January 31, 2010

Training Day - 2001

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: David Ayer
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke

"To protect the sheep you gotta catch the wolf, and it takes a wolf to catch a wolf." Such is the mantra of Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington), head undercover narcotics agent of the Los Angeles Police Department. Training Day follows the events of a 24 hour period in which Harris takes a newcomer (Hawke) under his wing, exposing him to the seedy underbelly of not only Los Angeles, but the less upstanding aspects of his job.

Let me be the first to say that I'm a fan of Denzel Washington. He's definitely one of the best living actors, and the best African-American actor. And the movie as a whole, I enjoyed, don't get me wrong. However, I'll also say that his performance carries the film, which is only magnified by the fact that he and Hawke are the lone recognizable faces in the cast, aside from a small role by Cordozar Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus. In addition, out of all the great roles Washington has played in his career, this is the ONLY one for which he won the Best Actor Academy Award. I understand a lot of this has to do with the competition and whatnot, but this man was Malcolm X, for crying out loud! You could do a lot worse than this film (like my bottom 5 movies of 2009, as well as countless others I deemed unworthy of my time), but it wouldn't be my first choice either, although the ending was a pleasant surprise.

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