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Training Day

Training Day

What he said:

He

Grand Theft Auto: NARCS – That’s what this movie should have been called. If you’ve ever played any version of the popular video game series and seen this movie, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The film manages to be a dark, gritty, crime drama, but also splices in some more absurd, over-the-top kind of stuff (particularly when you think of the kind of stuff Denzel’s character gets away with) you’d see in something like Scarface. It works well and not against one another at all.  It is a gamble that pays off imo.

Ethan Hawke plays rookie narcotics officer Jake Hoyt. Jake is trying to advance his career by becoming a member of an elite narcotics unit run by rockstar Detective Alonzo Harris. Alonzo and his team bring down lots of bad guys and as a result is allowed to play by their own set of rules, which Jake later finds out cross a line. Is Jake willing to cross that line for the sake of advancing his career? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

Denzel got loads of praise for this movie and deservedly so, but Ethan Hawke’s performance was excellent as well. He did get a best supporting actor nomination, but when hear about this movie whose name is mentioned? Not Hawke’s; at least not very often. His portrayal of the idealistic rookie - who really wants nothing more than to make a legitimate difference – was spot on. He captured that deer in headlights look very well. It brings a nice balance to the two characters interactions. It also puts the character in Jake’s shoes.  

Verdict: Thumbs up

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 25, 2011.

What she said:

She

I can tell that “The He” really likes this movie, and it’s entertaining for sure.  But I definitely had a few gripes that soured me slightly to the whole thing.  Mainly, I was concerned about how plausible it was at times.  I’m sure that I am completely naïve, but I still refuse to believe that this level of complete police/governmental corruption exists. 

That said, generally it was a satisfying movie.  Denzel Washington plays Alonzo Harris, head LAPD narcotics officer, and man is he a major jerk.  I get it, that Ethan Hawke aka Jake Hoyt really, really wants to make detective, and this is his road there, but geez, I would have punched Alonzo within five minutes of meeting him.  So the film follows Jake on his first day as a narcotics officer, as he cruises around the city with Alonzo and is peer pressured into making dumb and outright unethical decisions.  I’m not going to give too much away, but Alonzo is not a good fella, as Jake realizes, and a lot unfolds in just one day.

There’s action and excitement for sure, but I can’t help but be irked by how quickly things develop, and how so much of it seems implausable.  If Alonzo is this openly corrupt, how is it possible for him to still be in a position of authority?  Surely, he would have been publicly outed by now because he is so brazen. 

I don’t dislike the movie; I’m just a little annoyed by certain things.  But I also recognize that I can be a little sensitive, and so I think this film will be generally well received by most.  Some fabulous performances.  Check it out, if you can take it at face value and enjoy the eccentricities of the characters.

Diagnosis: Thumbs half up.