Training Day is a gritty and violent crime story put to film. Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for his role as the corrupt, veteran Los Angeles cop, Alonzo. Ethan Hawke was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the rookie cop who spends Training Day with Denzel.
The film is violent and compulsively watchable.
Excerpted from New York Times review – Elvis Mitchell 10.5.2001
What makes ”Training Day” notable is Denzel Washington’s performance. His portrayal is a parody of movie star misbehavior. Alonzo knows exactly how large he looms in the world and can puff himself up to blot out the sun. He smiles, cajoles and threatens all in the same sentence, and Mr. Washington can use even his smile as a weapon. He seldom smiles much in his performances, though; the characters he plays are rarely satisfied with themselves enough to let happiness peek through more than occasionally.
And he hasn’t been this relaxed on screen since his debut in the dented social comedy ”Carbon Copy,” playing the illegitimate son of a white businessman (George Segal) who has caught up with his acquisitive, benignly racist father to teach him a lesson. The world was already bored with this lesson by 1981, when ”Carbon Copy” was released, but Mr. Washington had a jauntiness that was simultaneously brooding and loose-limbed. It was one of the few times he got to play outright comedy. In ”Training Day,” he jumps at the chance to get jaw-dropping laughs out of many of Alonzo’s lines.
In ”Training Day,” Mr. Washington’s dry-ice grandeur — the predator’s reflexes contrasting with a pensive mouth — deserves regard, and his powerhouse virtuosity will almost guarantee him an Oscar nomination. He and Director Antoine Fuqua want to use ”Training Day” to serve notice that they’re ready for something new. Maybe they’ll get it the next time around.
”Training Day” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for the kind of strong language, drug use, sexual situations and violence — including an attempted rape — often seen in cautionary tales.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua; written by David Ayer; director of photography, Mauro Fiore; edited by Conrad Buff; music by Mark Mancina; production designer, Naomi Shohan; produced by Jeffrey Silver and Bobby Newmeyer; released by Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 120 minutes. This film is rated R.
WITH: Denzel Washington (Alonzo Harris), Ethan Hawke (Jake Hoyt), Scott Glenn (Roger), Macy Gray (Sandman’s Wife), Tom Berenger (Stan), Cliff Curtis (Smiley), Dr. Dre (Paul) and Snoop Dogg (Sammy).