Training Day is Antoine Fuqua’s sudden serious shimmy, turning his head from the over-the-top comedic cha-cha of Bait.Naïve rookie Ethan Hawke gets more than he bargained for when he reports to Denzel Washington’s corrupt narcotics honcho. An introduction to the ropes of LA’s grungy underbelly, infested with vermin that only provide camouflage for Washington’s scum. The coincidence early on with the prevented rape, only to come along later at the end as a saving grace, not to mention Hawke’s altruistic gung-ho attitude (in LA!) are just too far removed from reality to justify a smooth booking. Through the compelling grittiness, it discounts some of the disbelief associated with the story, but that results in a fork in the last act. It should be no surprise by this point to expect a high-voltage performance by Washington, always giving it his all, and at least providing the viewers something new to be absorbed with in his character here. But the alternative split to that is Fuqua’s penchant for superfluity and going over-the-top, illustrated from Washington’s put-on harrow (“King Kong ain’t got shit on me”) to the excessive amount of squids used to exemplify his Godfather-ly death.
With Snoop Dogg (playing yet another variation on himself?) and Macy Gray.[Worth-seeing.]