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Training Day [Blu-ray]
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My doubts were dispelled the minute Denzel Washington looked up from his newspaper. It is indeed good to see Washington, one of the most gifted actors of our time, abandon the saintly martyrs he's been prone to playing for 10 years and sink his teeth into a role which allows him to show a mix of deep charisma and dangerous viciousness. That same alchemy had made his breakthrough performance in 1989's Glory amazingly compelling, and in Training Day, there isn't a single moment where Washington is less than completely absorbing. Ethan Hawke also gives the performance of his career as Jake Hoyt, an idealistic but easily swayed young cop who finds himself drawn into a web of corruption, violence, and twisted morals.
Fuqua's directing is still overly stylish at times, but after a hyperactive first act, the film begins to roar. David Ayer's script is dazzling, a combination of rat-a-tat street vernacular and relentless forward momentum, and after the midpoint of the movie, the intensity of the scenes would reach incredible levels. And that's when Fuqua's show-offy camerawork finds a raison d'etre. In this film, Fuqua even finds room for some comparatively simple scenes which are really like a breath of fresh air to his filmmaking -- for example, the "you're a leader" car scene, and that beautifully understated ending shot. I hope he makes this part of his regular style, because there's only so much virtuoso camera one can take before it gets tiring, as is the case in the opening of the film.
A white-knuckle thriller, well worthy of the accolades it received. I stand humbly corrected on my original predictions.
One at a time.
I believe this movie is realistic in all aspects dealing with the situations on the street. There are vicious people who's kill you just as soon as look at you. People who are out to get your money and your livelihood. People out to take your heart, sometimes literally. I believe that there are no clear-cut right or wrong answers out on the street. You just have to stick to some basic code of conduct and hope everything works itself out. I believe that not all cops are the knights-in-shining-armor people would like them to be in this post-September 11th world. That's probably not the most fashionable thing to say right now, but that's what I believe. I believe that mostly good and decent men can be corrupted by that sense of power and authority. And since my father was a cop in West Philly for 20 years, I have a pretty fair basis for my beliefs.
Whether Denzel's performance was Oscar-worthy or not... I don't put much stock in the Academy Awards myself. Usually, the Academy's criteria and mine differ a great deal. But they are supposed to reward people for excellence in film, and on that basis, Denzel certainly did deserve it. You could see the subtle shifts in Alonzo's character from scene to scene. Now, I didn't believe the character was stereotypical.Read more ›
Kudos also to Ethan Hawke for a great performance and a well-deserved Supporting Actor Oscar nod this year. Any young actor who can hang with the likes of Denzel Washington in a film like this DESERVES recognition. Hawke proves that he has a stellar film career ahead of him.
The Academy Awards telecast is March 24, and my money is on both these tremendous performers to come away with well-deserved Oscar gold. TRAINING DAY is a film with no special effects, no colorful cinematography, and no Picasso-esque art direction - just a movie that slaps you upside the hide from start to finish, with two powerhouse performances that stay with you long after the closing credits.
Which brings me to "Training Day", in which Denzel Washington delivers an astonishingly good performance as a totally corrupt and evil L.A. cop. The fact that an African-American leading man is portrayed as the "bad guy" is truly groundbreaking, and just another reason to look at this film and be in awe of it. In the same strange twist as the stock broker, here we see a black cop who has all the doors of sin open to him. Like the white cops of the Jim Crow South, he takes to corruption in a way that has no skin color. It is the story of humanity, temptation and power.
Blacks on film have for a number of years now been shown either one way or the other. There is no shortage of depictions of black drug dealers, gangbangers and "homies." Hollywood then tries to make up for it by portraying blacks as doctors, lawyers, voices of conscience or reason, and the most frequent stereotype, the "tough but fair police commander."
The negative portrayals of blacks, however, were never played by big name actors. Washington himself has built a career as a guy more or less saving the world in "Crimson Tide" and "Fallen". His flaws in "Ricochet" are brought out only by a vindictive white man (John Lithgow). In "Training Day", Denzel is all on his charismatic own, a product of a world that he is convinced revolves around him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome classic. Not exactly a 'family' movie. My 9yr old wasn't interested. My tween-age boys loved it.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Just a great film all around. An exquisite performance by Denzell Washington. He alone is worth watching.Published 18 days ago by Justin Krenselewski
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