‘Training Day’ is hardcore Denzel Washington

Our Score:
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in 'Training Day'
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in ‘Training Day’

What could be better than seeing Denzel Washington during my Christmas break?

Seeing him show up in “Training Day” driving a custom, vintage low rider Black Monte Carlo. The car that I wanted my dad to buy me when I was in High School.

“No!” was all I ever got from him. But he got himself one. Some memories are hard to forget.

Denzel takes a leap of faith and goes against the grain to play one of the most evil character that I have ever seen him portray. (Denzel began his career playing a heavy in “A Soldiers Story.”)

Washington plays Det. Alonzo Harris a buck wild cop in the narcotics division of LA. It’s hard to tell if he is working the streets of LA or if the streets are working him.


Ethan Hawke plays his partner, Jake Holt. Washington’s assignment is to train Holt to survive on the streets. Holt is a Waspy looking rookie that has wet dreams of being the next Serpico. One look at Detective Alonzo Harris and we know that Holt will never survive the day. Their personalities are the antithesis of each other. This makes for either a wonderful collaboration, or a deadly combination.

“Training Day” gives of a glimpse of both scenarios.

Okay, stop right there! Haven’t we seen this sort of picture before? Black cop/White cop, old cop/new cop, hip-hop (music) dead cop?

Well forget those other movies. It is the same formula, but video director Antoine Fuqua makes all things new again. Fuqua turns this movie into a PCP pipe and forces you to take a hit. Yes, you will inhale and enjoy all the effects that this movie makes on you.

I was glued to my seat, totally engrossed in all the smells and sounds of Crenshaw, Watts, South Central and Inglewood. Fuqua throws the mean streets of LA up in your face and you can feel all the sweat and the filth as you sit in your seat. You feel like you are in the car with Harris and Holt as they drive around and give you a view of LA you would never have the privilage of seeing. You want to duck or run for cover when the bullets start flying. You begin to wonder, “Where is your back-up?”

What makes this movie is Denzel. Do I have to say anything else? We love him, yet we despise what he is doing. Denzel makes this movie work and Ethan Hawke is the icing on the cake. At first you think that Hawke is the weaker of the two or would get lost next to Denzel’s volatile character. But the movie uses this juxtaposition to draw us into its web.

The only disappointment with this film was the ending. It was like someone said, “Okay let’s wrap this up. We are running out of film!” The movie works up until this point. There are so many unanswered questions and the audience is left feeling unsatisfied.

We are pushed into accepting the final fate of these two characters when we are just beginning to care about them.

Extra bonus: There are enough cameos in this movie, it starts to look like an MTV award show. Macy Gray, Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre round out the musical cast of misfits.

Go see this movie and see for yourself why Denzel Washington received another Oscar nomination for his portrayal of another cop that has gone in too deep. Just remember to leave all those glossy 8×10 at home with your mother. This is hardcore Denzel and he is taking you on the ride of your life.

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