Training Day (Buy it from us) should be in the conversation about the best modern cop movies ever made. It should be mentioned in the same breath one would mention Lethal Weapon or Copland or any of the other really seminal hard-edged films of the past twenty-five years. It’s a ferocious movie and crackling with a rare energy we don’t get enough of in this day and age. It also marks the current high water mark for director Antoine Fuqua (my Brooklyn’s Finest interview), star Ethan Hawke, and writer David Ayer. It also marks the only Best Actor win for Denzel Washington, an actor as capable as anyone of earning one with each film he appears in.
You know the story. Brash, charismatic, and viciously corrupt Los Angeles cop Alonzo Harris (Washington) takes a fresh candidate for his unit (Hawke) through the paces of one hell of a 24 hour period and all Hell breaks loose. Both men are changed drastically over the course of the day, one more so than the other.
You’ve seen this film. None of you haven’t seen this film, right?
It got a little backlash after it became a hit and won Denzel a gold dude, but it’s a film I revisit at least twice a year every year. Each time for different reasons. The great energy between the leads. That intense scene with Cliff Curtis and Raymond Cruz. The Scott Glenn scene. The Tom Berenger/Raymond Barry/Harris Yulin Scene (by the way I would totally watch a movie about those three characters). The big Oscar-winning speech at the end…
Today I just wanted to see Eva Mendes naked. You are welcome.
Today, I wanted to just peek and see if it was a full nudity scene for the now quite successful actress and indeed it is, though fleeting and somewhat disappointing. Once again the film pulled me in and didn’t let go until the end credits were rolling.
If you haven’t seen this you need to. If you haven’t in a while, you need to. If for some reason it doesn’t register as all that great in your mind, you need to clear your head and watch it again.
Maybe this wasn’t such a harbinger of great things to come for some of the participants. Ayer’s done some decent work (Harsh Times, Dark Blue) but nothing up to par with this. Hawke was vitalized by this and has doen some great work but nothing this complete. Even Denzel’s spent way too much time with Tony Scott to come back to this strength.
But we’ll always have Training Day. And it’s lovely.