I love Training Day and I don't even know why. I don't really like cop movies a lot. However I do find the gangs of LA fascinating and this movie was as authentic as it gets. Director Antoine Fuqua went right into the heart of gang territory to film this movie. In addition to actors (a great cast, by the way) there are gang members taking part, lending the film some serious athenticity. You can't fake the hardness you see on some of these faces.
Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is a young married family man who is looking to score a major promotion to Alonzo Harris' (Denzel Washington) narcotics unit. Their relationship starts off rocky but Hawke proves his mettle through the course of the day. As they make their way through the streets of LA, it is slowly revealed that Harris is not just testing Hoyt for the job, but also for his tolerance for corruption. Harris is not the good cop that his reputation suggests. He is as corrupt as it gets, and he owes people money. He, and his squad, dish out the law and corruption in equal measure.
With a stellar cast including Scott Glenn, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Macy Gray, Training Day was a surprising film for me that I couldn't take my eyes off. Taking place over the course of a single day, can Hoyt resist the temptation of corruption, or will his morals win out? And if so, will he live to tell the tale?
Bonus features are excellent. Behind the scenes featurettes with Fuqua reveal how they shot scenes in gangland, and there is an alternate ending to consider as well.
This film is among Denzel's best, and Hawke's as well. Highly recommended. A keeper. 5 stars.