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Movie Reviews

Training Day  
Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington)
Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke)
Roger (Scott Glenn)
Stan (Tom Berenger)
Paul (Dr. Dre)
Sammy (Snoop Dogg)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Written by David Ayer

Running Time: 122 minutes
Distributed by Warner Bros.

Ethan Hawke
Ethan Hawke
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Training Day (2001) VHS

Training Day [DVD] (2001) DVD

Training Day is a powerful film that looks into the world of corruption in the Los Angeles police force. Jake Hoyt (Hawke) is a rookie cop that believes he is getting a shot at doing some real police work (narcotics). The audience first meets Hoyt in his small home, and we feel the love that he has for his wife and newborn baby. This day is considered his training day (first day as a narcotics officer). His boss and mentor for the day is Detective Sgt. Alonzo Harris (Washington). Harris is cocky, touch, and most of all intimidating. Through the two characters’ first encounter, we see the wickedness and awareness of Harris. He takes Hoyt around the streets of Los Angeles, preaching and expressing his philosophy of street justice. The young cop tries to amend with him, but begins to disagree with his methods. Harris explains that on the streets one has to be the wolf and take matters into in one’s own hands. The young rookie is engulfed into this corrupted world and must make a decision of acceptance or denial.

Training Day is a well done film that will leave you yearning for more. All aspects in the film work for the most part in delivering this crime drama.

Antoine Fuqua patiently directed Training Day. Fuqua’s previous credits include the sloppy Replacement Killers and the average Bait. With Training Day, this young director raises the stakes and throws the audience up-close and personal with the Los Angeles crime world. Fuqua chose to shoot most or maybe all of the film on location in the ghettoes and crime-filled streets of Los Angeles. This choice gives more realism to the look of the film, with the sunsets and other elements of reflectiveness. Fuqua doesn’t get carried away with his action scenes, like he did with Bait, the story is the centerpiece and the action is more supportive than exploitative. The director also delivers one of the most intense scenes in a film I have seen all year. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say it contains Ethan Hawke’s character in a bathroom.

David Ayer, who wrote the summer hit The Fast and The Furious, wrote Training Day. The script’s content is superb, but I thought that the characters are what really made this story click. Like I spoke of earlier, the first time Harris and Hoyt meet is just terrific, and the mannerisms along with the dialogue (Harris’ philosophy) just give the actors more juice for their roles to work with. I don’t want to say that the whole corruption side of the film is limited, but I did want to see more of it. An example is some of the secrets of the film; it would have been better with more depth to the subplots. The only real problem I had with the script was that I felt like the last twenty minutes kind of went overboard. The flow of the film leads there being more intensity and closure to the story, than the way it closes.

Denzel Washington is just absolutely brilliant in the role of Alonzo Harris. He develops this evil being that speaks his mind, and is so convincing in making wrong seem right. Audiences might be surprised by his performance, because it is nothing like his previous work. Some might see Ethan Hawke’s performance as Jake Hoyt to be a mere shadow of Washington’s presence, but I thought that he was right there with him. Hawke is very sharp and bold with his acting in this film. Also, the two actors worked exceptionally well off of one another and create a hidden chemistry. In my opinion, this is some of the best work of these two respectable actors’ careers.

Training Day is a crime drama that might not be for all audiences. However, I believe most adult audiences will enjoy this film, even though it is dark. I think audiences will applaud Washington’s turn as a villain, and it will probably earn him another Oscar nomination.

Report Card Grade: B+

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