Movie Reviews: Training Day




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     (2 hrs. 03 min.)
     A veteran officer escorts a rookie on his first day with the LAPD's tough inner-city narcotics unit.
     Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Tom Berenger, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg
Bottom Line:


Denzel Washington gives an over the top performance as Alonzo Harris, a brutal and corrupt Los Angeles narcotics detective in "Training Day," one of the best movies to open this 2001 Fall movie season.

Washington fans might have a little trouble adjusting to him as a villain, a characterization so far removed from the likeable head football coach he portrayed so vibrantly in last year’s "Remember The Titans." Audiences also might have a problem accepting "Training Day" itself, as America moves into an a post O.J. and Rodney King era where police officers and firemen are regarded as heroes after Sept. 11, 2001.

But having said that, Washington’s performance is so compelling as he gives a young cop (Ethan Hawke) a dose of street reality, he should carry the movie to box office success. So far "Training Day" has garnered a cool $24.1 million in box office receipts. It debuted as the number one movie on its opening weekend.

"Training Day’s" thread wraps around a single day in which Harris provides a hard-core curriculum for rookie Jake Hoyt (Hawke). Hoyt hopes to be promoted to the inner-city’s narc squad, but his "Training Day" includes the dispensing of street justice, which causes a moral conflict in the rookie's mind.

For starters, Harris makes Hoyt smoke PCP laced pot, because turning down gifts on the street can get you killed. Later Harris thoroughly beats two rapist instead of arresting them. Harris feels street justice is what working the undercover narc beat is all about.

Save for the third act, where the audience might be left wondering about the plot’s logic and plausibility, "Training Day" is a smart potboiler and stylish thriller with another exceptional performance delivered by Washington.



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