A corrupt cop takes on the task of training up a rookie for the LAPD narcotics squad, with intentions of using him to dig himself out of the hole he’s fell into.On Jake Hoyt’s (Ethan Hawke) first day as a drug enforcement officer, he is assigned to train with seasoned detective Alonso Harris (Denzel Washington). Alonso has plans for his rookie – he’s found himself in hot water with some Russian gangsters and uses Jake as a way of getting together the cash to pay them off. Unfortunately for him, Jake isn’t just going to stand by and watch Alonso jeopardise, or altogether ruin, his career.
Training Day is brought to us by director Antoine Fuqua, someone whose work I feel I could become quite familiar with by the end of this year after watching The Equalizer and Southpaw in July. Both this and The Equalizer I loved, and I cannot wait for the release of Southpaw this month so I think he’s definitely someone whose films I will, in future, be keeping an eye out for news on.
For me, the best thing about this film is Washington’s character of Alonso. He is the ultimate bad-ass and is great fun to watch, and according to Washington himself, the bent detective was terrific fun to play as well. It has been said that this was one of the most underwhelming performances that has ever won an Oscar, however I will put it out their now that anyone who said that didn’t really know what they were talking about. Washington was tantalising as Alonso. The confidence he had was immense, and the wit possessed by him was also brilliant. But the bit that really sold the Oscar win to me was his fall from grace right near the end, and the vicious streak that Alonso had in him as well. He was very charismatic and an absolute joy to watch.
Hawke as Jake was also excellent. Throughout the whole film, you could see he was struggling to get to grips with who exactly his mentor was, and also what to do when Alonso seriously over-stepped the line. You could also sense that he was absolutely terrified of the sort of work he was going to be getting into as he had only been on the force for 18 months before moving into narcotics, during which he had only made one serious arrest. Hawke portrayed very well the way in which his character had been thrown head first into the deep end. A wonderful performance!
O think possibly the main reason the performances were so good to watch was the fact that they worked very well together. You had the quiet, nervous Jake and then the loud, brash, bull in a china shop that was Alonso – the wolf and the sheep that are so often referred to throughout the film. Both roles complimented each other perfectly, and I believe this helped a great deal in the film reaching the level of success it did.
Overall, I found Training Day to be a very gripping, thoroughly enjoyable film. It’s probably not one for the action fans out there, but for anyone loyal to Denzel or gritty crime stories, this is definitely for you. But even if you’re unsure of whether you are the ideal viewer or not, give it a go because I’m fairly certain you won’t regret it.