Training Day, American Movie (2001)

I have talked a lot on this blog about some of my favorite movies. But I haven’t often talked about the one thing that’s one of the most important ingredients in a film. No I am not talking about special effects. I am talking about the actors and actresses that bring movie characters to life. While I love a good B-movie from time to time, and can find a lot of enjoyment in that, it is a good performance in a film that I love just so much more. In fact, a memorable role in a film can turn something mediocre into something absolutely extraordinary. It takes a special kind of actor or actress to pull that off. And on that note  I do have quite a number of Hollywood greats that are my favorites. One of them is Denzel Washington. I have been following this actor for years now and seen most of his movies. He is known for usually playing the role of a hero, or at the very least a character that has some good traits or redeeming qualities in it. It is all the more ironic that he won an Oscar for a role that has none of these elements in it. To describe the character of Alonzo Harris as a demon made flesh, is not very far of the mark….

Some people can get very obsessive about their parking spaces.

Police officer Jake Hoyt is feeling very good. He has a beautiful wife, a lovely baby girl and he has just been assigned to a post where he finally hopes to make detective. In order to do this he has to survive an evaluation by the notorious and decorated narcotics officer Alonzo Harris. Jake is very eager and can’t wait to finally get started on what he expects to be his dreamjob. His first encounter with Harris doesn’t go too well though. Meeting up in a diner, Hoyt finds Alonzo reading a newspaper. As he takes a seat right across from him, trying to introduce himself, Harris tells Hoyt to be quiet as he is reading his paper and the rookie is interrupting his routine. In total disbelief Jake tries to again start up a conversation, which is about the worst thing he could have done. Irritated by these very annoying interruptions, Alonze asks Hoyt to tell him a story as he doesn’t seem to get the peace and quiet he asked for. Jake awkwardly tries to come up with a good tale, but obviously he fails to satisfy his new training officer. This is the start of a day in which Jake will soon find out that not everyone in the police department is there to protect and serve….

Just because I got an Oscar doesn’t mean that you should get one too….

Training Day is a movie that I have seen so many times now, and it still manages to impress me with each viewing. The story of the film is not even a very original one. We have seen countless movies about police corruption as it’s a very popular subject. Clint Eastwood had to fight against crooked cops as Dirty Harry in Magnum Force. And a young Al Pacino was on his own in the classic movie Serpico where he was the only good cop in a whole department gone rogue. So it’s not the story here that brings me back to see this film, although admittedly it’s a tense tale, that doesn’t let up and has plenty of twists and turns to keep it exciting. No, what brings this movie to life is one man namely Denzel Washington. When the film first starts, although he has some unorthodox methods, you can still symphatise with Alonzo. Some of the things he says actually make sense, and you are captivated by the charm with which he tells his experiences as a narcotics officer.

I’m going to enjoy watching my fellow actor not win the Oscar!

But that is only a false sense of calm. Soon you are beginning to get that creepy feeling that something is off and not quite right. Denzel plays Alonzo to perfection and turns his  role into an experience that few actors can pull off. Yes, you read that right his role is an experience. The character of Alonzo Harris is a being that is truly and utterly evil. All he cares about is his own well being, and damn anyone who gets in his way. And despite all of that, despite all the hate you feel for him and you truly want to see him die for all the things he has done, you don’t want that to happen. Because you want to see more of Denzel’s Oscar winning performance. In fact I would not have objected to the film being four hours longer if that would have meant seeing more of  the scenes like the one below (please note that this clip does contain a couple of F-bombs, so if you are offended by things like that, don’t watch it).

One would almost forget though that there is a perfect counter to the dirty cop, which is officer Jake Hoyt played by Ethan Hawke. Ethan got an Oscar nomination for his role but sadly did not bring home the price. A shame really, because his performance is totally different than his co-actor, but every bit as important. To not only hold out against a juggernaut like Denzel but to almost achieve the same level of acting greatness is something that I have utter respect for. I really love Hoyt. He is a rookie that is caught in an absolutely impossible situation where most people would lose their own integrity. He doesn’t and because of that you really feel and care what happens to him. And you want to see him win. Big time! Training Day is dark, gritty and dirty. It creates an atmosphere that is tense and could even be called claustrophobic at times. It’s not a happy fillm, in fact one could even call it depressive at times. But…in the end though, there is a silver lining and an important lesson as well. This movie is a perfect example of how actors can really make or break a movie. And in this case, if you haven’t caught on yet, they certainly make it. Watch this film if you haven’t already. And if you have…rewatch it. It’s one hell of a good investment of your time.

I give Training Day a 9 out of 10 score.


27 thoughts on “Training Day, American Movie (2001)”

    1. If you want to hear something funny, I thought that as well. But it was somewhat more recent.
      Could not agree with you more though, sometimes classic movies just can’t beat some of the current ones, and it’s amazing to revisit them. This is one that I just love to watch again every few years or so. Thanks for your comment and the kind words 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, always nice to see you here! 😊 So true though, Denzel’s role in this was phenomenal. (not that his acting isn’t awesome on pretty much every role he plays). This one though..really took it to the next level 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review here. I also love Training Day as with the Equalizer him and Antoine Fuqua have great repour and he always seems to get the most out of Denzel. Not sure if you seen it but Roman J Israel Esq. was also very good. I was not sure going in but it is also very good id recommend to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Equalizer was a terrific film, and I am honestly looking forward very much to see the sequel. (Even though I pretty much know it will not be as good as the orginal movie. I have seen Roman J Israel Esq yet, but as I am a very big fan of Denzel I will certainly check it out, thanks for the recommentdation and also the kind words on my review
      Ps..I just commented over on your blog on your latest post fo Chappaquiddick, but it disappeared, which means it’s in your spamfilter on your blog. It’s a very annoying WordPress bug, that keeps happening to me. Just letting you know in this way (as replying to a comment on my own blog is pretty much the only way I can let someone else know😊).


  2. Denzel Washington is a great actor 🙂
    This is another film that I’ve never seen (sometimes I wonder if I’ve really seen anything lol), but it sounds and looks awesome 🙂 I’ll have to add it to the list. Seems like a really good cosy Saturday night with popcorn movie 😀
    Great review 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He definitely is! I have been following him for a very long time now, and with a few exceptions almost all of his movies are gold.
      No worries…I haven’t seen a lot of things either, and missed out on quite a number of films/shows/anime too. But, that only means there is enough to catch up too! 😊😊
      This is a real powerhouse of a film though, and one I think you would enjoy very much. Thanks as always for your wonderful comment 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Kim. It really is one of my favorites as well. I remember seeing this film for the first time in the theatres and I almost could not believe the fact that I was watching Denzel Washington. He was such a bad guy in this one..ugh..
      Haha..Well, I say go for it: it’s definitely time well spent 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love when an actor or actress embodies a character so well that you just fall right into their performance and the story! Great performances really are a key ingredient in a film more so than plot originality or budget, in my opinion anyway. Having an amazing actor just elevates the material straight away. And no matter how much money you pour into a film, if your cast doesn’t have the talent then it’ll end up a waste.
    Great post! I’m definitely adding this movie to my list to watch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These days a lot of films depend on visual effects and stuff like that, and acting at times, seems like a lesser ingredient. As much as I love a good blockbuster from time to time, I have always loved watching good performances even more.
      This role by Denzel is one of those roles that just takes you breath away. It’s terrific and makes the entire film worth it. Thanks for the kind words, and I hope you will enjoy the movie 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly the same with me as well. It was a wonderful film that was elevated to greatness because of the terrific acting that was involved in this. I had a blast when I rewatched this one a few weeks ago. It’s a terrific film, but Denzel’s performance in it is what simply makes this movie so incredible 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I LOVE Denzel Washington in any role he plays (Fallen is one of my favourite movies!), I agree that this is definitely an interesting role for him as he’s usually the more straight laced military type role! This was a fantastic movie that I haven’t watched in years, how did it take Jake that long to figure out that not all cops are there to protect and serve?? I learned that LONG AGO and I’m not even on the force! (or, maybe that’s just the feeling I get around here after too many robberies! 😉)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, now you are talking. Fallen is such an underrated gem of a movie. I actually saw that one again last year, and was still every bit as impressed by it as the first time I saw it. Tiiiimmmmeee…is on my side…yes it is….
      Lol…well I luckily did not have any dealing with cops in my life, but yeah Jake was a bit dense wasn’t he? Then again…Denzel did have way too much influence on him, so I can’t really blame him. But….I guess he learned his lesson? Right? 😂😂
      Too bad about all those robberies though: perhaps you should you join the force yourself. I’m sure you would do a much better job 😂😂


  5. Absolutely love my boy Denzel!!!! I’m sort of surprised to see a review for this movie, but now that you’ve told us your love for it, you’ve multiplied my respect for you exponentially! Have you seen Fences? Love his part in that movie. The man has talent. One of my favourite movies by him is American Gangster. Classic!! Anyways, still got to say this was a great review. Denzel deserves all the praise! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Training Day is certainly a movie that I have seen so many times now, that it’s grown into one of my favorites. Denzel is just phenomanal in this role.
      Fences I haven’t (yet) seen, but it certainly is on my list. As for American Gangster: that one is truly awesome too (and now I want to see that one again too lol).
      Also looking forward to the new Equalizer film! 😊😊 Thanks for another great comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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