Training Day (2001) Movie Review

By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –

Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is starting his first day on the job with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Vice Division and is partnered with Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington), a tough detective who isn’t what he appears. Hoyt goes though a 24-hour training period where he is put through the ringer and is set up by Alonzo, who has an ulterior motive to this training day with Officer Hoyt.

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A Toast

Denzel Washington easily earns his Oscar in his turn as Det. Alonzo Harris. Until this film Denzel had really only played good guys, which he is great at. However, no one knew that Denzel could play such a convincing and evil bad guy. It’s like when Tom Cruise was in Collateral and played a sociopathic hit man. It was so unlike his past character choices and yet it seemed like Tom was born to play the role, just like Denzel here. We love when great actors go against their typecasting and knock it out of the park, and he does, easily earning his Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt is just as good, playing the newbie who just wants to get his foot in the door and will do anything to get it in, even if it seems questionable or even illegal. Hawke holds his own opposite Washington and their ability to play off of each other makes the film feel very real.

Not only does the acting that makes this film feel real, but the writing is brilliant. David Ayer has had some fumbles as of recent with Sabotage and Suicide Squad (even though I didn’t think the latter was so bad). However, End of Watch was highly underrated and Fury was well received. I still like to keep my eye out for the next David Ayer project. Not only is the writing great, but Antoine Fuqua was an excellent choice for director. Fuqua has such an eye for making a gritty and real film; however sometimes it can be a little heavy handed, like The Equalizer or Olympus Has Fallen. David Ayer’s writing and Antoine Fuqua’s directing is the perfect combination for a brutal, gritty, and intelligent film.

This film at times is brutal to watch, and at times it’s a little exaggerated, but it painstakingly captures the realness of the drug world and the sometimes corrupt cops that abuse their power. Not every corrupt cop is killing men and taking their 4 million dollars, a film is always going to dramatize things, but this film has a very real feel which his why this film is so good, along with the acting. This film can be tough to watch sometimes but will totally pay off in the end.

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I would love to have that car.

Beer Two

SPOILER ALERT

My big problem with this film is how it’s so convenient that Hoyt saves the Latino gangsters niece earlier in the day and kept her wallet. Smiley happens to come across it just before he’s going to kill Hoyt. Then Smiley calls his niece and confirms that Hoyt did save her from being sexually assaulted. So Smiley gives Hoyt a pass and decides to not kill him. Now if that isn’t divine intervention I don’t know what is.

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Verdict

Even though the film decides to use divine intervention to save its “hero”, Training Day is an excellently acted, written, directed, and all around well-made film. Denzel Washington gives one of the best performances of his career and Ethan Hawke holds his own as the newbie. Antoine Fuqua was the perfect director for this type of film, and David Ayers’ writing is simply brilliant.

3beers

Training Day (2001) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Alonzo does something sketchy or illegal.

Do a Shot: every time someone is shot.

Take a Drink: every time we see Alonzo’s sick 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo

Finish your Drink: if King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on you either.

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