Jake Gyllenhaal plays good-natured LAPD officer Brian Taylor, whose ever-present video camera sets up the premise that we’re viewing a found-footage film. In the locker room he drags his half-dressed squad-car partner Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) into the frame, and the way Mike elbows his way back out again sets the tone for the pair’s trash-mouthed macho bickering. They’re a good cop-good cop team trolling the hot, hard streets of South Central.
The film has an appealing way of undercutting police thriller clichés. Mike would usually be a supporting player, with Brian taking the lead. In this film, the Mexican-American isn’t the sidekick. He’s savvier, married, with a kid on the way, underlining his status as a mature figure with moral responsibilities of his own.
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