Training Day (2001)
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Never thought much of Ethan Hawk. As an actor, especially. Still don't. However, Denzel.....Brilliant Actor.
He steals the Film from his first scene, to the end.
This movie is Unbelievably Entertaining!!!
I guarantee once you begin, You won't want to stop.
firstly, the performances are excellent. Ethan Hawke gives us a timid yet bold performance as the rookie narcotics agent who's not all that comfortable with the way his first day unfolds. his character's main goal is to become street ready and become the best cop he can possibly be. he starts out as a soft yet passionate officer who isn't very in tune with all of the street details that are required to perform the job. in scenes where he needs to be a little reserved and in his head, Hawke pulls it off. in scenes where he needs to be bold and charismatic, Hawke pulls it off as well. the key to the character is the outstanding morals he displays. he is at his core, a good man who seeks to do good. Denzel Washington's character is the polar opposite. the grizzled vet who knows what it takes and might cut some corners in order to get the job done. Washington is very charismatic and sells his characters motivations and morals perfectly. his character acts as the corrupting force that could be Ethan Hawke's characters undoing. the interplay between the characters moral differences is what drives the plot and keeps the story flowing smoothly and with consequence. each scene where a moral question comes into play could or could not affect Ethan Hawke's character in a major way. it's interesting to see how each scene plays out and how it will affect our perceptions of the characters as well as the perceptions that characters have of each other.
what really ties everything together though is the script. the screenplay allows for both the characters to propel the plot and the plot to propel the characters. it's this balancing act that makes the movie special. an event happens, we learn about our characters, they learn about each other which causes a new reaction or event and the story flows smoothly. every time Denzel's character teaches Hawke's character something, although it may be immoral or even insignificant at the time, it comes into play in the third act. Hawke's character grows and towards the end of the film becomes the cop that he set out to become. completing the character's arc and completing the story with a tightly wrapped bow.
it may not be on the level of the godfather or citizen Kane, but it sure is a great film and if you haven't seen it.. watch it.
"Training Day" (2001) is definitely one of the most memorable action thrillers that came in a period 2001 - 2010. It has amazing acting by two leads, which is thousand times better then in your usual genre movie, acting by Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke is one of the kind here. Denzel creates this Alonzo guy - a crooked cop on the edge so memorable, that it actually carries this movie in higher realms. No wonder he won Oscar for this performance, when usually no one wins Oscars for action movies - it is a statement of this performance is one of the kind. Directing by Antoine Fuqua was great as well as solid script by David Ayer. It is an intense, involving movie that you kinda can't stop watching no matter how many times you have seen it whenever you catch it on TV - it is that good.
Overall, "Training Day" is a great genre movie which goes above the rest genre movies because of a legendary performance by Denzel Washington. solid script and good directing. You can't ask more from a straightforward action thriller.
Where is David Morse today? LOL Everywhere!!
What Denzel Washington's character (Alonzo) mostly does is evidently the 'wrong' convention of doing things; it does sometimes looks like this 'cop' has a pretty decent idea about how things work (he even exclaims during one scene, "Nothing's free in this world, Jake. Not even arrest..") This makes Alonzo implausible.
The film aptly uses the location of Los Angeles, which suffers from the socio-economic issue of drug cartels and gang wars, also relevant to the plot's context.
I've seen it once as of, but definitely wouldn't mind watching again, since it's no-campy, complex story line makes one to delve deeper into it's dialogues, thus increasing it's re-playing ability.
Alonzo Harris is his opposite, who shares the same traits as Hoyt that might sooner mistake him for a dealer instead of a cop. Washington is relentless to the point of being overblown; with his skullcap, black 'matrix style' trenchcoat, silver crucifix necklace and penchant for double wielding pistols (with one aligned in the 'kill-shot' position), he treads the dangerous line between authenticity and the Hollywood vision of the edgy, corrupt cop. His dialogue is fast and furious, showcasing his 'street' knowledge and his wielding of racial capital to play both sides of the thin blue line closely, and often recklessly. In another world it would be easy to imagine him as a drug kingpin.
It is this approach that leads to Hoyt's first challenge. Harris underlines the offer with a bit of wisdom that makes so much sense that almost makes up for his methods: to be a narc you must know and love the drug. The second part of his nefarious plan is to lace the joint with PCP and create a trial of evidence that will later come into play. The 'drug vision', shot from the perspective of the dazed Hoyt, is where the film shows some of its false colours. It's ridiculous, highlighted with a nightmarish green tint, canted dutch angle and erratic shaky-cam straight out of some Don't Do Drugs PSA for a high school crowd. The nauseous combo with extreme close-ups barrelling in on the young rookie's reactions are part of Fuqua's treatment of 'realism', albeit a shiny, sanitised version of working narcotics. Occasionally, he even is allowed to splurge, and the result of this is a dramatic rooftop meeting of similarly corrupt cops about to raid an informant, or as they call it, 'cashing in an account'. We understand that each of the four have gone through the same trial by fire that Hoyt is being pushed through. But what's wrong with a Starbucks?
The ideal behind Hawke's Hoyt is a good one, if not simplistic. An early scene tacks a wife and child onto him like some sort of moral compass point, but not as part of a three dimensional character. He's an amalgamation of the characteristics that we and Hollywood like to see often in movies - white, middle class, young father, morally upright. Fuqua aligns the audience alongside him, and we nod and agree with his moral choices, before all that is upended and we discover that the streets operate on an entirely different level than the cinematic black and whites we are so used to. But the film also falls victim at the same crux. It posits that sometimes the bad guys win and that simple morality might not always be such an easy out, but then lets the angelic protagonist navigate the messy and heartless territory it has worked so hard to establish with relative ease and a few convenient narrative strokes.
Training Day recalls other tangled crime dramas about figures trying to navigate the corrupt waters of the system, in particular the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs and its more well known western counterpart, The Departed. While the former wears its pulp on its sleeve by using a flashy action aesthetic and showy, soap-opera-esque flashbacks to push the narrative along, the latter was well and truly americanised. As with many of Scorsese's films it verges on the point of being overdone, stretched an extra fifty minutes and made gritty, grey and quietly devastating. A distinct difference lies in the treatment of the undercover gang member who infiltrates the police system: the original had a way of swinging allegiances and evoking Buddhist sentiments of a perpetual guilt, whilst Scorsese all but batters Matt Damon into the ground, leaving no room for dispute. Interestingly, Training Day was released but a month after the 9/11 attacks, with the American public distraught, and fear and paranoia running rampant. In that climate a cop could do no wrong. Nowadays I look around and see a very different environment, one where the lessons of Training Day might not be so shocking. While the two former films are more or less straight thrillers, Training Day attempts to say a little more, but it's not entirely successful either.
The idea itself is nothing new; nowadays we all know many stories about the crime on the streets and how the cops are trying to handle that problem. But at some point, almost abruptly, the story went to some other direction, adversely changing the pace of the movie.
The choices and motives of the main protagonists are blurred and unclear, and the movie didn't offer a reasonable explanation for some of their rather radical actions. Even though the acting and the role assignment are more than good, the overall character development is rather poor, giving the impression that the movie is just too short for this story.
All in all, this movie is nothing special due to a shallow realization and isn't really worth the time. I can only say that I wouldn't watch this movie again.
If You Are A Fan Of Denzel Washington, Then This Movie Is For You. It Was Different To See Denzel As The Villain But It Was Played So Well. Alonzo (Denzel Washington) Is A Feisty Character, Who Will Stop At Nothing Till He Gets What He Wants. A Big Well Done To The Director Antoine Fuqua On Making This Movie Happen. This Is One Of Those Movies You Can Watch Again And Again And Again.
When Jake is held at gunpoint in a bathtub, that's when Training Day comes alive. Now why couldn't everything that came before be as good? For a while, this movie sounds better on paper than acted out, and that's unfortunate, despite a great premise, that, for a while, goes absolutely nowhere. Hawke is completely miscast, and Washington just can't save it. Now, I enjoyed it a little more when it's just these two, but when they're around others, that's when the movie goes flat. And a two-hour running time? Are these filmmakers serious? I can't help thinking the boring stuff would have been more forgivable had they been, at the very least, even slightly shorter. Want to see a good movie? See "The Man" instead. While it's a comedy, and this one is action. it is at least much, much better than this misfire (mostly, anyway).
** out of ****