Training Day

Review Date:
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: David Ayer
Producers: Robert Newmyer, Jeffrey Silver
Denzel Washington
Ethan Hawke
Scott Glenn
This movie takes place over one day. It’s a rookie cop’s narcotics training alongside a seasoned police veteran. The rookie doesn’t know much about “street justice”, so the older cop teaches him about the way things work in the “real world”. How even cops like themselves have to “bend the rules” and “break the law” every now and then, in order to catch the really bad guys.
A pretty intense little movie with solid acting across the board, some ups, some downs and a thrilling ending, despite a couple of small flaws. I really enjoyed this movie because it followed two extreme characters and put them in situations which had me wondering about what I would do if I were in their place. The film gets right into the “dirty” side of, well…the dirt on the streets, and proceeds to teach the rookie cop (and us, the audience) how things really work down there. Of course, we’re receiving this lesson from a man who has put away a lot of scum in his time, but the things he seems to be doing aren’t exactly on the up-and-up either. And therein, lies the fun of the film. Do you agree that you yourself would need to break a few small laws in order to put away the people who break the really big ones? Well, as the film moves along, we’re given two points of view in respect to this predicament, and to me, both sides made sense at some point or another. And you gotta give a lot of credit to the screenplay for that, the director, who builds the film up wonderfully (with the darkness of the day leading to the darkness in the script) and the two actors who deliver their parts in spades. Hawke, first off, because he rarely plays these “commercial” roles but does so perfectly here, with a vulnerable side which has you feeling for the bastard right off the top.

And Denzel, well, what can you say about Mr. Washington that hasn’t already been said before? He comes through as per his usual high-level style here, and gives the audience a completely different side to his talent, of which, I personally would like to see more. He’s nice, he’s not so nice, he’s smart, he’s not so smart, he’s caring and he’s a dog all the way. The few problems that I did have with this film included the redundant nature of the whole thing at some point (okay, we get it…you have to be nasty in order to deal with these nasty people…move on) and this one really major “coincidence” which involved a bathtub, that saved the day for one character, but seemed a little too “convenient” for my taste. I also never really understood how Washington’s character got out of a certain dire predicament, only to be seen driving his car in the very next scene. But obviously these small flaws didn’t taint my overall enjoyment of this tense drama, a film that gets you right into the streets, into the nooks and the crannies, and into the moral dilemma which lies between the justice system and the day-to-day drug busts. See it if you want to wrestle with some of these issues yourself, see it if you want to see Denzel and Ethan strike up a palpable chemistry on-screen, and see it if you like holding on to your seat-handles real tight during a movie. In fact, see it for the scene in which Ethan Hawke plays cards with a host of gang-bangers alone…dang, now that’s intense!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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