Training Day (10/27/12)

Training DayMovie Two Hundred Forty Three

A rookie undercover cop is taken for a wild ride as his superior blurs the lines between officer and criminal in Training Day.

Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is starting his first day on the job as an undercover narcotics officer in Los Angeles, riding along with Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). Jake quickly notices Alonzo’s methods are not at all what he expects of such a decorated police officer. After Alonzo makes Jake smoke marijuana laced with PCP at gunpoint, Alonzo’s nature is called entirely into question. As the day progresses, things get even less black and white as Alonzo takes Jake deep into the shadier parts of the job and leaves Jake scrambling to find a way out of the situation, even if it means losing the promotion to detective.

I love Training Day, it’s a movie that keeps me on the edge of my seat every time I watch it. Denzel playing a bad guy, and not just a bad guy, but a bad guy that doesn’t seem to know how bad he is and is also a cop…Wow. Perfect casting even though it’s about as far away from Denzel’s usual roles as it gets, he nails it (and won an Oscar for it). Training Day starts off with the viewer questioning the morality of the situations that Alonzo presents to Jake and even though things seem “off”, it’s easy to ride the fence on what is the best call. Jake seems to go along with this too. When things begin to take a darker turn we question what Alonzo is really playing at. Finding out just how far Alonzo is willing to go is haunting and mesmerizing to watch.

Personally, I find Training Day a hard film to categorize. It’s part action, part thriller, part cop drama but it also hits on some deeper levels. Alonzo is simply one of the best film villains to come along, in my opinion. He is truly capable of anything to get what he wants and he has the power of the police force to help him. He is a man that we likely have seen glimpses of in our real lives and though you almost want to root for Denzel, you can’t root for him because Alonzo is just so far corrupted.

Acting aside, Training Day is well-crafted and Antoine Fuqua directs the film with so much tension you can practically see it on screen. What brings the film down a bit is the somewhat complicated final act. Though it ties the layers of the story, there are a lot of layers to bring together and some things are resolved a bit too conveniently. It doesn’t hurt Training Day too much overall, but some of the details may be lost in the shuffle during the first viewing.

I give it 4 badass Denzels out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


30 responses to “Training Day (10/27/12)

  1. I Totally Agree, Dude. Denzel Was Totally Badass As A Badass-Bad-Guy! They Couldn’t Have Cast It Better. I’m Also A Fan Of Ethan Hawke! And The Supporting Cast Was Spot-On.
    Great Flick, Fo SHO!!!

  2. Agreed. ‘Training Day’ for a short while after received lots of grief by some because they perceived it as an Academy Award make-up call for Denzel’s work. When you look at it, though, he did deserve the kudos he got. His Alonzo Harris is character you won’t soon forget. Now, ‘Scent of a Woman’ for Pacino, that was a make-up call (and they totally disregarded his more worthy work in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’). Good one, Andy.

  3. Hawke and Denzel are great here and definitely make this movie one-step above the usual, cop-drama we’re so used to seeing. However, when you take them away, that’s all you have. Good review Andy.

  4. training day is a good example of something i often say – that what it takes to be an effective cop is different from what it takes to be a good person. did you see the alternate ending? loved the movie, but liked the release ending better than the alternate.

  5. I hate Ethan, but this film is so great and changed so many things, I am so sad no more movies of that level were made after… maybe Crash was close enough as innovating. Thin lines… I LOVE THIN LINES! 🙂

  6. A very dodgy ending but Denzel is superb here. I must admit, I was surprised at his Oscar win for a film of this type but there’s no denying that he’s superb in this film.

    • Yeah, both the original and alternate endings don’t do the film justice, but the original ending does a better job of it. It’s definitely a worthy performance, it’s just surprising the Academy saw it for what it is.

  7. I totally agree, Andy. Shady is the right way to describe a lot of the feel of this movie. Have you noticed the strange, gloomy tones of the cinematography? Everything about the film seems to catch the sinister nature of the story. It’s perfectly cast, I’d say, right down to the little cameos from Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre. I think Snoop in particular is great in his role. Denzel does a fantastic job of playing this bent copper. Nice one. 🙂

    • I love that Snoop and Dre were cast and I’m glad their cameos don’t feel like jokes. Though Snoop in a wheelchair is kind of unintentionally funny to me.
      When I was watching I was trying to get a sense of what shots the DP would use to give the scene a sense of menace or claustrophobia and the scenes within the car do a remarkable job of laying the tension all on the screen.

      • You’re totally right about the scenes in the car, especially when he’s high. I was thinking that the camera lens feels like it’s got a grey tinge to it and it seems to give the film an edgier feel. You’re totally right about the rappers. It’s amazing how much of a wise ass Snoop always manages to be. Hee hee. 🙂

  8. Pingback: My October Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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