Training Day

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Training Day
Training Day Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAntoine Fuqua
Produced byBobby Newmyer
Jeffrey Silver
Written byDavid Ayer
StarringDenzel Washington
Ethan Hawke
Music byMark Mancina
CinematographyMauro Fiore
Editing byConrad Buff
StudioVillage Roadshow Pictures
Outlaw Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05)
Running time122 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$45 million[1]
Box office$104.5 million[2]
 
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Training Day
Training Day Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAntoine Fuqua
Produced byBobby Newmyer
Jeffrey Silver
Written byDavid Ayer
StarringDenzel Washington
Ethan Hawke
Music byMark Mancina
CinematographyMauro Fiore
Editing byConrad Buff
StudioVillage Roadshow Pictures
Outlaw Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05)
Running time122 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$45 million[1]
Box office$104.5 million[2]

Training Day is a 2001 American crime drama film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Ayer, and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. The story follows two LAPD narcotics detectives over a 24-hour period in the gang neighborhoods of North West and South Central Los Angeles.

The film was a box office success and earned mostly positive critical appraisal. Washington's performance, a departure from his usual roles, was particularly praised and earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor at the 74th Academy Awards. His co-star Ethan Hawke was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a rookie cop. This film was also the debut of R&B singer Grammy-winner Macy Gray as an actress.

Plot[edit source | edit]

The film follows a single day in the life of a Los Angeles Police Department officer, Jake Hoyt (Hawke), who is scheduled to be evaluated by Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington), a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer. In Alonzo's car, the pair of officers observes teenage Mara Salvatrucha gang members dealing drugs in a park. Alonzo confiscates the drugs and tells Jake to take a hit from the marijuana. Jake initially refuses, but Alonzo puts a gun to his head and says Jake's failure to use drugs could get him killed by a street dealer.

Jake relents and smokes the marijuana, but shortly thereafter, Alonzo tells him the marijuana was laced with PCP. While driving, Jake notices a female high school student being sexually assaulted. Jake jumps out to help her and subdues the attackers, but Alonzo refuses to report the incident. He tells the girl to leave, telling Jake that the girl's gang member cousin will seek the attackers out to exact revenge. Jake discovers the girl's wallet on the ground and takes it.

Alonzo and Jake are later approached by a wheelchair bound drug dealer named Blue (Dogg). Blue suspects them of being the police and takes off, but is caught by Alonzo and Jake, who find crack rocks and a loaded handgun on his person. In exchange for not being charged, Blue gives them a name, Sandman. They find out Sandman is imprisoned and go to his home in Watts. Alonzo repeatedly delays giving the fake search warrant to Sandman's wife, which is actually a cover for Alonzo to steal drug money. When the wife realizes that she has been robbed, she calls out to the gang members in the nearby housing projects, and they engage the duo in a firefight. Barely managing to escape, an irate Jake again objects to Alonzo's actions. The duo then arrive at Baldwin Village to visit Alonzo's Salvadoran mistress Sara (Mendes) and their young son. Afterward, Alonzo meets with a group of high-ranking police officials dubbed the "Three Wise Men" (Berenger, Yulin, and Barry). They tell Alonzo they know he owes money to the Russian Mafia and suggest that he leave town. But Alonzo insists he can control the situation and gets permission from the Wise Men to "cash in on an account". Alonzo later tells Jake that he had to give Sandman's money to the Three Wise Men to obtain an arrest warrant.

Alonzo takes Jake and several other narcotic officers to the home of Roger (Glenn), a drug dealer and former police officer the two visited earlier. Using the warrant, they seize several million dollars from underneath the floor of Roger's kitchen, but Jake refuses to take his share of the cash. Alonzo then kills Roger and arranges the scene to appear like a justified shooting. Jake refuses to lie, and after being threatened seizes Alonzo's shotgun. A Mexican standoff ensues, with Jake threatening to shoot Alonzo while the other officers threaten to shoot Jake. Alonzo then reveals that the LAPD will run a blood test on Jake following the shooting. Alonzo offers to have the test results falsified in exchange for Jake's cooperation. Jake reluctantly agrees.

Alonzo then drives Jake to the home of a gangster named "Smiley" (Curtis), allegedly to run an errand. Alonzo gives Smiley a package of money, while Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and two other gang members. Jake engages in tense conversation with the three men before Smiley reveals to Jake that Alonzo has abandoned him, and explains Alonzo's situation: by midnight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russian mob for killing one of their couriers in Las Vegas or be killed himself. Jake realizes too late that Alonzo has paid Smiley to kill him and is subdued and dragged to the shower, but the men find the wallet he had picked up earlier from the girl he rescued, who is Smiley's cousin. Smiley calls the girl, who confirms that Jake defended her against the attackers. In gratitude for protecting his cousin, Smiley lets Jake go.

Jake returns to Sara's apartment looking for Alonzo. He attempts to arrest Alonzo, but Alonzo resists and they fight. Jake eventually subdues him, after which the local gang members and residents begin congregating to watch. Alonzo tries to get the crowd on his side by offering a reward to whoever kills Jake, but they have grown tired of Alonzo's arrogance and allow Jake to walk away with the money.

At Los Angeles International Airport, Alonzo is killed by Russian hitmen. Jake goes home to his wife, Lisa (Ayanna) and daughter, while a radio broadcast describes Alonzo's death while "serving a high-risk warrant near LAX".

Cast[edit source | edit]

Production[edit source | edit]

Fuqua wanted Washington's character to be seductive and part of a machine, and not just a random rogue cop. In Washington's own words:

I think in some ways he’s done his job too well. He’s learned how to manipulate, how to push the line further and further, and, in the process, he’s become more hard-core than some of the guys he’s chasing.[3]

As detailed on the DVD's commentary, Fuqua also saw Hawke's character as generally honorable but so driven by ambition that he was willing to compromise his principles, particularly when following the charming and persuasive example of Washington's character. Also in the DVD commentary, Fuqua says that he fought with studio executives who wanted to cut the Three Wise Men scene, thinking it slowed the film. Fuqua insisted that the Wise Men scene was pivotal in establishing that at least some of Alonzo's illegal actions were sanctioned by his superiors who regarded unethical behavior as a necessary evil.

Antoine Fuqua wanted Training Day to look as authentic as possible, and he shot on location in some of the most infamous neighborhoods of Los Angeles. He even obtained permission to shoot in the Imperial Courts housing project, the first time L.A. street gangs had allowed cameras to be brought into that neighborhood. The crew also filmed in Hoover Block and Baldwin Village.[4] Parts of the film were shot on a dead end street called Palmwood Drive, where the Black P. Stones Blood gang members were seen on the rooftops. Cle Shaheed Sloan, the gang technical advisor of Training Day, managed to get on screen real-life gang members from Rollin' 60 Crips, PJ Watts Crips, and B. P. Stones (a Bloods set).

According to Fuqua's commentary on the DVD release of the film, the actors and crew ended up receiving a warm welcome from local residents. When Fuqua was unable to shoot a scene directly on location, he recreated the locations on sets.

There were also two police officers on hand as technical advisors, Michael Patterson and Paul Lozada (the latter from the San Francisco Police Department). Washington, Hawke and other cast members also met with undercover police officers, local drug dealers, and gang members to help them understand their roles better.[4]

The coffee shop in the beginning of the film, called Quality Cafe, appears in many films, including Old School, Se7en, Ghost World, Sex and Death 101, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Catch Me If You Can.[4]

Release[edit source | edit]

Critical response[edit source | edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews upon release, and Denzel Washington's portrayal of Alonzo Harris gathered glowing praise from critics.

The review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 72% of critics gave positive reviews based on 152 reviews.[5] Roger Ebert gave the film three-out-of-four stars, praising both the lead and supporting actors and the film's gritty, kinetic energy. However, Ebert was bothered by several plot holes and wrote that "[a] lot of people are going to be leaving the theater as I did, wondering about the logic and plausibility of the last 15 minutes."[6]

Box office[edit source | edit]

The film was released in theaters on October 5, 2001, and was a box office hit, landing at #1. At its second week of release, the film's gross revenue was $13,386,457, landing again in the #1 position. The film stayed in the top-ten box office until the seventh week of release, landing at #12. With an estimated budget of $45 million, Training Day ultimately grossed $76,631,907 domestically and $104,876,233 worldwide.[7]

Music[edit source | edit]

A soundtrack containing hip hop music was released on September 11, 2001, by Priority Records. It peaked at 35 on the Billboard 200 and 19 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and spawned two hit singles, Nelly's "#1" and Dr. Dre and DJ Quik's "Put It on Me".

Accolades[edit source | edit]

Denzel Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2001, notably beating out Russell Crowe's performance as John Nash for A Beautiful Mind, and the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain in 2002 for his performance in Training Day, and Ethan Hawke was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2001 for the film.

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "Training Day". 
  2. ^ "Training Day". 
  3. ^ "Man on a mission". Rediff.com. October 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  4. ^ a b c "'Training Day' Production Notes". Warner Bros. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  5. ^ "Training Day". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 5, 2001). "Training Day". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "Training Day (2001)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2011-10-20.

External links[edit source | edit]