Training Day (SE)/ B+, A (F)
Warner/2001/122/ANA 2.35

     Training Day delivers the goods with explosively magnetic intensity. From the opening moments, it's cool cinematic style and tough characterizations capture the rhythms of the streets and the world these characters inhabit. 
       Jake Hoyt is the young white bread cop who wants to join an elite unit. He's hungry for success. It may not be all he thinks it's cracked up to be. Alonzo Harris is the street savvy black cop who runs the unit. Jake must prove to Alonzo that he has what it takes. Training Day covers one day that will determine Jake's future as Alonzo takes him through the rigors of his own routine.

Walking Alonzo's walk. ©Warner

     Training Day doesn't break any fresh cop corruption ground and some of the plotting may stretch plausibility to the breaking point, but it is primarily driven by the dynamic central performance of Denzel Washington as the slickly corrupt cop Alonzo Harris. The relationship between Alonzo and Jake Hoyt, played with innocent force by Ethan Hawke, is at the heart of the film. The seduction of corruption is a powerfully tempting drug for law enforcement officials in the path of temptation. Scott Glenn is always a pleasure on film, but he is mostly wasted in the role of big fish  drug dealer Roger and the relationship between Alonzo and Roger is all but unfathomable.
     What I didn't get is how these guys are the least bit undercover? They are out front and cops from the world go. But it's only another plot stutter step that passed me by faster than a speeding bullet. Director Antoine Fuqua has a good feel for the material and despite elastic plotting, Fuqua works well with his main actors giving them the freedom to exercise their talent. Stylistically, Training Day is a fine looking flick. Fuqua maintains excellent pacing. Training Day never bogs down is a slog of boredom.  The best advice is to focus on the dynamic performances by leads Washington and Hawke.
    A exemplary example of a beautifully cinematic transfer, Training Day falls short only on my particular disc (hopefully) with numerous hang-ups and blocking problems on the second layer. It's reference material if this is only isolated on this single disc, a disaster if it is on the entire pressing. Overall sharpness is outstanding. Excellent black level is maintained consistently through various lighting. Contrast range offers good punch and revealing shadow detail. The Dolby Digital 5:1 is active and engaging.
     Antoine Fuqua's commentary is clear and concise. Fuqua's life experience seems comfortable with the material. He calls the undercover cops gang-bangers. Washington, according to Fuqua, wanted him to direct the film because I know the world and because there's a certain reality in that world and language that people would avoid. "You've got to be in the belly of the beast."

Reviewed on a Sharp 9000VX DLP Projector




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