A powerhouse performance by Denzel Washington fuels Training Day
, a brutal urban police drama in which a rookie narcotics cop learns the hard way that even good cops can go very, very bad. Washington plays veteran detective Alonzo Harris, a self-proclaimed "wolf among wolves", eager to teach his rookie partner Jake (Ethan Hawke) that normal rules don't apply on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Caught in a web of deception, Jake watches with escalating horror as Alonzo uses his badge (and the support of his superiors) to justify a self-righteous policy of corruption.
In stark contrast to most of his previous work, Washington unleashes his dark side with fearlessness and fury, and the result is excellence without compromise. Director Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers) won't score any points for subtlety, but gritty details (including actual LA gang members as extras) and Hawke's finely tuned performance are perfectly matched to Washington's frightening volatility. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
On the DVD: Training Day's special features include an HBO documentary which actually provides some insight into the structure of the film rather than simply adding glitz and glamour. Antoine Fuqua's feature commentary is intimate, suggesting his heart and soul went into this movie. The extra scenes also add to the enjoyment of the movie, the only disappointment being that there is no additional commentary to explain the cuts. The alternative ending ties up a few of the loose ends which are left at the close of the theatrical release. Out of the two music videos it is Pharoahe Monch's "Got You" that fits in best with the style of the film, having a much bassier street-level feel than Nelly's "#1" chart-friendly hip-hop. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack allows you to feel like you're pumping out the beats from your BMW and the 2.35:1 widescreen is a slick as Denzel Washington's gun moves. --Nikki Disney
Police corruption thriller featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Denzel Washington. Rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) has been newly assigned to an elite narcotics unit and is due to spend his first day on the job with veteran detective Alonzo Harris (Washington). As the day passes, and after dealing with street thugs and drug tycoons, Hoyt begins to suspect that Harris might have become corrupted by the job. When Harris then murders criminal kingpin Roger (Scott Glenn) and tries to get the act pinned on Hoyt, the young cop realises that he has no choice but to confront Harris himself.