Training Day earned Denzel Washington an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role and audiences can now bring the film home on 4K Ultra HD.
This is a film that depicts two detectives over a single day of action. One of them just happens to be a rookie cop in training. When Training Day marked its 20th anniversary in 2021, the world was different and attitudes towards the cops had very much changed. Nowadays, you don’t have to go far to find someone who wants to either defund or abolish the police but that’s another column for someone else to write as this is an entertainment outlet. But anyway, Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) is a narcotics officer for the LAPD. On this morning, he’s paired up with Officer Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) for a one-day evaluation. Hoyt’s entire future is on the line. Oh, is it ever. What Hoyt doesn’t know is that Detective Harris is also a morally ambiguous detective.
Both leading men rightfully earned the acclaim for their performances. Ethan Hawke was nominated for Supporting Actor while Denzel Washington won for Leading Actor. If you’re a Denzel Washington fan, Training Day is certainly different from other characters through this point in his career. Alonzo Harris is certainly unlike any of Denzel’s heroic characters in the past. He’s an antagonist to Ethan’s Office Jake Hoyt. But even if Alonzo’s ethics is uncomfortable for audiences, the actor elevates the character off the page. Listen, there’s a reason why Denzel Washington won the Oscar for his work. He should have more Oscars by now but you can blame that on the Academy.
David Ayer’s script brings a lot of authenticity because he sets the film in an area of the city where he grew up. That’s my understanding based on the featurette. When Antoine Fuqua came on board to replace Davis Guggenheim as director, he brought with him his own approach to the film. No offense to Guggeinheim but I cannot imagine anyone but Fuqua directing the film. Training Day doesn’t take place in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, or Hollywood. The film takes us to locations in Los Angeles where audiences rarely get to see on the big screen. A news camera might come through when something bad happens but that’s just the reputation that the neighborhoods have.
Training Day would not be the film it is without the gritty authenticity for its time. The physical 4K UHD disc will not be available until February 28 but you can buy it digitally in 4K UHD right now.
- Commentary by director Antoine Fuqua
- Training Day: Crossing The Line Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternative Endings
- Theatrical Trailer
- 2 Music Videos
- Nelly’s “#1” music video
- Pharoahe Monch’s “Got You” music video
DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua
SCREENWRITER: David Ayer
CAST: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger, Harris Yulin, Raymond J. Barry, Cliff Curtis, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Charlotte Ayanna, Eva Mendes
Warner Bros. released Training Day in theaters on October 5, 2001. Grade: 4/5
Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.