|Directed by||Antoine Fuqua|
|Written by||David Ayer|
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|Edited by||Conrad Buff|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$104.9 million|
Training Day is a 2001 American crime thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Ayer. It stars Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, two LAPD narcotics officers over a 24-hour period in the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Westlake, Echo Park and South Central Los Angeles. It also stars Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in supporting roles.
Training Day was released on October 5, 2001 by Warner Bros. Pictures. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised Washington and Hawke's performances but were divided on the screenplay. It was a commercial success, grossing $104 million worldwide against a production budget of $45 million.
The film received numerous accolades and nominations, with Washington's performance earning him the Academy Award for Best Actor and Hawke being nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 74th Academy Awards.
A television series based on the film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, was announced in August 2015 and premiered February 2, 2017 on CBS, but was cancelled after one season. A prequel about a young Alonzo Harris was announced in October 2019 as currently being in development by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Ambitious LAPD Officer Jake Hoyt is up for promotion and is assigned to Detective Alonzo Harris, a highly-decorated narcotics officer, for a one-day evaluation. Driving around in Alonzo's Monte Carlo, they begin the day by catching some college kids buying cannabis. Confiscating their drugs, Alonzo puts them into a pipe and tells Jake to smoke it. When Jake refuses, Alonzo threatens him at gunpoint, stating that refusing like this while on the streets would get him killed. Jake smokes the pipe, and Alonzo tells him that it was laced with PCP. After paying a visit to Roger, an ex-cop turned drug dealer, Jake notices a pair of addicts attempting to rape a teenage girl in an alley. Jake intervenes while Alonzo watches. After the girl leaves and Alonzo scares the addicts off, Jake finds the girl's wallet on the ground and retrieves it.
Later, Alonzo and Jake apprehend a dealer named Blue, finding crack rocks and a loaded handgun on him. Rather than go to jail, Blue informs on his employer Kevin "Sandman" Miller, who is in prison. Using a fake search warrant, Alonzo steals $40,000 from Sandman's home. At lunch, the two visit Alonzo's mistress Sara and their young son. Alonzo then meets with a trio of corrupt high-ranking police officials he dubs as the "Three Wise Men". Aware that the Russian Mafia is hunting Alonzo, they suggest that he skip town. Alonzo insists he has control of the situation, and trades Sandman's drug money for an arrest warrant.
Using the warrant, Alonzo, Jake, and four other narcotics officers return to Roger's house and seize $4 million from the premises, a quarter of which Alonzo keeps. Alonzo shoots and kills Roger when Jake refuses to do so, and stages the scene with his men to make the shooting justified. Infuriated, Jake gets into a Mexican standoff with the corrupt officers; Alonzo threatens Jake by reminding him of the LAPD's routine blood test, which will identify the PCP-laced cannabis Jake smoked earlier and end his career. Alonzo promises to protect Jake for his cooperation, and Jake is forced to comply.
Later that evening, Alonzo drives Jake to the home of a Sureño gangster named "Smiley" for an errand. Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and his fellow gang members as he waits for Alonzo. As they talk, Smiley reveals Alonzo's situation: by midnight tonight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russians for killing one of their men in Las Vegas, or be killed himself. Realizing that Alonzo abandoned him and has paid Smiley to kill him, Jake attempts to flee but is beaten and dragged to the bathroom to be executed. Before they can kill Jake, a gang member searches him for money and finds the wallet of the teenage girl, who happens to be Smiley's cousin. After calling his cousin and confirming how Jake had saved her, Smiley releases Jake.
Jake returns to Sara's apartment to arrest Alonzo, just as he is leaving to pay the Russians with Roger's money. A gunfight and chase ensue, and Alonzo is eventually subdued on the street while the entire neighborhood (who despises Alonzo) gathers to watch. Alonzo offers money to whoever kills Jake, but nobody is interested. Jake then takes the stolen cash, intending to submit it as criminal evidence against Alonzo. The neighborhood gang allows Jake to leave as an infuriated Alonzo watches.
Alonzo flees for his life to LAX, but he is ambushed and killed by the Russians. Jake returns home as the press reports on Alonzo's death.
- Denzel Washington as Detective Alonzo Harris
- Ethan Hawke as Officer Jake Hoyt
- Scott Glenn as Roger
- Eva Mendes as Sara
- Cliff Curtis as 'Smiley'
- Raymond Cruz as 'Sniper'
- Noel Gugliemi as Moreno
- Dr. Dre as Detective Paul
- Peter Greene as Detective Jeff
- Nick Chinlund as Detective Tim
- Jaime P. Gomez as Detective Mark
- Snoop Dogg as 'Blue'
- Macy Gray as Sandman's Wife
- Charlotte Ayanna as Lisa Hoyt
- Harris Yulin as Detective Doug Rosselli
- Tom Berenger as Detective Stanley 'Stan' Gursky
- Raymond J. Barry as Captain Lou Jacobs
- Samantha Esteban as 'Letty'
- Seidy López as 'Dreamer'
- Rudy Perez as 'Pee-Wee'
- Cle Shaheed Sloan as 'Bone'
- Abel Soto as Neto
- Denzel Whitaker as Dimitri
- Fran Kranz as College Driver
- Terry Crews as Pigeon Flipper
Although corruption in L.A.'s C.R.A.S.H. unit was yet to be exposed when Training Day was written, Antoine Fuqua has stated that the emergence of the Rampart Scandal in the late 1990s catalyzed the completion of the film. Denzel Washington also grew a beard in order to emulate the appearance of Rafael Pérez, an LAPD narcotics officer involved in multiple scandals. 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."
Fuqua also saw Ethan 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. He has said that he fought with studio executives who wanted to cut the Three Wise Men scene, thinking it slowed the film. He 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.
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 film crew to be brought into that neighborhood. The crew also filmed in Hoover Block and Baldwin Village. 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, the actors and crew ended up receiving a warm welcome from local residents. When he 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.
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".
Training Day was originally scheduled for release on September 21, 2001, and had a strong advertising push. However, following the September 11 attacks, the film was pushed back until October 5, 2001, and opened at number one, grossing $24.2 million. In its second week of release, the film's grossed $13.4 million, staying at the number one position. The film stayed in the top-ten box office until the seventh week of release, landing at number 12. With an estimated budget of $45 million, Training Day ultimately grossed $76.6 million in the US and $104.9 million worldwide.
On review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating 73% based on 160 reviews, with an average rating of 6.48/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The ending may be less than satisfying, but Denzel Washington reminds us why he's such a great actor in this taut and brutal police drama." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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."
Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen gave the film a positive review on September 12, 2016 when he stated: "Denzel Washington ventures into the dark side as a seriously corrupt narcotics cop in Training Day, and the results are electrifying. So is the picture, thanks to taut, sinewy direction by Antoine Fuqua and a compelling script by David Ayer (The Fast and the Furious)."
Denzel Washington's performance as Detective Alonzo Harris was highly praised by critics. Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert said: "Washington seems to enjoy a performance that's over the top and down the other side". In The Village Voice, Amy Taubin expressed: "Training Day, Antoine Fuqua's propulsive, elegantly written police thriller, offers the unsettling spectacle of Denzel Washington, whose old-fashioned combination of decency and sexiness suggests the African American counterpart to Gregory Peck (in his To Kill a Mockingbird period), as an LAPD cop so evil he makes Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant look like even smaller potatoes than he was meant to be".
TV series adaptation
On August 7, 2015, it was announced that Antoine Fuqua had decided to develop a television series based on the movie, and had teamed with Jerry Bruckheimer to develop the concept. Warner Bros. Television was shopping the show to the American broadcast networks. Will Beall would write the series, while Fuqua would serve as executive producer, and would direct the potential pilot. CBS ordered a pilot on August 14, 2015. In addition to Fuqua, Bruckheimer, Beall, and Jonathan Littman will serve as executive producers for the series, which is set 15 years after the original film. In May 2016, CBS picked up the series.
In the CBS television series Alonzo is mentioned by Deputy Chief Joy Lockhart when briefing Officer Kyle Craig on sending him undercover at LAPD's Special Investigation Section to investigate Detective Frank Roarke. Frank briefly mentions Alonzo at the end of the first season. The series, starring Bill Paxton and Justin Cornwell premiered on February 2, 2017.
On May 17, 2017, Antonie Fuqua announced the series had been canceled after one season and four months after Paxton's death.
In October 2019, it was reported that Warner Bros. was developing a prequel to Training Day. The prequel follows a young Alonzo Harris in late April 1992, two days before the verdict of the Rodney King trial and the L.A. riots.
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