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Training Day... from hell!


Training Day

Warning: Sensitive Denzel fans beware! If you get emotional over reviewers that can form opinions other than “Denzel is amazing” then just stop reading.

What we have here is a movie about Jake Hoyt’s (Ethan Hawke) first day on the job with Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) teaching him the ways of the mean streets he’ll be working on. Hoyt the straight and narrow must learn that sometimes you have to bend the rules in order to keep the laws he’s meant to protect.

Director Antoine Fuqua handles his first feature like a pro. His shot selection is great, though nothing amazing (but that could just be because of the film). The pacing is great and edits well. I was pleasantly surprised with the results from a director who was working on music videos and such before. For some reason I can see Fuqua directing a sci-fi film with ease. Who knows – maybe adding some much needed vision, too!

The performances here are good, but I dare say, not amazing. Ethan Hawke fills the role appropriately, but never really manages to surprise. I think someone else in this role would have added just a tad more substance to a simple character. Hawke’s character is not the lead when be should be considering that he goes through the most change in the story, which any amateur storyteller can tell you makes the main character. The one issue I have with his character is the fact that he's naive. Sorry, but when I think cop my mind doesn't attach naive easily. There should have been a little history there to back her personality up a bit.

From what I understand Denzel Washington improvised quite the deal in this role – and for better or worse, it shows. There are a few scenes where he is given a bit to much freedom to “run with it”. The “King Kong” line that people on the interweb love to mention felt like a bit much to this humble reviewer.

I’m not saying that the man didn’t do a good job. He was cast to play a slightly bolder, angrier Denzel and that’s what he does. It is also in this reviewer’s opinion that Denzel can really only play variations of himself, which is my dissatisfaction with him as an actor. I liked what he did in this film, though I do feel he pushed it in some places and pulled back at the wrong times. A point near the end of the film (when he finally reaches what this character is about) he total drops the ball and pulls a little bait and switch. I’m not going into more detail for those who are planning on watching the film (so save the, “this review says nothing” speech).

The story in this film (by David Ayer) is very solid, but I’ll have to agree with our other editor, John Rojas, when he says that it was “if you intend to make a statement, then make it”. The writing has a distinct feeling of being “tampered with” by who I can only assume is the Producers. It gives the feeling that the ending might have better. I’ve found on the interweb that Denzel also made changes to the ending of the film. I can’t say that I really care for the changes. For the sake of not ruining anything I’ll say, the implied action by certain people should have been followed through with since the failure to do so makes no real point.

I walked (as in got up and turned off the dvd player) away from this film pleasantly surprised. I was especially captivated where most people are disappointed, the climax. Fuqua was able to draw me in just enough to really want to know what happens in the end.

Is it a recommended watch? I’d say yes, but keep an open mind when looking at Washington’s performance and don’t just buy into the hype that he is “amazing”.

Flaming can commence in…







Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: David Ayer
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington

Source of the Bitter: JAS

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
John Rojas on Thu, 08/20/2009 - 5:33pm

if you start shooting actors in the ass you will get great performances guaranteed! John

Cinebelle on Fri, 08/14/2009 - 1:22pm

You raise lots of good points; most people in Hollywood acknowledge this Oscar was probably for his body of work, more than this particular performance. But before you give up on him, see "Devil in a Blue Dress," "Courage Under Fire" and "Mississippi Masala" first.

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