Written by David Ayer
Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Running Time: 2:02

Rated R
for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief nudity.

Denzel Washington
as Alonzo Harris

Ethan Hawke
as Jake Hoyt

and featuring...
Dr. Dre
Snoop Dog
Macy Gray
Scott Glenn
Raymond J. Barry
Tom Berenger
Eva Mendes

Buy Training Day at AllPosters.com
Training Day

Buy Denzel Washington at AllPosters.com
Denzel Washington

Buy Ethan Hawke at AllPosters.com
Ethan Hawke

With a strong performance by Denzel Washington, Training Day is a top-notch cop film that shows the dark side of the police force and what can happen when you fall too deeply into your work.

Denzel Washington stars as Alonzo Harris, an L.A.P.D. Detective Sergeant patrolling the mean streets of L.A. He is teamed up with a new cop named Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) who is on his first day of patrol. Harris is supposed to be showing Hoyt the ropes, but instead takes him inside the underbelly of police work. Harris isn't the kind of cop we've been hearing about in the news recently. He's the kind of cop we were hearing about in L.A. a couple years ago. When the Rampart division of the L.A.P.D. was in the news, it was because of the illegal tactics they used to apprehend criminals, and some of the dirty games they would play to get their man. Harris is one of those cops. He terrorizes his neighborhood, knowing no one will do anything to him because he's a cop. He shoots drug dealers after stealing their money, and believes in his own mind it's the right thing to do. And when people don't do things the way he wants, he'll set them up to be killed, even if it's a fellow cop. By a stroke of luck Hoyt isn't killed, and he sets out to exact revenge on Harris, even if it means playing Harris' game.

Denzel Washington gives yet another strong performance in Training Day. Is there anyone working today that is a better actor? His work in this film is already being talked about as a possible Oscar contender. And as many people have said, this isn't the kind of role you expected to see him in. Alonzo Harris has very little redeeming qualities. In his own mind what he's doing is right, all just part of the job of being a cop. Steal some drugs from some suburban kids, break into a woman's house and steal her drug money, let a couple of guy who attempted to rape a 14 year old girl go. All just part of a day's work. If you make some money off of it, all the better for you. Forget search warrants, forget the law, this is the law of the street. And his character just gets worse as the film goes on. The subplot of the film deals with Harris owing a Russian mobster $1 million, and if he doesn't pay it off by midnight, he's a dead man. So maybe, just maybe what he does in the film is because of his money problems, but from the looks of the people he deals with, it's nothing new.

Ethan Hawke carried himself well in the secondary role. He probably wouldn't have been my first choice for the role, but he carried himself well. I don't recall Hawke playing this kind of character in any of his other films. The rest of the cast was interchangeable, with appearances by the likes of Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre and Macy Gray. The movie kept up a pretty good pace most of the time. There wasn't any time I could think of that I felt bored or uninterested. The entire movie takes place over a single day, so things were kept moving. There are always going to be unanswered questions, and maybe some motivations weren't clear, which is why I didn't feel the movie was as powerful as it could have been. It reminded me of another Denzel film, The Hurricane, in that the movie was carried almost exclusively by a great acting performance by Denzel Washington, and the rest of the movie just tried to keep up with him.

So overall Training Day was an enjoyable movie based on the great performance of Denzel Washington. I'm still not sure if I liked the plot device of him owing money to people as a reason for his actions, but it was an amazing acting job in a strong film and one worth seeing.

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reviewed 10/08/01

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