Old 10-24-2001, 05:03 PM
Reviews: Training Day

JoBlo's 7/10 review of TRAINING DAY can be found here: http://www.joblo.com/trainingday.htm

And what did you think of the movie? Add your comments below.


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Old 10-25-2001, 12:07 AM
Training Day 7/10...

Training Day was a tense and gritty experience. The star of the film is Denzel Washington's performance as an over the top corrupt detective showing a rookie the ropes in the slums of L.A. Washington is absolutely horrifying and viscious throughout this film. Ethan Hawke added the right touch as the young cop who means to do well, but who is overwhelmed and shocked at his partner's attitude and behaviour.
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Old 10-30-2001, 12:04 AM
Training Day 7/10.

In my opinion, Training Day is better than 15 Minutes, another cop film released this year. 15 Minutes looks more at the crimes, while Training Day looks more at the cops/detectives. Training Day is an entertaining fun popcorn film. The highlight of the film is Denzel Washington's performance. Many critics have called it Oscar worthy. I thought Washington gave his 2nd best performance, number 1 being Malcom X of course, number 3 is probably The Hurricane, then 4 is The Mighty Quinn. For me the error in the movie is that they did not go into enough depth into the situation with the money underneath that guys kitchen. Another thing I disliked was Dr. Dre's acting. Sorry Dre but you can't act. I did think Snoop did fairly well though. All in all Training Day is just a reminder of how fun a crime film can be.
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Old 11-02-2001, 11:41 PM
Sorry folks, but this film was rubbish in my opinion. 1st thing first- Movielove you have to be kidding about Washington's performance in Training Day being better than his in the Hurricane. I admit, I enjoyed this film while watching it, and liked it for a little while afterwards. But now I see how it blinded me. After I thought about this movie for a while, I came to the conclusion that there was really no purpose for this film to be made. Everything in this movie has all ready been thouroughly established in numerous other cop films. And Washington's performance is nothing special. It seems that when a star has their first evil role, its automatically regarded as one of their best. But if you really pay attentin to Washington's performance, theres truly nothing stunning about it. Its another one of those roles I hate because the character is supposed to portray a know-it-all/sarcastic/witty/mean guy. This film is just utterly forgettable, with nothing that sticks out at all except for Hawke's slightly above mediocre performance.

The scene where Hawke is supposed to kill Roger but Denzel does it for him is supposed to be shocking and bold. But the more I think of it its really a tired cliche.

And when Hawke's life is saved by him keeping the wallet of the girl and the phone call was just a bad screenwriting idea.

The ending to me was just laughable (Haha!!). All in all, a terrible film.

I'm extremely pissed that I can't put my thoughts into words very well but I hope you understand everything I tried prove here.


[This message has been edited by RicochetShaw (edited 11-02-2001).]
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Old 11-21-2001, 12:55 AM
I do agree that it's a 7/10 generally. I do think that you didn't quite get the movie as much as you should have, though, or at least not the way that I got it.

Yes it's about the nitty-gritty of getting criminals on the streets, but more than providing two opposing views as to which is correct, you get a sense that Denzel has sold out himself, long ago. More than pushing the boundaries of the law, he's done more than break them several times, as we see in the movie alone: brutalizing people, trying to have people killed, killing people, and taking money alone are things that are intentionally implied by the director to be too much over the line.

I do agree there were flaws, but I think you missed a big one and misinterpreted one that wasn't a flaw. The biggest flaw that I saw in the movie was when Denzel had beaten the crap out of Hawke's character, and he doesn't kill him. He looks at his watch and takes off, when it would've taken two seconds to shoot him with Hawke's own gun. As far as Denzel getting away when he could've easily been killed, is that everything in that neighborhood knew the Russians would kill him since he didn't have the money anyway. If they did it would bring the heat down on their neighborhood (which is what he'd been threatening them with for years). This way they got away clean. I do agree with you totally about the shower scene, where they were going to kill Ethan. But I've been thinking about it, and while I think in reality it's REALLY stretching things to say something like that would happen, I think that was the director providing a context where doing the right thing can come back around and work in your favor, that Denzel's option isn't the only way to go.

Just a couple more things. I was REALLY impressed with Denzel's performance in this movie..I think it may be his best performance ever. It reminded me of DeNiro's performance in Taxi Driver...this character is completely different from anything he's really played, and the guy does scare the hell out of you. This movie is worth seeing for his performance alone (as much as I enjoyed Hawke's performance, though you could see it was approaching his limits), and I think he's probably got the best actor oscar.

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Old 11-25-2001, 07:16 AM
TRAINING DAY isn't a very original movie, but at least it's a good one.
It really reminded me a lot of SHAFT, except it has a few things SHAFT doesn't have:

1°) Denzel Washington. A great actor showing an Academy-Award potential performance.
2°) A serious and interesing story with some kind of message.
3°) Intensity.

Add to that some good directing ideas, a solid plot (even though some clichés and plot hole are present) and a good Ethan Hawke, and you get a good movie. To my surprise, Snoop Dog wasn't too bad for the few minutes he was on the screen, but as I planned, Dr.Dre acted like a piss-headed shit. And finally, I gotta say I kinda liked the soundtrack, even though that kind of stuff isn't usually my stuff.

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Old 11-26-2001, 01:07 PM
Few styles of cinema have the potential to edify or enlighten an audience like the morality play, and fewer still have the potential to so thoroughly confound and aggravate that same audience when executed poorly. Ideally, a great example of the form ought to be ambivalent about the rightness and wrongness of the actions portrayed within, showing good in bad, and bad in good, and leaving the identity of the real villains for the viewer to decide. A poor example, on the other hand, is as half-baked (or overcooked, as circumstances warrant) as a movie can get, and will beat its good intentions and moralistic values into one's head with a ten foot-long steel baseball bat.

Unfortunately, Antoine Fuqua's Training Day is very much in this latter category. A hamfisted, strained attempt at examining the ethical mores of two police officers working the drug beat in downtown L.A. over the course of one afternoon, the Pittsburgh-bred director's junior outing is a slow and reluctant trip down the road to Half-Baked Hell, with only flashes of greatness, thoughtfulness, and deeper meaning illuminating the superficially entertaining but finally pointless descent into hackneyed suspense posturing and predictability.

Jake Hoyt (Hawke), family man and police officer of eighteen months, has just been accepted into the prestigious narcotics unit of the L.A.P.D. commanded by Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington). He and his wife Lisa (Charlotte Ayanna) are overjoyed at the appointment; working with Harris, it seems, is synonymous with success and good standing in the department. Yet not long after the two cops first meet in a run down coffee shop, the viewer begins to sense the dark clouds inexorably lurking over the horizon.

In person, Harris is everything that he is not over the phone: aloof, distant, and willfully rude to the eager-to-please rookie. Violent, as well; not twenty minutes after Hoyt picks up the tab at the diner, he's smoking a confiscated pipe full of marijuana laced with angel dust at his new boss' gunpoint. "You turn shit down on the street, and the chief brings your wife a crisply folded flag,” offers the veteran narc by way of explanation, but somehow it doesn't ring true enough to be acceptable.

Especially in light of the fact that things this fresh-faced rookie will find himself forced to do are such that one wonders why he doesn't just find himself a nice quiet desk job. Chief among the day’s varied activities: brutalizing a crippled drug dealer (Snoop Doggy Dogg, last seen in Bones) and serving a false warrant to the wife (singer Macy Gray) of another, convicted drug dealer with the purpose of seizing her money, with a few detours into on-duty drinking and mercilessly beating handcuffed perps in back alleys.

Hoyt's last straw is broken, however, when he is forced (also at gunpoint, naturally) to take the eventual credit for the gratuitous shooting of an "armed" suspect following the seizure of his funds. Jake eventually relents and accepts, but only with the same reluctance that you will have in believing any of the cheap, unconvincing mood swings and action thriller clichés trotted out in the final act, lame horses being lead to the slaughterhouse.

Training Day's problems begin with David Ayer's well-intentioned but entirely color-blind screenplay, continue with Ethan Hawke’s overly lost performance and Fuqua’s unbalanced direction, and culminate with an ending so out of place that it reeks of studio intervention. Seemingly, Ayer would like to paint this portrait of police corruption entirely out of shades of grey, where even the most innocent actions have shadowed edges and even the dirtiest deed contains a granule of goodness. This works far better in theory than in practice, however, due to Ayer’s unsubtle and frequently overstated message about the inherent evil of corrupt officers of the peace; the results are writ large in black and white, and this ultimately undermines the whole enterprise.

Antoine Fuqua’s direction contributes to the mess, as well, because he apparently isn’t sure what he wants to make: a thought-provoking urban thriller about the moral ambiguity of cops on the edge, or a kill-‘em-all action flick with frequent shoot-outs and illogical behavior. Earlier scenes are handled with the appropriate quasi-realistic grit that you’d expect from the former, but Fuqua embraces the frenzied chaos, bloodshed and ceaselessly psychopathic stupidity of the denouement with far too much zeal for the subject matter or mood.

Hawke has neither the presence nor ability pull off the role convincingly and consistently. Jake Hoyt’s played as such a timid, ironically sheepish breed of policeman for most of the running time, so much so that it becomes impossible to imagine this guy actually firing a weapon, let alone standing up to the demeaning, demanding and dehumanizing things his superior is forcing him to do. And when he does actually bare his fangs at the film’s resolution, it seems so inconsistent with his behavior up to that point that one finds himself inclined to dismiss it out of hand.

In fact, only one thing really works in the movie's favor, and it leaps out like fresh cherry Kool-Aid stains on a pristine wedding dress: Denzel Washington. As the swaggering, charismatically evil Harris, he manages to craft one of the most human, sympathetic villains in recent memory. Alonzo Harris may have crossed the line between good and evil in the line of duty so many times that the words - and the line itself - have blurred into a grey, formless lump in the corner of his soul; Washington's performance never lets us forget the horrible toll this has exacted upon the detective, and also that no matter how hard he tries Harris can't keep himself from inflicting this same damage on subordinates. It's an extraordinary achievement in a far too ordinary film, and if any justice exists in the universe he'll be richly rewarded for it in the coming months.

It is a shame that this really can't be said for the rest of the movie. Despite a veneer of depth, Training Day reveals itself to be hollow as a bullet casing by the end of the first half, and thematically-speaking about as subtle as being coshed over the head with a fifty-pound sledge for two hours.


(c) 2001 Brian Taylor.
Reprinted by permission of myself, from my own website.

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Old 04-20-2002, 09:51 PM
Maybe it's not a masterpiece, and to be honest I was surprised to see it win any awards, but I just saw it tonight and thought Denzel's acting was wonderful. Ethan Hawke is a great foil, as a green rookie who doesn't understand that the world is not black and white, but a shade of gray. I guess the ending was overdone, but it was still effective.

I also agree that Denzel's character was not unlike Travis Bickle; this guy goes further and further over the edge till he cracks. Good stuff.


[This message has been edited by Cyclonus (edited 04-20-2002).]
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Old 05-07-2002, 12:42 AM
Training Day - 6/10.

This movie whoops Denzel's other recent projects, The Hurricane & The Bone Collector, to pieces. It puts a whole new meaning to the Good Cop, Bad Cop persuasion. I thought Denzel's performance deserved a major compliment. That doesn't mean this movie was a masterpiece, it really was not that original, and was downright boring at times, but still makes a good nighttime video, and a great addition to your action movies collection.

Last edited by The1TrueFrog; 10-29-2002 at 10:10 PM..
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Old 05-26-2002, 08:40 PM
Yes this was a tense thriller. It kept me interested until the end....but I couldn't overcome one thing. How fucking unbelievable this shit was. Great acting, interesting plot, but really....COME ON!

The movie faltered for me on that part alone. I just couldn't buy the cop getting his partner high, having him watch the execution of his old partner, etc. We can play good cop/bad cop but this just went too far to remain in the realm of believability.

Otherwise it was a dark, gritty film that kept one entertained. If you can hurdle the realm of reality then it is probably quite enjoyable.

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Old 04-17-2003, 04:35 PM
training day started off as a very interesting tale of the morals of a high ranking narcotics cop, showing us a dark side to the typical hero policeman. and i was really getting into the skewed sense of the whole thing. and then suddenly, with about 35 minutes to go. i really didnt buy into the whole owing the russians money plot. i just couldnt stay attached to that. so what started well, i soon found myself growing slightly tired of.

but, on the credit sider, it was a good idea for a movie and i did enjoy. and i cannot enthuse enough about the performances of washington and hawke. utterly amazingf, totally believable chemistry

a good thriller, that started off strong,but lost its way a little. stil saved by the acting and the dialogue

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