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Training Day

April 21, 2014

Training Day (2001)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Actors: Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Scott Glenn

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Synopsis: Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) starts his first day with the LAPD by being ‘escorted’ round the streets by celebrated narcotics cop, Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). Over the course of the day, Hoyt’s skills and durability are sorely tested by Harris, to the point where Hoyt even begins to question the legality of Harris’ conduct.

Review: Training Day stretches the fibres of its rookie-veteran plot conceit to the very boundaries of credibility, but I’m inclined to enjoy Training Day for what it is: a pulpy, lurid cop thriller clearly aimed at the multiplex crowd and where you suspend all disbelief for a couple of hours.

Also, beyond this function as a piece of generic hokum, Training Day is not a completely unnuanced parable on policing. It’s also a nice disavowal of the movie-perpetuated cliché of smug, streetwise copdom. In that respect, it’s a better version of the similar themed Roger Donaldson CIA film, The Recruit.

Still, it’s the gallows humour and the “what the f*ck?” gusto that transmits the most from Training Day, as Denzel Washington’s utterly self-assured, maverick cop tries to see how far he can push Ethan Hawke’s rookie trainee. He does this by, at various stages, getting him in street fights, making illegal raids on homes to steal money, taking him to some of the most dangerous hoods in LA, and, most brazenly of all, tricking him into smoking PCP-laced marijuana. (April 2014)

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