder rather he informs the listener that he is relentless in pursuit of apprehending his target...
The plot was about two wise cracking beat cops in L.A who have no problems killing crims who run red lights and open fire against them, "The Good Guys".
The cops are excellently played by Jake Gyllanhaal (Officer Taylor) and Michael Peria (Officer Zavala aka "Z"). Think Starsky and Hutch but more edgy I would say more in the vain of the British cop duo Reegan and Carter.
They (Taylor, single and Z, married) are very good at their jobs and are also uncompromising. They are warned constantly by a fellow officer who appears to be older and with more experience that LAPD will one day hurt them hard where the sun don't shine (the sanitised version) however they have their views and their sticking to it.
Taylor is a playboy with a list of conquests in his wallet but everything changes when he meets the very lovely Janet (Anna Kendrick who starred in "Up in The Air" with George Clooney).
Both cops love to film their days and are constantly warned by their boss to switch off their handheld and concealed cameras when on duty which they don't and because of this the film uses their camera shots to make the scenes in the film as quote Jack Curtis Denton a mutual twitter follower @JD3NTON and fellow film fan who says "@JD3NTON: @gmanZen yeah it really worked in showing their close relationship and how hands on the job is. Nearest it could have been to a documentary" and he's spot on. I haven't played it but I would imagine watching this film is in parts similar to playing the game "Call of Duty" and other first shooter games (see I is down wit de youts dem!).
So both cops are now settled and life is good until they make a bust which is right but ultimately goes horribly wrong.
I'm not gonna spoil the plot/film for you only to raise a few interesting facts.
Growing up I hated (no that's too strong a word. Let me say "strongly disliked") the police who I know were there to enforce the (unjust) laws however I never saw them as protectors of me and my rights.
My views changed not with age, rather with the monumental effort of one beautiful Nubian Sista called Theresa Peltier who was the chair of The Black Police Association and part of her work was about developing initiatives that encouraged the police and the community to work together.
Theresa was instrumental in changing my opinion and helping me to see “the other side” of the coin.
Films and TV shows made in the UK featuring the police seemed to reinforce my dislike of the police and what they did whereas American shows featured people of colour being in the force and were in senior positions (i.e., the stereotypical shouting police boss was always Black and yes the drug dealers were also stereo-typically black but at least you had a "positive" image to counter the "negative" imagery used). Also don't forget the Black detectives America gave us.
Do you remember the TV show called Tenafly? No, read below...
African-American private eye Harry Tenafly was a happily married, middle-class family man who had given up being a cop to work for a better paying position at a big L.A. detective agency. One of the few TV detectives who relied more on brains and solid legwork, Tenafly had no interest in gunfights, fisticuffs, or chasing beautiful women. Nevertheless, trouble seemed to find him anyway. Written by Mark Limvere-Robinson.
What about Baretta played by Robert Blake (Hispanic) and highlights the cases of maverick undercover New York detective Tony Baretta.
And finally and with no explanation I mention Shaft.
All of the above are Americans but what about the TV shows promoting "The Blackness" on British TV? Oh yeah, "Police 5" which helped to reinforce that we were a race of criminals which 30 years later the stereo-type is believed.
All the negativity to one side. Why would a person of any ethnicity join the forces? Maybe the pay would be appealing eh? Well let's examine their pay.
The average annual salary of police officers and county sheriffs in Los Angeles is $83,550 (£52,100) as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Half of all officers employed by the Los Angeles Police Department and as Los Angeles County Sheriffs earn between 70,640 (£43,700) and $97,290 (£57,400), although the top earning 10 percent earn $111,820 (£69,200) or more each year. Pay Scale’s salary for the Los Angeles Police Department paints a different picture, however; reporting officers earn average annual salaries between $56,722 and $87,398 as of December 2010.
So what's the salary of a UK police officer. Well if you're a officer of several years worth of experience then we are talking £35k ($56k) which as you can see is good money with less risk in comparison to working in the State of Los Angeles which isn't the City of Angels as the name is translated rather it should be renamed "Los Diablo" (work it out students of truth).
So what about being a Law enforcement officer in the boarder country with America and the place where life is so cheap?
The monthly wage of a cop in Mexico where danger is all around and where your uniform makes you a target is $685 (£427) and yearly is $8200). Do bare in mind that your target maybe an Assassin who receives $856 (£534) per month.
I mention the figures because they don't really add up when you realise the increased danger an officer has to face in Mexico for the least money in comparison to a UK officer so what can be the incentive?