• James Rutherford

'Training Day': A Blistering Thriller About a Rookie Cop Under the Tutelage of a Malicious Svengali


Movie poster for the film Training Day starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke

Training Day (2001) is a blistering and provocative crime thriller starring Denzel Washington as Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris, a veteran in the Los Angeles Police Departments's Narcotics Division. Thoroughly corrupted and wantonly deceitful, Harris is assigned to a day-long evaluation of rookie officer Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) on his first day with the division.


Escorting Hoyt through the seedier streets of metropolitan Los Angeles, Harris cajoles the naive rookie into repeated transgressions—including smoking PCP confiscated from a group of college students. Painting his tutelage as valuable insights into the true nature of the job, Harris steals from suspects, colludes with gang members and orchestrates summary executions—before it is ultimately revealed that Harris himself is under a hit order from the Russian Mafia. Desperate to evade his pursuers and pay off overwhelming debts, Harris' intentions for Hoyt soon reveal themselves as rife with malicious intent.


Written by David Ayer (End of Watch) and directed by Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer), Training Day is a fierce and propulsive thrill-ride featuring a tense narrative balanced impeccably between the steadfast Hoyt and the thoroughly unhinged Harris. Washington elevates the proceedings tremendously in his Oscar-winning portrayal of a deeply nefarious individual desperate for recusal and survival at all costs. It's bristling, edge-of-your-seat entertainment replete with plenty of thrills and a surprising dose of acuity.

 

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