|Training Day |
Actors: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger, Harris Yulin
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Working undercover is a job. And an attitude. A mad dog narco cop blurs the line between cop and criminal as he mentors an idealistic rookie partner during his Training Day.
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K. K. (GAMER)
Reviewed on 11/17/2019...
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Thumbs up for two extremely absorbing performances.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 03/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must say, my preconceptions about Training Day were all wrong. The trailer I saw in the theatres made it look like a belated ripoff of The Corruptor, while director Antoine Fuqua's disastrous fumble with The Replacement Killers several years ago did nothing to boost my confidence.My doubts were dispelled the minute Denzel Washington looked up from his newspaper. It is indeed good to see Washington, one of the most gifted actors of our time, abandon the saintly martyrs he's been prone to playing for 10 years and sink his teeth into a role which allows him to show a mix of deep charisma and dangerous viciousness. That same alchemy had made his breakthrough performance in 1989's Glory amazingly compelling, and in Training Day, there isn't a single moment where Washington is less than completely absorbing. Ethan Hawke also gives the performance of his career as Jake Hoyt, an idealistic but easily swayed young cop who finds himself drawn into a web of corruption, violence, and twisted morals.Fuqua's directing is still overly stylish at times, but after a hyperactive first act, the film begins to roar. David Ayer's script is dazzling, a combination of rat-a-tat street vernacular and relentless forward momentum, and after the midpoint of the movie, the intensity of the scenes would reach incredible levels. And that's when Fuqua's show-offy camerawork finds a raison d'etre. In this film, Fuqua even finds room for some comparatively simple scenes which are really like a breath of fresh air to his filmmaking -- for example, the "you're a leader" car scene, and that beautifully understated ending shot. I hope he makes this part of his regular style, because there's only so much virtuoso camera one can take before it gets tiring, as is the case in the opening of the film.A white-knuckle thriller, well worthy of the accolades it received. I stand humbly corrected on my original predictions."
Washington's "training day" as the bad guy is stunning.
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 11/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Underneath the warped, vicious ideals held by the main character of "Training Day," there lies a film that is cooly calculated, sinister and intense, and works its audience in ways no other movie has. It's main attraction, no doubt, is the casting of Denzel Washington against type (a tactic that is strikingly impressive), but the movie has the brains, the audacity, and the guts to be more than just a star vehicle with a shocking twist in the casting department. It begins in a mediocre manner, introducing us to rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke), who is anxious to become a narcotics officer to create a better life for his family. This would partially explain his willingness to stick with detective Alonzo Harris (Washington), whose unethical use of his status as a law officer, and his brutal embracement of street justice, make him more than just a force to be reckoned with. As the story progresses, it begins to resonate into a much more interesting piece of work. Jake's exposure to Alonzo's ethics takes a toll on his subconscious: Alonzo believes everything from indulging in illegal substances to hiring informants who also happen to be dealers... anything to excel as a narcotics officer. His brutality with several offenders of the law (or is it his own law?) serves to unnerve us as we watch the daily events of his life unfold in such a forceful manner. The appeal of the film largely depends on your ability to stomach its various messages, some realistic, others unbelievable. Alonzo believes that in order to attain the trust of your team, you must have a tainted history; much of his beliefs stem from his ideal that if you don't possess a high degree of intimidation, then the streets will kill you. These beliefs pose the audience a very blunt, beckoning question: is it mere movie fantasy, or a wake-up call to reality? That is what makes "Training Day" a remarkable film. It poses this question to us in a straightforward manner, without reserve. Los Angeles is shown in a gritty, hardcore style that is unrelenting in its violent undertones, and shaking in its realistic appearance. The conclusion, a cat-and-mouse chase with some delectable psychological warfare between Jake and Alonzo, abandons the film's ideas rather than offering any easy solution to them, yet manages to create a monumental amount of suspense while not influencing our own decisions about the morals of its characters. The film's cast is its strongest attribute, featuring two stellar performances from Hawke and Washington. Hawke portrays Jake's confusion and question of reality with supreme believability; in effect, his character's disbelief at the events surrounding him rubs off on us. It is Washington's character that keeps this movie at such a feverpitch. Alonzo is easily one of the most complex characters of the year: his intelligence and street smarts are absolutely spellbinding at times, yet when used to propogate his idea of justice, they become chilling. Despite a slow beginning, "Training Day" is an effective drama that provokes thought and discussion. The film's morals are questionable, but that only serves to make one think harder about them. Much will be made of Washington's losing his halo, as well as the corrupt ideals his character follows, but those looking for something different will find this a remarkable turn-around for the actor, who proves his ability as a versatile performer."
Knyte | New York, NY | 10/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Roger Ebert considered this movie an "over-the-top" dark comedy, and gave it a thumbs-up. Richard Reoper hated it, saying it was too predictable and simply bad. I strongly disagreed with both of them. Instead, I felt "Training Day" was a disturbingly realistic portrait of life for police officers in the roughest areas of American cities; a place where even the most well intentioned of hearts can become twisted and corrupted by the lure of power, prestige, local fame, and of course -- money. Denzel Washington's performance in this film is convincing...it will scare you. Ethan Hawke was great too. Look out for impressive cameos by Calvin Broadus (better known as Snoop Dogg), Andre Young (better known as Dr. Dre) and Macy Gray. My movie-going experience was only ruined by one thing: the sight of 'suburban' parents irresponsibly bringing their pre-teens (couldn't have been older than 8) to watch this ultra-violent film. What were they thinking? It made me sick. This is a must see, but it definitely won't leave you with a good feeling after you leave the theatre. Thanks for reading...C.H.R."