Filmed as if it were a documentary, writer-director David Ayer’s film about L.A. cops Mike (Michael Peña) and Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) has a real grittiness that distinguishes it from other crime dramas. Veteran cops who are more than willing to take on the toughest crooks in South Central L.A., the two guys get more than they bargain for when a simple arrest leads them to a heavily armed cartel. While Ayer obviously over-dramatizes the experiences of L.A. cops (the guys get into shootouts on a regular basis), he also humanizes the characters and shows how they quickly shift from friends to professional partners as the situation dictates. You can tell the actors spent some time with real police officers in preparing for their roles.
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