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Overall Rating
3.49

Awesome: 26.78%
Worth A Look30.05%
Average: 19.67%
Pretty Bad: 12.57%
Total Crap: 10.93%

11 reviews, 117 user ratings


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Training Day
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by Scott Weinberg

"Desperate Oscar Attempt #14: Star plays a rabid sociopath."
2 stars

Hey, ever seen that movie SE7EN? How about Unlawful Entry or Internal Affairs? Well you can rest assured that screenwriter David Ayer has. The only truly entertaining aspect of Training Day comes in waiting to see when a fresh or original idea will rear its head. The movie ended 45 minutes ago, and I'm still waiting.

You know exactly what direction a movie is headed in when it opens with a rookie cop watching his young wife breast-feeding their infant daughter. Director Antoine Fuqua was obviously under the impression that simply copying scenes from good films would somehow result in...another good film. But despite the oh-so-impressive casting of Denzel Washington, there's simply nothing in Training Day that wouldn't be more at home in an old rerun of Hill Street Blues.

The honorable young cop in question is Jake Hoyt. Jake longs to someday become a detective, so he can buy his family a "nice house". Since Jake's wife and baby exist solely to plant "sympathy seeds" in audience members, neither character is seen or mentioned again. Jake's 'training day' consists of a ride-along with legendary narcotics officer Alonzo Harris. At first Jake dismisses Alonzo's aggressive tendencies, but before too long he realizes that perhaps Harris is simply a criminal with a badge. (Jake's realization comes about 25 minutes after the viewer's does.)

From this point on, we have a series of sequences in which Harris behaves rather un-cop-like, while Jake is left to stand in the background wringing his hands and sweating. Ignoring all concepts of accepted police procedure and paperwork, Harris casts a large shadow over the inner city; criminals are terrified of him, and Harris truly believes himself above reproach. Because he's a cop, of course.

Much of the alleged drama is meant to come from the "good vs. evil" tennis match that goes on between Jake and Alonzo. Unfortunately, both characters are painted with such stereotypically broad brush strokes that the "drama" is quickly jettisoned in favor of age-old plot devices and story holes big enough to fly a blimp through.

As Alonzo, Denzel Washington (Glory) is every bit the intense, frothing sociopath you've seen in the previews. Saying that Washington is a fantastic actor is certainly not new information, and it's obvious why he chose such a furious character as a 'departure'. Yet the overall feeling from his presence is not that we're watching a hateful policeman, but simply Denzel in "Full Angry" mode. Faring even less well is Ethan Hawke (Before Sunrise) as the wide-eyed Jake. Partly because the character is more of a symbol than a real person and partly because Hawke has very little screen presence, Jake's character gives audiences very little to get behind. (Other than the fact that we just assume he's the "good guy".)


Although Training Day is certainly a step up for the visually-oriented Fuqua (his previous films include The Replacement Killers and Bait), the screenplay (by Fast and the Furious scribe David Ayer) is simply too familiar and predictable to offer anything other than a few choice sequences. (I can name five separate movies that pull off Training Day's final scene, only not as silly.)

Actors like Scott Glenn, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Harris Yulin and Tom Berenger show up for a few minutes of screen time apiece, and they manage to bring some flavor to this tired old soup. Unfortunately, most of Training Day consists of the two detectives driving around town while Alonzo expounds non-stop on why it's perfectly acceptable for such respected policemen to break dozens of laws daily. (Washington delivers such diatribes in religiously convincing fashion.)

Chock full of nasty racial stereotypes, entirely preposterous plot turns and some truly short-sighted sermonizing, Training Day is obviously striving to be a "deep" movie. Aside from a curiously foul-mouthed and vicious performance from Washington, Training Day is about as generic and formulaic as movies get.

A lightweight and campy drama that obviously strives for dramatic respectability, Training Day is a suitable "Sunday Afternoon Cable Movie" for undemanding fans of the cop genre. If you're looking for something new, I suggest you look elsewhere.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4753&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/23/01 07:23:43
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell good bad cop good cop movie 4 stars
10/30/13 The Big D Stink, Stank, Stunk! Tries so hard to be street tough that it comes off as fakey! 1 stars
11/24/10 Jeff Wilder Standard issue good/bad cop. But Washington's performance alone makes it worth seeing. 4 stars
7/13/09 JR Denzel as evil rabid cop? Ooooo. Oscar...Gimmee Gimmee!! 2 stars
11/09/08 Grant Amazing...Fuck the haters 5 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
5/28/08 PAUL SHORTT EXTREMELY VIOLENT AND NOT VERY PLAUSIBLE 1 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White crafty corrupt cop with twisted ending 4 stars
3/03/08 ladavies Denzels's best performance to date. He makes a scary bad guy. 5 stars
5/28/07 Double M King Kong ain't got shit on Denzel.. 5 stars
3/22/07 JJ A film to think about, terrific performances from both lead roles 5 stars
1/01/07 kitfo plot holes and unnecessary fight scene mar what would otherwise be a great film. 4 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good 4 stars
11/15/06 Charles R.L.Power Depressingly stupid, unconvincing -- this got Denzel his Oscar? 1 stars
7/15/06 Anthony G Good film, denzel can play a thug nig pretty well. 4 stars
5/16/06 bmac great movie by the best ever (denzel) period 5 stars
4/13/06 KK it wasn't that bad! 4 stars
10/07/05 Wisamane Only people with good tastes for movies will like this one. I thought it was Incredible 5 stars
8/23/05 ES Fun, nothing you could believe was the real 'mean streets' but a decent flick 4 stars
7/27/05 Indrid Cold This is the electrifying Denzel everybody loves. Plot and other characters are just decent. 4 stars
12/27/04 mjoc Overrated formula film 3 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams good movie but I was waiting for it to fucking END! 4 stars
11/19/04 blah fuck off 3 stars
11/19/04 Bobby Lynn one of my favorites 5 stars
9/07/04 Nadine Arango Any 1 from the streets knows this is real 4 anyone who isn't this is the closest you'll get 5 stars
8/03/04 Anthony G spank my ass and call me a bitch 1 stars
4/14/04 Gobsmack Fascinating and brilliant. Denzel deserves 2 Oscars. 5 stars
4/14/04 beem put ya hands on ya chest! 5 stars
4/03/04 R.W. Welch Far-fetched bad cop flick is salvaged by top drawer performances all round. 4 stars
3/30/04 y2mckay Formulaic and contrived at times, but still intense. Denzel was as good as the hype. 4 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Not as good as they say 3 stars
1/21/04 tatum Expert direction, but the film gets tedious and unbelievable as it progresses 3 stars
1/20/04 hjrjkkl Somewhat predictable, but riveting nevertheless. 4 stars
1/08/04 A F Denzel ain't got shit on King Kong. 4 stars
10/02/03 Jinnvisible hollywood found the formula again ? never had it first place..well acted /directed 4 stars
9/22/03 kill quacky i bet you enjoy watching your mom and dad fuck when your under the bed 5 stars
8/19/03 AD liked it but got farfeted 5 stars
7/16/03 Rose Joslin Powerful performance by Denzel Washington, excellent flick! 5 stars
6/26/03 cochese Denzel won an OSCAR for this? Children, can you say "racially motivated", I knew you could. 2 stars
6/01/03 francis Plot deficiencies and I find Mr Hawke unsuitable for this type of role 3 stars
5/27/03 Andrew One of the best movies I've seen in awhile. 5 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Awesome pop movie. Hawke's first non-embarassment, and Denzel was great. 5 stars
5/01/03 Andrew Carden Hawke Is Good, but The Film Is So Far-Fetched and Blah... 2 stars
4/16/03 charlene henderson good movie 5 stars
4/09/03 Ash This movie sucks 1 stars
3/23/03 Dave This is wank. I've seen more convincing performances from the Power Rangers than Denzel. 1 stars
2/13/03 Sean Horan The ending, IMHO, was not justified, but the rest of the movie is definitely worth watching 4 stars
2/08/03 Jake Mikyre The mexicans let him live out of respect...its a known fact 5 stars
2/05/03 Go Denzel Denzel Washington's performance is amazing, and worth renting the movie for. Entertaining. 4 stars
1/23/03 Monster W. Kung A very good thriller, with a somewhat disappointing ending. 4 stars
1/12/03 Goofy Maxwell Alonzo vs. King Kong: Kong made 'em wring their hands, 'Zo makes 'em sh** their pants. 4 stars
12/13/02 and bullshit its a good movie 4 stars
11/07/02 bishop you fuckers wouldn't notice a great movie if it shot you in the ass. 5 stars
11/07/02 The Talking Elbow Fantastic movie of good vs. evil. Ethans char is a poor schmuck with a whole lot of valor. 5 stars
10/23/02 Jim Washington vs. Hawke ... should be an overmatch, but isn't. 4 stars
8/24/02 Sully can't figure out what everyone is complaining about...killer flick, top-notch acting... 5 stars
8/04/02 KMG DEFINITELY INTERESTING 4 stars
8/04/02 Edler Thought that I'd hate it, but it was awesome! 5 stars
7/23/02 plop great 5 stars
7/23/02 ! sdjfsdkjf denzel didnt really wreck it... He won an oscar with it........... 4 stars
7/21/02 sdjfsdkjf what a pile of horseshit. Denzel yet again manages to wreck another film. Boooooring! 1 stars
7/10/02 Bada Bing Crosby YAY! He can overact like his white counterparts, lets over-react w/an Oscar? What shite 1 stars
5/20/02 Phil M. Aficiando First 1/3 good; middle average; by the end, a dud, dude. Pointless pap. 2 stars
4/30/02 Phoenix Terrific action entertainment. Denzel was the shit. 5 stars
4/10/02 George Partington Boring, boring, boring. Denzel bad. Ethan good. Even one interesting idea woulda been nice. 2 stars
4/09/02 special K average, nothing new. certainly not oscar-worthy 3 stars
4/08/02 stoolie-bird that jeff lecky dude sums it up perfect.... 2 stars
4/08/02 Jeff Lecky Saw it twice, the 2nd time because I forgot I saw it... nothing special here! 1 stars
4/08/02 lauren mccreight simply a collection of scenes from much better cop movies.....been there done that.... 3 stars
4/07/02 Dave MacDougall nothing new here...so average it hurts... 2 stars
4/03/02 Mo Anand Denzel and Ethan give strong performances, however the story gets a little weird. 4 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy BOOM 5 stars
3/30/02 Butterbean Denzel should have won for MalcomX. He annoyingly overacts here. 3 stars
3/29/02 Denzel Washingotn fan in mourning Denzel should have rejected role and not robbed better amd more important acting of Oscar! 2 stars
3/28/02 Spyguy2 Better than expected, Great DW performance, overkill ending overstayed it's welcome 4 stars
3/27/02 FrayLo word, ...a dark movie, but quite entertaining 5 stars
3/27/02 Incubator It`s all about russians 4 stars
3/27/02 Girl 9 Just awesome 5 stars
3/26/02 Paco My nigga 5 stars
3/26/02 Jessica Davis (fan of Denzel Washington when he's good) Washington's worst role ever - braindead selection over Penn Crowe or Smith. MPAA EATS SHIT 1 stars
3/25/02 Natalie Stonecipher Excellent adtor Denzel Washington really hast be motherfuckin' bad to win an Oscar! 1 stars
3/22/02 The Bomb 69 a bit overrated but the performances were above the storyline 4 stars
3/14/02 Janus the Anus Not terribly original, but well-made. Denzel and Ethan both performed well. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
3/09/02 Ozmy Zuniga Denzel Washington is the man!!!!! 5 stars
3/07/02 Art Wright I can't believe some of the negative comments-this jammie was Fuckin' On! 5 stars
2/17/02 malcolm denzel -- incredible as usual. not your father's cop movie 4 stars
2/14/02 The Flaming Chancehead THIS IS THE WORST FUCKIN' MOVIE IN THE UNIVERSE! ETHAN SHOULD BE SHOT IN THE FACE! 1 stars
1/20/02 stryper rocks lots of mindless violence 3 stars
1/16/02 David A. Stink, Stank, Stunk!!! 1 stars
1/06/02 The Man Tense, awesome. One of Denzel's best performances. Only end slightly unbelievable 5 stars
12/13/01 Jason Szabo Action packed, with great acting from Washington and Hawke 4 stars
12/12/01 Jimbo Disappointing despite Den's effort. Good cop/Bad cop thing os too predictable. 3 stars
12/07/01 Tanya Predictable and misogynistic - female characters were poorly written props for the men 2 stars
11/17/01 Riza very good!!!! lots of action 5 stars
11/15/01 j man denzel was great 5 stars
11/12/01 Tyrone Knight I loved it!! Denzel's part was electrifying enough to make the movie shine 5 stars
11/11/01 gavel not having seen the movie i already know that this will be avaerage with Denzel striving tr 2 stars
11/10/01 jawsboy pretty fuckin awesome with only a couple of bad scenes. great performances and direction. 4 stars
11/02/01 Gay Tooth Fairy Great fucking acting Denzel. 5 stars
11/01/01 kelly it was good 5 stars
11/01/01 Obi Wan Denzel did his thing as always, but the flick was too predictable and very generic! 3 stars
10/27/01 Fish Eye Denzel is awesome. But the ending was a little forced. Still a good movie though. 4 stars
10/26/01 derek deems not bad, but a few key moments destroy what the film works an hour and a half to build 4 stars
10/23/01 spaceworm A real shame that half way through they welded a plot on this promising character study. 3 stars
10/23/01 The Alter Ego DENZEL WASHINGTON IS THE BADDEST MOTHERFUCKER ALIVE!!! 5 stars
10/22/01 Gary Hawkins Compelling peice. Crisply depicted and so so real. 5 stars
10/22/01 Bil Jee Very stupid plot; Denzel over the top. Why would his char expose everything to a newbie? 1 stars
10/18/01 Carlos Mohammed Hard core along the lines of Boyz n' The Hood, New Jack City, and Menace To Society. 5 stars
10/16/01 Del I thought it was good...Denzel was amazing as usual. Snoop Dogg had a surprising role. 4 stars
10/16/01 Jeff Semlow Denzel gives the best performance of the year. He may have been over the top, but still ve 5 stars
10/16/01 malcolm good to see Denzel do something else besides the smooth charmer 4 stars
10/15/01 Schmidty72 The best performance of Denzel's career. 5 stars
10/15/01 Geebo An amazing film. Extremely intense and well-acted by both of the stars. 5 stars
10/14/01 Shaun L Harris Realisticly Unsettling and Intense 5 stars
10/11/01 Eth'mae Not a slow moment. Intense and well acted. 4 stars
10/08/01 Axe Murderer too violent?............you too weak yowza....go watch spy kids or domething 4 stars
10/06/01 Yowza Too violent, story weak, way too bleak for my liking. Great acting, but still depressing. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Oct-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Nov-2001


Directed by
  Antoine Fuqua

Written by
  David Ayer

Cast
  Denzel Washington
  Ethan Hawke
  Tom Berenger
  Snoop Dogg
  Dr. Dre
  Scott Glenn



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