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Training Day seems passionately made and well crafted. It's fast paced
from the start, scene-to-scene, though slows down at some places,
likely for the need of character development. One small scene where
Alonzo talks to his son in Spanish, is emotionally captivating, even
when one is unaware of the language; and most importantly - describes
his somewhat affection for his closed one, amidst his brutal actions
and dialogues throughout the movie.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ethan Hawke has made a career out of perfecting the nervous smile and
candid shake of the head. Even as he gets older he has retained that
youthful naivety about him. In Lord of War I noted he was woefully
miscast as the FBI hotshot - Hawke is not the arrogant, in control
type. In Training Day he is a different brand of law enforcement, where
his character plays to his strengths. In the beginning Jake Hoyt feigns
confidence and ambition, but soon after is immediately wringing his
hands and vibrating with a nervous energy because of the things he is
being asked to do (he put this aura to great use as the fresh faced
teenager in Before Sunrise). Hawke is like a modern Jack Lemmon, but
dropped into a urban, unforgiving environment and a tireless role. His
body is withered and lean, with a scratchy, unkempt beard as a symptom
of long nights. He represents a rat, a narcotics cops scurrying over to
the dark side.
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.
What A Movie ! I Would Definitely Recommend Watching It. Denzel &
Ethan's Acting Was Fantastic. The Storyline Itself Caught My Attention
And Drew Me In. I Have A Lot Of Favourite Scenes In The Film, The Shots
& Filming Was Definitely On Point. I Would Give It A Rating Of 8/10.
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.
"To protect the sheep, you gotta catch the wolf, and it takes a wolf to catch a wolf." This questionable sentiment is how rogue LAPD detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) justifies a heavy laundry list of dirty deeds, scary volatility, sociopathic backstabbing and a complete disregard for the badge that he wears on a chain like dog tags. And indeed, inner city Los Angeles can seem like a war zone, but its like he's in fact more part of the problem than the dark angel of justice he sees in himself. Antoine Fuqua's combustible crime drama Training Day rightly won Washington an Oscar for his unsettling runaway train of a performance, and he owns it down to the last maniacal mannerism and manipulative tactic. The film takes place over one smoggy L.A. day (hence the title) that feels like an eternity for its two leads, as well as all the colorful and often terrifying people they meet along the yellow brick road that's paved with used needles and shell casings. Harris is tasked with showing rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) the ropes in his neighborhood, in the hopes that he'll pass the test and achieve Narc status. Jake is prepared for a run of the mill crash course, but as soon as he's treated to a verbal beatdown from Harris in the diner they meet at, he has a feeling it ain't gonna be anywhere close to a normal day. This is just another day for Harris though, as he drags Hoyt by the scruff through drug busts, gang warfare, the worst neighborhood in town and pulls him deeper into his very dangerous world. Fuqua has a knack for getting the atmosphere of his settings just pitch perfect, and the feverish nightmare of the inner city comes alive, seemingly possessing the characters themselves until the atrocities just seem like a way of life. The trouble really starts when they run across Harris's old drug lord buddy Roger (a wicked Scott Glenn in a role originally intended for Mickey Rourke), who proves a valuable asset later, though not in the way you might think. Harris introduces Jake to his equally crooked and scary team, including Peter Greene, Nick Chinlund and Dr. Dre who struggles in the acting department, especially in a room full of such heavy hitters. Jake is aghast at the horrors he sees and cannot believe the streets are like this. Harris devilishly assures him that this is the job, mutilating the symbol of his badge even more by justifying such behaviour as necessary. Tension reaches unbearable heights during a visit to a Latino gang household run by Cliff Curtis, Raymond Cruz and the eternally scary Noel Gugliemi. This is the heart of darkness fpr the film, a story beat from which there is seemingly no escape, until it becomes clear that Jake has somehow evolved a step up the food chain as far as LA goes, and is now ready to put down the dog who taught him, a dog who has long been rabid. People complain that the final act degenerates into a routine action sequence. Couldn't disagree more. With a setup so primed with explosive conflict, it can't end up anywhere else but an all out man to man scrap, which when followed by no flat out action sequences earlier in the film, hits hard. Their inevitable confrontation is a powerhouse, especially from Washington, who finally loses his composure and yowls like a trapped coyote, his actions caught up to him. In a role originally intended for Tom Sizemore (who would have rocked it in his own way) I'm glad Denzel got a crack at it, for he's absolute dynamite. Watch for Harris Yulin, Raymond J. Barry and Tom Berenger as the three senior LAPD dick heads, Eva Mendes as Alonzo's girlfriend, Macy Gray as a screeching banshee of a ghetto whore and Snoop Dogg as your friendly neighborhood wheelchair bound crack dealer. Fuqua keeps attention rooted on the dynamic between Washington and Hawke, who is excellent in as role that could have easily been swallowed up by Washington's monster of of a performance. Hawke holds his own, and the film is really about how two very different guys view a difficult area of town, how it changes them both, and ultimately how their moral compasses end up on a collision course. One of the best crime framas out there, and quickly becoming timeless.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With his hopes for one day making detective firmly in mind, a young Los Angeles cop by the name of "Jake Hoyt" (Ethan Hawke) is excited about his new transfer to the narcotics division. To assist in his training he is accompanied by the man in charge of the division, "Detective Alonzo Harris" (Denzel Washington) who shows him the ropes for the first 24 hours. During this time he quickly learns that the rules he has been taught at the police academy do not apply and that his life is in jeopardy if he fails to adapt. He also learns that there is another sort of justice other than that rendered by the courtsstreet justice. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was movie offers a no-holds-barred glimpse at the "war on drugs" and gang activity from the perspective of those living in the eye of the storm--and it isn't very pretty. The movie, on the other hand, was certainly entertaining enough with Denzel Washington performing in an excellent manner as did Ethan Hawke to a lesser extent. That said, I have rated the movie accordingly. Above average.
In my thoughts, 'Training Day' had a great visual, such as eye
capturing cinematography, street productions and costume desighing. I
felt like there were some unnecessary close ups on the fantastic
portraits. On the other hand, the balanced cinematography was suitable
for each scene.
To Add, the title had apprpopiate music for the street theme film, for example electronic and rap smash hits. The soundtrack was played when needed.
In addition, the storyline explored youth gang coulture and corruption in communities but it could of dug into a massive picture on the criminal subject matter. The black humour made my face burst into laughter because the dialogue and body language. David Ayer did a brilliant job with the screenplay.
I am triggered to giving Antoine Fuqua's directed picture a 7/10.
OK so not a chick flick. That's for certain. One of my all time
favorites about a experienced cop that takes on a rookie for a day of
training, the twist as we soon find out is that this veteran cop seems
a little jagged. Yah let's leave it at that jagged. Not your standard
protocol blue suit version of narcotics officer.
If you have never seen this movie I envy you because you are going to go on a roller coaster of an adventure full of all the best stuff that makes for cop movies but not with the standard plot. There is no who done it. There is no damsel in distress, but instead a plot that will have you saying: "holy smokes what an awesome movie." You'll love the banter in this movie it's awesome, some of the best cop dialogue ever written. Realistic. And the delivery...well
If you are a Denzel Washington fan, it's probably a stronger performance than "Flight," although they are diametrically opposed as movies. Flight is far more internal and cerebral where as "Training Day," is unmistakeably in your face. You'll love the banter, the plot, you'll cheer for the protagonist and most of all you'll have all the popcorn you yourself when Your wife nods off to sleep.
Take care and enjoy the flick Seebs
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a review of "Street Kings", "Training Day" and "End of Watch",
three films by David Ayer.
Ayer's best film since "Harsh Times", "Street Kings" stars Keanu Reeves as Detective Tom Ludlow, a burnt out cop who spends his days dodging bullets, taking down bad guys and dealing with a corrupt law enforcement system rife with scumbags in uniform. Sounds clichéd? Ayer's film moves like magic. He captures the tone and tempo of sleazy pulp fiction, revels in the genre's trashiness, writes in a baroque, pulp-prose style and volleys dialogue back and forth like Howard Hawks on cocaine.
Ayer, who started out as a screenwriter, also has an ear for snappy noir dialogue. His characters don't talk, so much as they play ping-pong with words, prose hurtling along with staccato intensity; like drumbeats. It's trashy, but it knows it's trashy; 1950s B movie sleaze filtered through a modern prism.
The film's all hand held cameras and snappy cuts, pausing now and then only to capture noir infused, sun drenched shots of California. We get convenience store shootouts, foot-chases through LA's Latino quarter, ominous nighttime skylines and the bloody haze of downtown ghettos. In Ayer's films, California's a war zone.
The message here is also less problematic than that of Ayer's other work. Here Keanu plays your typical loose cannon of a cop. He's a modern Dirty Harry, a fascist with a badge, a ruthless authoritarian who breaks the law and shoots up punks, all in the guise of doing the "greater good". To eliminate evil, Keanu believes, you have to employ risqué tactics, perhaps even the mendaciously immoral and outright illegal. The ends justify the means. Deal with it.
Only they don't. Keanu eventually realises he's a messed up dirt-bag who's been used as a violent blunt object by both the good guys and the bad. Ticked off, this little pawn visits his king, a chubby Police Chief who's house, in a nice bit of symbolism, literally has money, drugs and blackmail tapes leaking out of its walls; the up-scale veneer can barely hold back the corruption.
Ayer also wrote the screenplay for "Training Day". Another cop thriller, it stars Denzel Washington as a vicious LAPD narcotics officer who takes an ambitious rookie (Ethan Hawke) under his wing. Washington's a criminal and crooked cop. Ethan, in contrast, is our great white hope, representative of Good, white American values, family and strong morals. Faced with the multi-ethnic criminality of both LA and Washington, Ethan opts firstly to simply walk away. Let the animals kill themselves. But Washington won't allow it. He attempts to corrupt Ethan first with marijuana and later with harder vices - before provoking him into righteous violence. Even then Ethan refuses to deliver the kill blow; its up to the people of the slums Latinos, Russians and blacks to finish off their own kind. Ethan's hands remain clean. Whilst the film's first hour is thrilling, it becomes increasingly racist and stereotypical as it progresses.
Racism and stereotypes are precisely what gush forth from Ayer's "End of Watch". The film finds actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena playing a pair of LAPD cops. They're young, macho cowboys, high on testosterone and hungry for action. Much of the film juxtaposes the goodness of our virtuous heroes, their family lives and desire for peace, family and domesticity, with the wild savagery of LA's underclass, who actively hunt our heroes and violently intrude upon their private lives. It's your typically racist Cowboys vs Indians story. Our cops are a fraternity of hazing, backslapping, well-meaning frat-boys (they shoot and kill only in legitimate self-defence; yeah right), who hold the line against the savage chaos that is the Other. It's a jungle out there, which Ayer fetishizes and salivates over, his cops finding black kids tied up in cupboards and butchered limbs hidden in basements. You can find similar scenes in early films which demonized those pesky Native American Indians; monster's gonna getcha.
As this is a millennial police drama, two generations removed from Rodney King and a bevy of other scandals, Ayer's cops are more thankless grunts than boys in blue. They're soldiers. The film, with its pseudo documentarian shaky cam aesthetic (which, bizarrely, makes the film feel manufactured and fake rather than "authentic), as a whole mirrors "Saving Private Ryan", the poster boy of modern cinematic fascism, which likewise masked bigotry, blood-lust and hatred behind patriotism and seemingly wholesome values. "Black Hawk Down" for cops, the film's a love-letter to the thin blue line, a blood-and-guts glorification of "those who keep the savages at bay", which is to say, it's total propaganda and trades in bogus mythology.
Crime films routinely demonstrate no social understanding, and routinely ignore the systemic causes of the appalling, violent conditions underprivileged minorities find themselves in. Others focus on "corrupt policemen" and "rotten apples", which itself misses the larger point that all law enforcement is systemically corrupt. The police/polis has a repressive function, its goal is to make politics disappear, for as long as there is no politics, a hierarchal distribution of power remains intact. The police, including disciplinary institutions and their various ideological components, are there to uphold the status quo and make sure that equality doesn't interfere with the hierarchal distribution of power; these social institutions are inherently inegalitarian. Today people have no problem accepting that the thin red line, the armed forces, does not act in the interest of You or Other, but it's the same with the thin blue line. Indeed, the dollar value of crime stopped by police infinitely out-weights that caused by the same. Borne of the desire of the wealthy to restructure society, to manage the urban poor and potential workforces, the law doesn't exist to prevent injustice acting upwards (the old notion that police protect the happy middle classes from the crazy, lazy lower classes), but largely to promote injustices acting downwards.
Denzel Washington puts in a bravura performance and Ethan Hawke handles
a tough role quite well, and the result is a strangely attractive movie
about a cop gone very, very bad amid a bunch of other cops also gone
Denzel is a narc and his unit is dirty, the temptations of the money and power to push everyone around being great. Denzel is a cruel, manipulative, fast-talking, smooth-talking, calculating man who knows how to con the rookie Hawke. Hawke is ambitious and Denzel uses that against him. He reinforces Hawke as a "wolf", not one of the "sheep". But Hawke's conscience is too strong for that, although tempted. Denzel is the devil of the piece. Denzel cleverly gets Hawke to smoke some strong drugs and uses that against him as a threat. He wraps Hawke in a much more sinister plot in order that he can rip off $1 million from a drug dealer and save his own skin.
Washington improvises at every turn, placing Hawke on the defensive. The critical scene occurs when Hawke participates in the drug money ripoff. Will he go for it or not? At this point, Washington has to decide whether he has succeeded in overcoming Hawke's resistance or not. His ego takes over. The pleasure of having broken the mind and conscience of Hawke takes over. Or is it a death wish? Is it his own lame conscience active? Does he see himself in Hawke when he was younger? He says so. This is one conversion to the dark side that he very much wants to make to gratify himself, because Hawke represents a challenge to him. Denzel is a man who has had his way for so long that he must get his way against this challenge. It may prove his undoing, but he must do it.
I've watched this movie twice. It does grab you, because Denzel does such a terrific job. Hawke's part is tough, because he has to be reasonably smart but also naive, affected by drugs to some extent, swept along, intimidated, confused, and hypnotized by Denzel. He manages it mostly by showing he's a street fighter and by using a suspicious look in his eyes. The role easily could have fallen apart, but it didn't.
Good use of ghetto and barrio scenes and characters, and good photography and use of locations make the movie very realistic. Harris Yulin and Tom Berenger appear in one scene as mature bad and cynical cops.
The writer, David Ayer, did a superb job.
This is my review of training day one of my favourite movies of all
time and in my opinion one of the best movies ever made.
This is the story of an up and coming beat cop (Hawke)who is striving to become a detective.
To do so he has to spend some time first with an experienced detective. (Denzel) Though as the movie progresses you discover that his highly praised mentor is not all he is made out to be.
This is hands down Denzels and Hawkes best performance followed by a very good script and solid directing. This is a must see for anyone who loves Denzel Hawke or crime dramas. See this movie
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