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Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) is a 13 year vet of the street wars of crime riddled Los Angeles, a narcs officer who has developed his own way of handling the crims on his beat. When rookie wanna be narcs cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is assigned to spend his probationary training day with Alonzo, Jake is put through the toughest hoops and the most confronting scenarios. Alonzo stretches the notions of law enforcement to reflect his own picture of the crooked world, and he demands nothing less than total and blind loyalty from the rookie. The price is eternal salvation or damnation and damned if Jake knows which comes first.

Right up until the final reel, Training Day has the makings of a film of lasting value. Denzel Washington’s performance is enough to make us almost believe that bad is good, that the ends do justify the means, and that his corrupt sense of justice is the only way to win the war on crime. And that he’s not amoral, just badly misguided, corrupted by his environment. Right up ‘till then, the film carries its action drama credentials in a powerpack of genuine issues and we are confronted with our own choices. Makes you think, even though the theme is hardly novel, because it’s done so well. It’s American filmmaking prowess in full flight, with every detail executed with the top talent that money can buy. But then comes the crunch and the script wimps out. We get the predictable duel between the good cop and the bad cop, leading to other errors of writing judgement. What I expect from a film like this – and from creative teams like this – is not another gunfight at the OK Corral, but something that respects our intelligence and those of the characters they have created. Instead of a stand off with guns, I want to see a stand off that plays off integrity not a trigger finger.
Andrew L. Urban

A hard-hitting edgy drama about life and police corruption on the streets, Training Day grabs our attention from the outset and hangs onto it tightly throughout its confronting story. This is a tale about honesty, ethics and standing up for what you believe in. The depiction of life on the streets, in and out of the law is a real eye-opener and totally credible. It's the story of two men: the charismatic cop who becomes so sure of himself that he twists the rules believing he's invincible and the young rookie who wants to make a difference. Washington and Hawke make a good pair – Washington forceful, enigmatic and commanding in this role which embraces the dark side. We are drawn to Alonzo, but it's a push pull relationship. Like Jake, we want to trust him but it's a tumultuous ride. 'You're in the office, boy' Washington retorts, diamond stud in his left ear, ostentatious heavy silver chains round his neck and wrists, as the two screech off in the midnight blue custom built 1978 Monte Carlo low rider complete with sunroof and referred to as their 'G-ride'. The game is survival, and it becomes clear very quickly that there's more to working the streets than a wish for justice. It's a dense film with disturbing themes and scenes, strongly directed. In many ways the plot is like a mystery thriller, in that we are never sure where and how far Alonzo will go. We are drawn to the edge and shocked and terrified by the result. Scott Glenn is splendid as Roger; all the characters are woven into the story with great authenticity and we feel we are able to actually taste the neighbourhood. Training Day falls short of being a great film for two reasons, both to do with the handling of the moral issue at the end. Without revealing too much, I have a quibble about the direction of the final scene riddled with violence, as I do about the moral judgement Jake makes in the final analysis. That aside, Training Day is gripping, scorching drama that speaks loudly. This is indeed training with boots on!
Louise Keller

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CAST: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger, Eva Mendes, Snoop Doggy Dogg

DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua

PRODUCER: Jeffrey Silver, Bobby Newmyer

SCRIPT: David Ayer


EDITOR: Conrad Buff A.C.E


MUSIC: Mark Mancina

RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 15, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: May 8, 2002

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