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A powerhouse performance by Denzel Washington fuels this brutal urban police drama, in which a rookie narcotics cop learns the hard way that even good cops can go very, very bad. Washington plays veteran detective Alonzo Harris, a self-proclaimed "wolf among wolves," eager to teach his rookie partner Jake (Ethan Hawke) that normal rules don't apply on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Caught in a web of deception, Jake watches with escalating horror as Alonzo uses his badge (and the support of his superiors) to justify a self-righteous policy of corruption. In stark contrast to most of his previous work, Denzel unleashes his dark side with fearlessness and fury, and the result is excellence without compromise. Director Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers) won't score any points for subtlety, but gritty details (including actual L.A. gang members as extras) and Hawke's finely tuned performance are perfectly matched to Washington's frightening volatility. --Jeff Shannon
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But, if you are a fan of Director Antoine Fuqua and/or have seen TRAINING DAY this should be an easy buy, The commentary by Fuqua is a good one, informing us that the "Jungle" of rough urban, L.A neighborhoods were, basically, gang infested and almost all extras from the "jungle" lived in that neighborhood. It could be dangerous to film at night, so, Director Fuqua was assured safety by "local" boys Bone, Sniper, and Blaster.
They were true to their word.
But, check this one out (again) even if (I agree) the finale fight gets a little carried away. There are so many good scenes in this action, head games, police corruption movie. I still laugh at the 3 Wise Men 'story' about the judge hoodwinked by peanut butter; and, damn, that scene with the Latinos (Cliff Curtis, Raymond Cruz...) one of the most intense confrontations I have ever seen on film.
This is cool, (mostly) realistic, police action movie -- with that Russian back story 'hanging' over the proceedings.
For lack of a better word: Awesome.
There are also 2 music videos (Nelly and Pharoahe Monch) as well as Deleted scenes and an Alternate Ending. The alternate ending was worth thinking about.
The Making of Training Day also contains some interviews and recollections from all the main cast and crew including Denzel, Ethan Hawke, and director Fuqua himself. A solid 25 minutes of insights and the prerequisite compliments for one another that do seem sincere (especially for Denzel who won an Oscar for his performance).
Washington's Alonzo Harris is a soul beyond redemption. He is corrupt, brutal and without remorse as a law enforcer who takes a sinister joy in breaking every law he is supposed to uphold.
Enter Jake Hoyt, a blank slate that Alonzo is fully prepared to deface. Ethan Hawke (much under appreciated in his career, IMHO) portrays the conflicted rookie as walking carefully on a tight rope between good and evil. He's enthralled at first by Washington's character and part of the plot device of Training Day is the question of whether the rookie will fall.
Outstanding performances by both Hawke and Washington. Both men were not reluctant to visit the dark side.