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Training Day
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Arrow
Training Day order
Director:
Antoine Fuqua

Actors:
Denzel Washington
Ethan Hawke
Scott Glenn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Rookie idealistic officer Jake (Hawk) is in for a wake-up call when he’s promoted to a special narcotics task force and spends the day with charismatic, unorthodox and somewhat crooked tough guy Alonzo (Washington). It’s going to be a hard ass day!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This well written, engaging, well-shot and highly entertaining cop drama had me by the jewels the whole way and wouldn’t let up. Now I’ve seen my fair share of inner-city flicks, but none of them ever communicated the menacing/sad vibe of the hood as efficiently as this baby. I wouldn’t last an hour, yet alone a day in that neighborhood! From a narrative standpoint, the movie asks a lot of ethical questions but never really gives us the answers, allowing each of us to make up our own minds on what’s right and what’s wrong. The first hour and a half had me pondering everything, especially in regards to Alonzo’s dubious actions. I never knew where I stood with the dude! Performance-wise, this flick is spot-on. Denzel had me riveted to the screen. What an astounding show! It was groovy to see him play an edgier character as opposed to his usual righteous roles. As for Ethan Hawke, he takes what could’ve been a very boring part and gives it depth via subtlety and an undercurrent dark streak. Both actors work wonderfully together and are thankfully, the core of the film.

On the directing front, Fuqua successfully captures the beauty and the ugliness of his urban setting. He knows exactly when to inject a specific scene with the right amount of style and when to play it down and let the dialogue tell the story. He’s also bang-on when it comes to generating tension. That "Jack/Hispanic gang members poker game" scene had me biting my fingers off. On a negative standpoint, I did feel that the last third of the film became a bit too obvious. What was once dipped in shades of grey became black and white. Don’t get me wrong, the "wham-bang" finale had me going, but it just felt like the easy way out considering how the film had built its story. There’s also a very convenient “coincidence” that saves one character from certain doom. Considering all the folks that live in this city, I had a bit of trouble buying that. But the power of the overall scene in question made me forgive that bit of lazy screenwriting. When the credits rolled, I had no problem saying: Training Day is the real “brutal” thing. Not only does it deliver gripping action sequences, a hard hitting hip hop soundtrack, able directing, flawless performances, competent supporting cast (Scott Glenn, Snoop, Dre, Macy Gray) and a strong screenplay, but it also makes you think...and that’s always a good thing.
THE EXTRAS
Antoine Fuqua Commentary: Fuqua covers everything. From the symbolism in the film, to how he felt working with his top-notch cast. He even goes deep on us by addressing how he felt filming in the hood and the inspiration he hoped that he gave to the people who lived there. The commentary does have some more quiet times but Fuqua is a very interesting man to listen to and having the commentary be so personal, made it more compelling.

The Making Of Training Day (15 minutes): This slick "making of" has Denzel and Ethan talking about their respective roles and the themes of the film. We get to see some on-set footage, Jeffrey Silver (Producer) talking about what attracted him to the film, David Ayer (screenwriter) giving his two cents and Antoine Fuqua (director) telling us how it felt to work with his cast, what he wanted to communicate with the picture and how shooting in the real hood went down. Overall, a very kool capsule.

Additional Scenes (12 minutes): Here we get a montage of deleted scenes. It goes something like this (my descriptions): Alonzo and Jack riding around, Alonzo gives him a lesson about using the CB radio -- Alonzo hitting on some fine Spanish chicks (hilarious) and asking about Jack’s roots -- Alonzo and Jack riding and talking shop, Alonzo eventually goes into a poignant monologue about what almost made him quit the force -- Alonzo and Jack talking about their women -- Jack talking to a gang banger -- Jack taking the bus. Some of the scenes are very strong (the Alonzo monologue is a great example), and it's too bad that they had to be cut. On the downside, a director commentary explaining WHY the scenes were cut out would have been nice.

Alternate Ending (4 minutes): We get one alternate ending to the film. It’s fairly similar to the one in the Theatrical Cut except that Jack meets up with those high ranked, suited cops before going home. It’s ok, nothing special.

We also get the Theatrical Trailer, a Cast and Crew Bio and two Music Videos (“#1” by Nelly and “Got You” by Pharahe Monch) .

The DVD is of top quality and there are enough kool extras here to please.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A solid film and a solid DVD. If exciting/layered performances, slick directing, a script that offers substance with its kool action and Denzel sinking his teeth into a very nuanced part doesn’t wet your pallet, I don’t know what will! Films of this caliber don’t come around everyday, I recommend you sign up and get ready for your Training Day. I warn you though...it’s going to get ugly! “Do you want to go to jail, or do you want to go home”?
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