Top 365 Films – #115 – Training Day (2001)


Top 365 Films - Training DayDIRECTED BY: Antoine Fuqua

STARRING: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Eva Mendes, Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis, Raymond Cruz, Noel Gugliemi, Dr. Dre, Peter Greene, Nick Chinlund, Jaime P. Gomez, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Charlotte Ayanna, Harris Yulin, Tom Berenger, Raymond J. Barry, Samantha Becker, Seidy López, Rudy Perez, Cle Shaheed Sloan, Abel Soto, Denzel Whitaker and Terry Crews

BUDGET: $45m

EARNED (Worldwide): $104.8m

AWARDS: 1 Oscar (Best Actor)

 

SYNOPSIS

On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes on a 24-hour training course with a rogue detective who isn’t what he appears.

 

Training Day takes us to Los Angeles where we follow Jake Hoyt, a rookie cop who is placed on a 24-hour training course to see if he has what it takes to become a Los Angeles narcotics officer, being partnered up with Detective Alonzo Harris. As the day progresses Hoyt begins to question Alonzo’s methods of enforcing the law and tries to figure out who is the real enemy out there on the streets.

 

While the film may have lost it’s ‘instant classic’ effect it had on me fourteen years ago, it is still in my eyes a really good film with two strong performances that elevate the screenplay penned by David Ayer. We follow the story of Jake Hoyt joining Alonzo Harris for a 24 hour training course on what it takes to become a narcotics officer out on the streets of Los Angeles and soon enough Hoyt finds out that the job is not what it’s cracked up to be as he’s forced to take a hit of ‘marijuana’ as refusal on the street will get him killed, watches things he’s supposed to stop and in an even darker turn ups up in a bust which results on him being made out to be the ‘hero’ for the shooting of an ‘armed man’. For two thirds of this film the dialogue and plot is solid as many webs are spun out that make the audience spin let along Hoyt as we try to figure out whether if Alonzo is corrupt or a cop so deep in the line of playing the long game on the street that he no longer knows where the line truly is? Throughout the first half of the film Hoyt can’t tell whether Alonzo is simply testing the rookie or not…which quickly comes to an end once the bust scene occurs. Alonzo Harris is a character that is as charismatic and with his behaviour extreme, it sometimes plays into laughs as Denzel Washington clearly relishes the role of a man willing to cross over outside of the law as the enemy lives out of it in ‘order to protect the sheep’ in a villainous role which was odd to see as the year before he appeared on the big screen as Coach Boone in Remember The Titans….yeah, the opposite spectrum indeed. The final act takes the character to larger than life levels almost with a film that build up the tension and threaded plots a lot, questions come to the plausibility and realism of what came before which is what takes the shine of ‘instant classic’ off it for me nowadays. Ethan Hawke does more than hold his own with his performance as Jake Hoyt as we see the conflict he goes through of what Alonzo believes is the right course of action versus his moral obligation as to what is right and wrong. There’s some really good direction here from Antoine Fuqua with a tight script from David and with the exception of the final act, I really enjoy this film.

 

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Often many will automatically chose Alonzo’s famous rant scene but for me it has to be the scene where Hoyt is playing cards with Smiley, Sniper and Romeno as he waits for Alonzo’s to finish doing his business. The tension that burns slowly in this scene for five minutes when you realise something is wrong when Jake gets no response from Alonzo and the questions that comes up in conversation to add to why I like the scene so much for when it inevitably boils over.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Aww, you motherfuckers. Okay. Alright. I’m putting cases on all you bitches. Huh. You think you can do this shit… Jake. You think you can do this to me? You motherfuckers will be playing basketball in Pelican Bay when I get finished with you. SHU program, nigga. 23 hour lockdown. I’m the man up in this piece. You’ll never see the light of… who the fuck do you think you’re fucking with? I’m the police, I run shit around here. You just live here. Yeah, that’s right, you better walk away. Go on and walk away… ’cause I’m gonna’ burn this motherfucker down. King Kong ain’t got shit on me. That’s right, that’s right. Shit, I don’t, fuck. I’m winning anyway, I’m winning… I’m winning any motherfucking way. I can’t lose. Yeah, you can shoot me, but you can’t kill me.’ – Alonzo Harris

DID YOU KNOW?: When the movie came out, many viewers and critics were skeptical of the scenes where Jake Hoyt smokes marijuana laced with PCP and Alonzo’s explanation of how a cop who didn’t take drugs offered to him on the street would be ID’d as police and murdered. David Ayer responded in an interview by holding up a highlighted section of the LAPD’s rules and regulations; it stated that officers were allowed to use narcotics in very specific undercover situations, and hewed closely to what Alonzo told Jake.

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