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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
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Justin Helmer

"Hawke is downright adequate."
3 stars

Training Day isn't a great movie, only a pretty good one. That difference may seem hard to quantify but it is that very difference, however subjective that makes a good movie into a wonderful film. Having see both this movie, and Glory I still maintain that he should have been given an Oscar for Glory. Yet with the performance he puts in here it's not hard to understand why the academy felt it would be a good time to give him an award.

Things start off quite well, as we go along on a first day with a rookie (Ethan Hawke) and the just-slightly-over-the-edge veteran who is showing him the ropes. Already the movie has to distance itself from a slew of mismatched partner/intense rite of passage stories. (48 hours and Colors respectively) It does do just that by settling early on the darkness in Washington's character is not purely cosmetic.

From the word go Alonzo Harris is engaging his young trainee in a series of "will he or won't he" mind games. This worked surprisingly well one me, up to a point. It was also the place where the script started to show some weakness. Ironically it's Hawke's character that keeps pointing out, what to my mind was one of the biggest plot holes of all. No police force would let somebody as far of the rails as Washington's character is go unchecked. At least the wouldn't in a world where there is always somebody around with a camera waiting to catch the next Rodney King throw down.

As they move through their day we see them bully suspects, ignore criminal behavior, use drugs and alcohol, and steal money. Like the older kid with the cigarettes it's only a matter of time before Harris browbeats Hoyt into doing whatever it is he wants. At one point I was sure that the whole point of the movie had to do with the evils of cop-on-cop peer pressure.

There's no doubt that from the first frame the whole she-bang rests squarely on Denzel's shoulder, Hawke spends a good deal of the movie hanging off of him like Julia Roberts at the Oscar ceremony. In Ethan's defense, it would have been hard not to. One of the most fascinating things about Denzel Washington is the undercurrent of anger that runs beneath many of his greatest roles. That same aggression, and absolute confidence is out in full force here. The character is so charismatic, even allowing for the politics involved, it's hard to imagine the academy voting for any one else. Hey it worked for Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

I found myself spending the most time thinking about the central question that I saw presented; how much do we need our protectors to be like criminals. I'm the last person in the world who would ever want to follow a swat team in on a raid, or go undercover to bring down a major drug dealer. So in a way it makes sense to me intellectually that the people who do those things would have a somewhat bent worldview. This is exactly the point the Denzel keeps driving home, saying; "You've got to be a wolf to catch a wolf." The inherent problem with this line of thought is that the criminal element does not generally score very high on responsibility. Power without responsibility will fuck you but quick, just ask Anakin.

Which brings me to the second major problem; the movie is does a remarkable job keeping the moral ambiguity factor high until the third reel. I found myself getting progressively more annoyed as Antoine Fuqua's direction kept letting the audience of the hook. Suffice it to say that by the time Harris and his motivations are made clear, there's no longer any doubt what color hat Denzel is wearing. This felt like a cop-out to me, it was almost as if the filmmakers only trusted us so far. So as we edge ever closer to the climax of the movie the characters move further from the very thing that kept the proceedings from sinking into mediocrity.

And that's about the size of the whole thing really; a visually intense and often downright enthralling battle of wills brought low, all because the standard line of thinking in Hollywood demands a simple ending. It could have been so much more.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4753&reviewer=315
originally posted: 10/12/02 14:58:04
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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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