"Blistering Police Drama"
What You Need To Know:
As Alonzo, Washington is charismatic, ruthless, funny, infuriating, angry, cocky, caring, professional, smart, sassy, and cunning. He may deserve an Oscar for this performance. Although the movie misses some dramatic opportunities at the end, it is a blistering, thoroughly captivating work of cinema that probably will have viewers anxiously waiting to see what happens next. Regrettably, however, despite an ultimately moral worldview, TRAINING DAY contains an excessive amount of strong foul language and strong violence. It also has some moral ambiguity that isn’t resolved in an uplifting, satisfactory manner. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® can’t quite recommend TRAINING DAY
(BB, LLL, VVV, S, NN, A, DD, MM) Moral worldview exposing the corruption of an undercover narcotics policeman; about 215 obscenities, 8 profanities & use of the “N” word; strong street violence such as policeman fights two potential rapists, lengthy & brutal fight scene, man shot multiple times by automatic gunfire, policemen murder former drug kingpin, chase scenes, threats of violence, & street gang captures & beats policeman; implied fornication; partial nudity; alcohol use; smoking & drug use; and, corruption, stealing & drug dealing rebuked.
Denzel Washington gives a bravura performance in the blistering police corruption thriller, TRAINING DAY. Unless someone else comes along, he could win a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a corrupt cop with an evil agenda.
Washington plays Sergeant Alonzo Harris, a narcotics cop in Los Angeles. Alonzo’s optimism has been chipped away by his tour of duty as an undercover cop on the streets of L.A., where the lines have been blurred between the law and corruption. Alonzo tests the resolve of idealistic rookie cop Jake Hoyt, played by Ethan Hawke of HAMLET 2000 and GATTACA. Over the next 24 hours, Alonzo pulls Jake deeper and deeper into the ethical chaos of Alonzo’s sometimes twisted logic. Both men put their lives and careers on the line as it becomes clear that Alonzo has a secret agenda of his own.
As Alonzo, Washington is charismatic, ruthless, funny, infuriating, angry, cocky, caring, professional, smart, sassy, and cunning. In fact, Washington is such a whirlwind and powerful screen presence in TRAINING DAY that Ethan Hawke sometimes has a little trouble keeping up with him. This is, however, in line with the spirit of the movie, which shows that Ethan Hawke’s Jake is almost always a step behind his would-be mentor, Alonzo. As for the direction and screenplay, although the movie misses some dramatic opportunities at the end, it is a thoroughly captivating movie that probably will have viewers anxiously waiting to see what happens next.
Regrettably, however, despite an ultimately moral worldview, TRAINING DAY contains an excessive amount of strong foul language and strong violence. Also, Jake’s actions at the very end of the movie are not as morally pure as they could be. Furthermore, although the bad guy gets his comeuppance at the end, it is not exactly a terribly just comeuppance. Thus, goodness does not completely prevail in the end, nor does the movie strongly support such an outcome. Of course, not every battle between good and evil in this world ends with the most positive outcome possible, but that doesn’t mean that a movie shouldn’t strongly take a stand in favor of such an outcome.
Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® can’t quite recommend TRAINING DAY, despite its entertainment value and production quality, not to mention Denzel Washington’s outstanding performance.