Movie title: Training Day (2001)
Director(s): Antoine Fuqua
Actor(s): Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger , Harris Yulin,, Raymond J. Barry
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Action, Drama
For many years, Denzel Washington was known for playing good guys and heroic figures. This all changed with the release of Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day. Washington plays Alonzo Harris, a crooked narcotics cop who long ago stopped caring about the law he had sworn to uphold. He’s a disturbing reminder of every police scandal—Rodney King, the Rampart anti-gang squad, etc.–that plagued the 1990’s. Along the way, male-bully culture is dialed up to eleven.
On this day, Alonzo is training a new narcotics cop. On the force for nineteen months, Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is a by-the-book type of guy, eager for a promotion. As Jake prepares to head into the station for roll call, he receives a call from Alonzo. Skip all that and meet him at a restaurant. The leader of five officers, Alonzo will determine whether Jake is trustworthy enough after this one day of training to permanently join his elite undercover narc unit.
It quickly becomes apparent that Alonzo doesn’t play by the book. Immediately, he begins playing mind games with Jake, making it clear: Do things my way or its back to boring police work and no chance of promotion. Jake considers leaving, but his ambition and the fast-paced action sucks him back in. Using his souped up Monte Carlo as an “office,” Alonzo urges Jake to smoke marijuana and later tells him the pot was laced with PCP. After all, Alonzo says, how can you be a narc if you don’t know what pot tastes like? That’s the kind of thing that endangers your life on the streets. Having now tainted a possible hero, Training Day makes a stark statement about undercover work. Now, Jake must fight to regain his sense of right and wrong or fall victim to his ambition.
Primarily known for directing music videos for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Prince and Toni Braxton, Antoine Fuqua made the switch to feature films with the largely forgotten The Replacement Killers in 1998 and followed that up in 2000 with the equally forgettable Bait. Training Day marked his first collaboration with Denzel Washington and Hawke. Fuqua would go on to direct both in three later films (all three would reunite for the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven). Both Washington received Oscar nominations for their roles in Training Day. Denzel Washington took home the Best Actor award, for a performance many critics called the best of his career.
Presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Warner Bros. has created a new 4K scan for this release. The result is an excellent looking transfer that captures both the grit and the beauty of Los Angeles. Sharp and crisp throughout, color saturation is solid, despite some apparent tweaking. A clear upgrade from previous HD DVD and Blu-ray releases, a high level of detail is immediately obvious, particularly facial features and textures. Contrast is excellent, offering inky blacks and effective shadow detail. Those without HDR may experience a darker than usual look during some nighttime scenes. The image is clean, with no apparent blemishes.
The newly mixed Dolby Atmos track (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) offers a front heavy soundstage with impressive stereo separation. Added by wonderful bass, surrounds are fully engaged during helicopter flyovers ands other effects. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout.
English SDH, Spanish and Parisian French subtitles are included.
Training Day comes with a redeemable digital code. Aside from the audio commentary, all special features are found on the included Blu-ray disc. All special features are encoded in HD, but they look upconverted from standard definition. Sadly, there’s nothing new here, all the special features have been available on previously released editions:
- Audio Commentary with Director Antoine Fuqua
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:33)
- Alternate Ending (HD, 4:46)
- Training Day: Crossing the Line (HD, 15:02)
- Music Videos:
- Nelly “#1” (HD, 4:10)
- Pharoahe Monch “Got You” (HD, 4:21)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:24)