Training Day

Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger, Snoop Dogg, Harris Yulin, Dr. Dre, Macy Gray.
MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief nudity.

Review by Lauren Snyder <>
October 9, 2001

I'll be honest... Training Day is the kind of movie that I don't usually see. I'm not into the whole cop drama thing, and I went to see it because I have faith in Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke's choices in projects. This film does not do anything to mar their largely successful track record, nor does it do anything to improve it. Rather, it's a very straightforward tale about badass California streets and the badasses who clean them up by any means necessary. The genre hasn't been transformed by this one, but it hasn't been tarnished, either.

Denzel Washington seems to be enjoying himself as vigilante justice-enactor and veteran squad member Alonzo Harris. Some have criticized Washington for being too over-the-top in this rogue-cop role. I feel that in those scenery-chewing moments, one is seeing actor as character as actor; Alonzo's putting on a tough-man show to maintain his street cred. As rookie Jake Hoyt, Hawke is there to provide yin to Washington's yang, and really holds his own in the later sequences. There are also a lot of surprisingly good superstar cameos, notably Snoop Dogg as a wheelchair-bound crack dealer, Dr. Dre as part of Alonzo's "vice squad" and Macy Gray as a talon-clawed addict.

While featuring strong performances, very entertaining training sequences and a few unexpected plot twists, there is just too much of the mundane about this film (not to mention a tiredly orchestrated subplot about Alonzo's tangle in Vegas) for me to give it a better recommendation. I know that there are better films like this that are out there. I'm just not the person to ask about them.

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Training Day (2001)

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Training Day: Soundtrack (explicit lyrics) -- Compact Disc
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