Training Day

Dir: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke

Hey, we all have bad days at work, but rookie dope cop Ethan Hawke's would take some beating. It starts off well enough, with Denzel Washington as his new superior, but it rapidly goes downhill as we soon learn that Washington is careering out of control, hunted by the Russian mafia, and prepared to go to any lengths in the acquisition of wealth. Oh, and he's intent on dragging Hawke with him. The film certainly has some great parts: the gradual unveiling of Washington's dubious morality is well-handled, and the scene where he proves that even murder's a viable option, is made plausible and chilling. Washington's performance also deserves mention, and should be filed alongside Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant in the Naughty Cop Hall of Fame. The problem is that there's nothing substantial from which to hang these characters or plot points, and you never really care about Washington's problems. He largely vanishes from the second half of the film, leaving Hawke to flounder somewhat, as he tries to struggle free. This does lead to a fabulous set piece with some Hispanic thugs - as soon as he sits down to play cards, you just know it'll all end in tears. But you can't help wondering why Washington didn't just shoot him and be done with it, rather than laying the sort of fiendishly evil trap that might almost be more at home in a Bond movie.


Ethan goes against 
the grain
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