Ambulance Ending Explained: How Michael Bay’s Car Chase Movie Has A Darker Ending Than It Appears

Yahya-Abdul Mateen II listens to Jake Gyllenhaal's proposal in Ambulance.
(Image credit: Universal Pictures/BayFilms)

The following contains major spoilers for Ambulance.

Ambulance is the newest film by Michael Bay, and while the movie is much smaller in scope, and budget, than many of the accomplished director’s projects, it has all the “Bayhem” one could ask for, so much it even made Michael Bay nervous. At the core of the story, however, is a character driven plot that is as engaging as the ambulance chasing action. The story of bank robbers and their hostages has a chaotic conclusion that we’ve come to expect from Michael Bay but the Ambulance ending is perhaps not as positive as it might seem. 

Ambulance follows two brothers, Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who rob a bank, and then are forced to steal an ambulance to make their escape. The ambulance is occupied, however, as it contains EMT Cam (Eiza González) and rookie cop Zach (Jackson White) who was shot by the brothers. What follows is a nearly endless car chase. But at some point the chase must come to an end, and it does in epic fashion.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Eiza Gonzalez in Ambulance

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

How Ambulance Ends  

Danny and Will appear to have successfully evaded the police when they enlist the help of Papi (A Martinez), a former partner of their bank robbing father. With his help they’re able to lose the cops by filling the roads with ambulances running in every direction. Will and Danny’s ride makes it to Papi’s hideout, where they plan to simply pay him half of the $16 million they escaped with, and ride off into the sunset.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Papi’s son has died in a fight with police as part of the plan, and so Papi wants more than money, he wants blood. He insists that the EMT and the injured cop be left behind. Danny is ok with this, but Will, who got roped into this whole plan at the last minute and has never been comfortable with it, says no.

In the end, when forced to either fight or support his brother, Danny chooses to back his brother, and a firefight ensues. They fight their way back to the ambulance, but when Will gets there, he is inadvertently shot by a nervous Cam, the EMT, with Checkov’s glock, which has been under the injured cop since he first ended up on the stretcher. 

Cam plays off the shooting, claiming that she doesn’t know who shot Will and Danny, with no other choices, races to the hospital. Injured Will takes a package of the stolen money, and asks Cam to be sure his wife gets it. The ambulance is surrounded by cops outside the ER entrance. 

There, Danny realizes the gun that shot his brother belongs to the cop, and he threatens to shoot the cop until Cam admits she accidentally shot Will. Cam then becomes Danny’s hostage and he holds her at gunpoint. With a plan to use her to get out and get his brother help. There are police snipers in play looking for a shot, but they never get it off, as the bullet that takes down Danny comes from behind him, as Will shoots his brother in the back.

Both men end up on the ground bleeding out. Danny dies there, but Will holds on. Initially, he is left to die, as the cops have little interest in helping the bank robber whose chase led to the death of several officers, but when Cam tries to help, and points out to Zach’s partner that he would be dead were it not for Will, Will is helped into the emergency room.

Will is next seen under police guard, but alive. His wife has the money that Cam slipped to her. When officer Zach is asked who was the one who shot him, he says that Will saved his life, despite the fact that it was actually Will who shot him in order to protect Danny.

In the final shots we see Cam, somebody who had previously only seen her occupation as a job, without emotionally investing in it (although Eiza González reportedly got very emotional while making Ambulance). She visits a girl who she helped save early in the film, and clearly has a new outlook on her own life following this ordeal.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Ambulance

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Why Ambulance Doesn’t Have The “Happy Ending” It Seems

At first, Ambulance looks to have a pretty happy ending. Three of the four characters in the ambulance survive, with only Danny, the one who was clearly the true “bad guy” actually being killed. When Zach fails to accuse Will of having shot him, we’re even given the impression that Will might avoid the worst possible punishment for his crimes, but is that really the case?

Even if we give Will the largest possible benefit of the doubt, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble. Just off hand we have the crimes of bank robbery, theft of the ambulance, and the kidnapping of the two people inside the ambulance. On top of that, while Zach may have survived this movie, a lot of police officers did not. Many, including LAPD’s Captain Monroe (Garret Dillahunt) were killed as part of the diversion that allowed Will and Danny to initially escape.

Even if a lawyer was able to successfully argue that Danny was primarily responsible for all of that, there is no argument in the world that will absolve Will completely. As such, the man is probably going to spend the rest of his life in jail. Every death that took place would presumably become an added count of felony murder. Even if Cam and Zach testify on Will’s behalf and lay all the blame on Danny, it’s difficult to imagine a jury would let him go. 

The only good thing that comes out of all this is that we can assume Will’s wife will get her surgery. And there’s even no guarantee that Will’s goal in doing all this will be successful. Whatever is wrong with Will’s wife, we’re told he needs the money for experimental surgery, and if it’s experimental there’s certainly no guarantee it will work. And if it doesn’t we have to start thinking about what will happen to their young child.

It’s all very depressing because we’re told that Will left home and joined the military specifically because he wanted to avoid going down this path. And now Will is probably going to spend the rest of his life in prison. We can only hope it was worth it. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.