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Overall Rating
3.49

Awesome: 26.78%
Worth A Look30.05%
Just Average: 19.67%
Pretty Crappy: 12.57%
Sucks: 10.93%

11 reviews, 117 user ratings


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Training Day
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by MP Bartley

"Get this. A thriller that thrills."
4 stars

One of the current plague of movies that I find most annoying is the 'buddy' movie. You know the kind I mean, two mis-matched cops; one a wild-card, the other a by-the-book kind of guy; who despite their differences unite with 'hilarious' results. This, thankfully, is the flipside of that little genre and occasionally gets as nasty as they come.

'Training Day' is the one day that LA cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) gets a chance to ride with the narcotics department, under the supervision of Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). From the outset it becomes clear that Harris is in no mood to make this is an easy day for Hoyt. He humiliates him in a restaurant for interrupting his daily read of the papers. He berates him for his lack of street knowledge, and he shows him that on the streets, justice isn't always legal.

'Training Day' is a film that falls neatly into two parts. In the first part, Harris and Hoyt cruise the streets, Harris imparting his wisdom onto Hoyt in return for testing how far Hoyts moral fibre will stretch. He makes Hoyt smoke cannabis laced with pcp, but makes the very good point of how can Hoyt work in the extremely dangerous field of narcotics if he doesn't have the first clue of what narcotics are like? How indeed.

Harris knocks criminals to the floor and gives them a beating they'll never forget before leaving them to wipe each other out. As he points out to the frustated, justice seeking Hoyt, it'll be a lot more effective than a night in cells.

The first half of the film is easily the best. The skill of the writing, direction and acting leave you in an ambigious moral field. Yes, the things Harris does are morally and legally wrong, but if they cut crime and keep the dealers and gangsters off the streets it's worth it surely? Every time Hoyt tries to intervene he usually makes things worse or fails woefully.

I've never been to LA so I can't tell how accurate this portrayal is of a city on the edge and a hopelessly lost police force. But it sure seems it. Director Antoine Fuqua, keeps a fine line between the cinematic seediness of 'LA Confidential' and the documentary harshness of 'NYPD Blue'. LA is shot in acid haze of heat that keeps the audience uncomfortable and on their seats, while alluding to the whole ambiguity of the situation.

Fuqua is a director who is unlikely to be one of the greats. But I firmly believe that every director has one great film within them if they grasp with both hands (well, maybe not Simon West) and this is Fuqua's opportunity. And he runs with it, making what could be a run of the mill film a tense two hander.

However he can't prevent the second half tipping into some theatrics. It's at the half-way point that we learn that Harris is more than a rogue cop and is setting Hoyt up to cover his past indiscretions. It's at this point that the character focus shifts from Harris to Hoyt and how he uses his newly-gained street knowledge to extricate himself from the situation he's been thrown in. This is a far more familiar situation of good-versus-bad guy and Fuqua doesn't quite pull it off like he does the first part. There's one twist in particular that stunk and had me going 'Oh please...' and you'll know it when you see it. It's bad, but not so bad that it ruins everything gone before.


As well as Fuqua, plaudits should also be given to the two leads. Hawke is at a career best here (not saying much I know) and does a good job showing a cop visibly toughing up as the film progresses. It's not unlike Costner's transformation as Elliot Ness in 'The Untouchables'. Indeed, 'Traing Day' could be described as the dark flipside of the Costner-Connery relationship from that film.

But as his fifth Oscar nomination shows,this is Denzel's show. He's surely been crying out for a truly villanious role after portraying a seemingly endless role of hard-done-by heroes (The Hurricane, Cry Freedom etc) and here he gets it. In 'Fallen' for example, Washington hinted a darker side to his craft and given the chance to let it out to play here, he takes it with both hands.

In a part that would normally go to Snipes, Washington just burns the screen as Harris. Effortlessly capturing the characters intelligence and danger he convinces the audience as one of the nastiest cops in a long while. But as only a truly great actor can he always leaves the audience with a sneaking suspicion that his way of dealing with the criminals is right. It's the kind of turn that can re-define careers. With enough jewellery to bankrupt Death Row records and a brilliantly un-pc turn of phrase (he christens Hoyt 'My nigger' and asks if he still fucks his wife face-to-face), Washington gives us the kind of morally-suspect hero/villain we haven't had for a long time.

Unfortunatley the script doesn't have the heart of it's nasty convictions, and loses its nerve towards the end for a more routine showdown. For all it's shade of grey previously, it ends dissapointingly black-and-white. But thanks to some terrific directing and acting, 'Training Day' more than passes the test.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4753&reviewer=293
originally posted: 03/16/02 12:20:13
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell good bad cop good cop movie 4 stars
10/29/13 The Big D Stink, Stank, Stunk! Tries so hard to be street tough that it comes off as fakey! 1 stars
11/23/10 Jeff Wilder Standard issue good/bad cop. But Washington's performance alone makes it worth seeing. 4 stars
7/12/09 JR Denzel as evil rabid cop? Ooooo. Oscar...Gimmee Gimmee!! 2 stars
11/08/08 Grant Amazing...Fuck the haters 5 stars
8/18/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
5/27/08 PAUL SHORTT EXTREMELY VIOLENT AND NOT VERY PLAUSIBLE 1 stars
3/07/08 Pamela White crafty corrupt cop with twisted ending 4 stars
3/02/08 ladavies Denzels's best performance to date. He makes a scary bad guy. 5 stars
5/27/07 Double M King Kong ain't got shit on Denzel.. 5 stars
3/21/07 JJ A film to think about, terrific performances from both lead roles 5 stars
1/01/07 kitfo plot holes and unnecessary fight scene mar what would otherwise be a great film. 4 stars
12/02/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good 4 stars
11/14/06 Charles R.L.Power Depressingly stupid, unconvincing -- this got Denzel his Oscar? 1 stars
7/14/06 Anthony G Good film, denzel can play a thug nig pretty well. 4 stars
5/15/06 bmac great movie by the best ever (denzel) period 5 stars
4/12/06 KK it wasn't that bad! 4 stars
10/06/05 Wisamane Only people with good tastes for movies will like this one. I thought it was Incredible 5 stars
8/22/05 ES Fun, nothing you could believe was the real 'mean streets' but a decent flick 4 stars
7/26/05 Indrid Cold This is the electrifying Denzel everybody loves. Plot and other characters are just decent. 4 stars
12/27/04 mjoc Overrated formula film 3 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams good movie but I was waiting for it to fucking END! 4 stars
11/19/04 blah fuck off 3 stars
11/19/04 Bobby Lynn one of my favorites 5 stars
9/06/04 Nadine Arango Any 1 from the streets knows this is real 4 anyone who isn't this is the closest you'll get 5 stars
8/02/04 Anthony G spank my ass and call me a bitch 1 stars
4/13/04 Gobsmack Fascinating and brilliant. Denzel deserves 2 Oscars. 5 stars
4/13/04 beem put ya hands on ya chest! 5 stars
4/03/04 R.W. Welch Far-fetched bad cop flick is salvaged by top drawer performances all round. 4 stars
3/29/04 y2mckay Formulaic and contrived at times, but still intense. Denzel was as good as the hype. 4 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Not as good as they say 3 stars
1/20/04 tatum Expert direction, but the film gets tedious and unbelievable as it progresses 3 stars
1/19/04 hjrjkkl Somewhat predictable, but riveting nevertheless. 4 stars
1/07/04 A F Denzel ain't got shit on King Kong. 4 stars
10/01/03 Jinnvisible hollywood found the formula again ? never had it first place..well acted /directed 4 stars
9/21/03 kill quacky i bet you enjoy watching your mom and dad fuck when your under the bed 5 stars
8/18/03 AD liked it but got farfeted 5 stars
7/15/03 Rose Joslin Powerful performance by Denzel Washington, excellent flick! 5 stars
6/26/03 cochese Denzel won an OSCAR for this? Children, can you say "racially motivated", I knew you could. 2 stars
5/31/03 francis Plot deficiencies and I find Mr Hawke unsuitable for this type of role 3 stars
5/26/03 Andrew One of the best movies I've seen in awhile. 5 stars
5/11/03 Jack Bourbon Awesome pop movie. Hawke's first non-embarassment, and Denzel was great. 5 stars
4/30/03 Andrew Carden Hawke Is Good, but The Film Is So Far-Fetched and Blah... 2 stars
4/16/03 charlene henderson good movie 5 stars
4/09/03 Ash This movie sucks 1 stars
3/22/03 Dave This is wank. I've seen more convincing performances from the Power Rangers than Denzel. 1 stars
2/13/03 Sean Horan The ending, IMHO, was not justified, but the rest of the movie is definitely worth watching 4 stars
2/08/03 Jake Mikyre The mexicans let him live out of respect...its a known fact 5 stars
2/04/03 Go Denzel Denzel Washington's performance is amazing, and worth renting the movie for. Entertaining. 4 stars
1/22/03 Monster W. Kung A very good thriller, with a somewhat disappointing ending. 4 stars
1/12/03 Goofy Maxwell Alonzo vs. King Kong: Kong made 'em wring their hands, 'Zo makes 'em sh** their pants. 4 stars
12/12/02 and bullshit its a good movie 4 stars
11/07/02 bishop you fuckers wouldn't notice a great movie if it shot you in the ass. 5 stars
11/07/02 The Talking Elbow Fantastic movie of good vs. evil. Ethans char is a poor schmuck with a whole lot of valor. 5 stars
10/23/02 Jim Washington vs. Hawke ... should be an overmatch, but isn't. 4 stars
8/23/02 Sully can't figure out what everyone is complaining about...killer flick, top-notch acting... 5 stars
8/03/02 KMG DEFINITELY INTERESTING 4 stars
8/03/02 Edler Thought that I'd hate it, but it was awesome! 5 stars
7/23/02 plop great 5 stars
7/22/02 ! sdjfsdkjf denzel didnt really wreck it... He won an oscar with it........... 4 stars
7/20/02 sdjfsdkjf what a pile of horseshit. Denzel yet again manages to wreck another film. Boooooring! 1 stars
7/09/02 Bada Bing Crosby YAY! He can overact like his white counterparts, lets over-react w/an Oscar? What shite 1 stars
5/20/02 Phil M. Aficiando First 1/3 good; middle average; by the end, a dud, dude. Pointless pap. 2 stars
4/30/02 Phoenix Terrific action entertainment. Denzel was the shit. 5 stars
4/10/02 George Partington Boring, boring, boring. Denzel bad. Ethan good. Even one interesting idea woulda been nice. 2 stars
4/08/02 special K average, nothing new. certainly not oscar-worthy 3 stars
4/07/02 stoolie-bird that jeff lecky dude sums it up perfect.... 2 stars
4/07/02 Jeff Lecky Saw it twice, the 2nd time because I forgot I saw it... nothing special here! 1 stars
4/07/02 lauren mccreight simply a collection of scenes from much better cop movies.....been there done that.... 3 stars
4/06/02 Dave MacDougall nothing new here...so average it hurts... 2 stars
4/02/02 Mo Anand Denzel and Ethan give strong performances, however the story gets a little weird. 4 stars
3/30/02 Film Guy BOOM 5 stars
3/29/02 Butterbean Denzel should have won for MalcomX. He annoyingly overacts here. 3 stars
3/28/02 Denzel Washingotn fan in mourning Denzel should have rejected role and not robbed better amd more important acting of Oscar! 2 stars
3/27/02 Spyguy2 Better than expected, Great DW performance, overkill ending overstayed it's welcome 4 stars
3/26/02 FrayLo word, ...a dark movie, but quite entertaining 5 stars
3/26/02 Incubator It`s all about russians 4 stars
3/26/02 Girl 9 Just awesome 5 stars
3/25/02 Paco My nigga 5 stars
3/25/02 Jessica Davis (fan of Denzel Washington when he's good) Washington's worst role ever - braindead selection over Penn Crowe or Smith. MPAA EATS SHIT 1 stars
3/25/02 Natalie Stonecipher Excellent adtor Denzel Washington really hast be motherfuckin' bad to win an Oscar! 1 stars
3/22/02 The Bomb 69 a bit overrated but the performances were above the storyline 4 stars
3/13/02 Janus the Anus Not terribly original, but well-made. Denzel and Ethan both performed well. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
3/08/02 Ozmy Zuniga Denzel Washington is the man!!!!! 5 stars
3/06/02 Art Wright I can't believe some of the negative comments-this jammie was Fuckin' On! 5 stars
2/16/02 malcolm denzel -- incredible as usual. not your father's cop movie 4 stars
2/13/02 The Flaming Chancehead THIS IS THE WORST FUCKIN' MOVIE IN THE UNIVERSE! ETHAN SHOULD BE SHOT IN THE FACE! 1 stars
1/19/02 stryper rocks lots of mindless violence 3 stars
1/15/02 David A. Stink, Stank, Stunk!!! 1 stars
1/05/02 The Man Tense, awesome. One of Denzel's best performances. Only end slightly unbelievable 5 stars
12/12/01 Jason Szabo Action packed, with great acting from Washington and Hawke 4 stars
12/11/01 Jimbo Disappointing despite Den's effort. Good cop/Bad cop thing os too predictable. 3 stars
12/06/01 Tanya Predictable and misogynistic - female characters were poorly written props for the men 2 stars
11/16/01 Riza very good!!!! lots of action 5 stars
11/14/01 j man denzel was great 5 stars
11/11/01 Tyrone Knight I loved it!! Denzel's part was electrifying enough to make the movie shine 5 stars
11/11/01 gavel not having seen the movie i already know that this will be avaerage with Denzel striving tr 2 stars
11/09/01 jawsboy pretty fuckin awesome with only a couple of bad scenes. great performances and direction. 4 stars
11/01/01 Gay Tooth Fairy Great fucking acting Denzel. 5 stars
10/31/01 kelly it was good 5 stars
10/31/01 Obi Wan Denzel did his thing as always, but the flick was too predictable and very generic! 3 stars
10/27/01 Fish Eye Denzel is awesome. But the ending was a little forced. Still a good movie though. 4 stars
10/25/01 derek deems not bad, but a few key moments destroy what the film works an hour and a half to build 4 stars
10/23/01 spaceworm A real shame that half way through they welded a plot on this promising character study. 3 stars
10/22/01 The Alter Ego DENZEL WASHINGTON IS THE BADDEST MOTHERFUCKER ALIVE!!! 5 stars
10/21/01 Gary Hawkins Compelling peice. Crisply depicted and so so real. 5 stars
10/21/01 Bil Jee Very stupid plot; Denzel over the top. Why would his char expose everything to a newbie? 1 stars
10/17/01 Carlos Mohammed Hard core along the lines of Boyz n' The Hood, New Jack City, and Menace To Society. 5 stars
10/15/01 Del I thought it was good...Denzel was amazing as usual. Snoop Dogg had a surprising role. 4 stars
10/15/01 Jeff Semlow Denzel gives the best performance of the year. He may have been over the top, but still ve 5 stars
10/15/01 malcolm good to see Denzel do something else besides the smooth charmer 4 stars
10/14/01 Schmidty72 The best performance of Denzel's career. 5 stars
10/14/01 Geebo An amazing film. Extremely intense and well-acted by both of the stars. 5 stars
10/13/01 Shaun L Harris Realisticly Unsettling and Intense 5 stars
10/11/01 Eth'mae Not a slow moment. Intense and well acted. 4 stars
10/07/01 Axe Murderer too violent?............you too weak yowza....go watch spy kids or domething 4 stars
10/06/01 Yowza Too violent, story weak, way too bleak for my liking. Great acting, but still depressing. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Oct-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Nov-2001


Directed by
  Antoine Fuqua

Written by
  David Ayer

Cast
  Denzel Washington
  Ethan Hawke
  Tom Berenger
  Snoop Dogg
  Dr. Dre
  Scott Glenn



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