Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by:David Ayer
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger, Cliff Curtis, Snoop Doggy Dogg
Released: November 15, 2001
Grade: C+

There’s a difference between a police officer and a police detective.  One follows the book and the other doesn’t but they’re both work for what we all believe in - justice.  They are however, human beings and with their important role of enforcing “justice” are even more vulnerable to greed and corruption.  Occasionally someone makes a mistake, gets busted and it’s headline material for a couple of days.  But who’s to say how corruption goes on behind the scenes that never has and never will be brought to public light?

Jake Hoyt (Hawke) is a young army officer who wants to become a detective to fight battles closer to home.  He’s been assigned to assist Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington) but Jake must satisfy Alonzo’s criteria in a rigorous first “training day” if he’s any chance of making a career.

Jake’s inexperienced to the biz but he’s certainly not blind sighted by his surroundings.  Soon realising that things aren’t done per the manual, he’s abruptly forced to evaluate his own ethics in a life defining moment.  Is it worth bending the rules if better justice can be served?  Does the means justify the end or should the end justify the means?

Training Day begins as a very interesting exploration of corruption and the theory of justice but is ruined but a ludicrous ending that I should have expected.  Without revealing too much, there’s an absurd plot twist involving Jake in a bathtub that sends the film into a downward spiral.  The bloody yet laughable finale, manufactured to satisfy the audience, contradicts the seriousness of the issues explored.

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke are accomplished actors and I loved the lengthy character development between the two during the early scenes.  Both are intrigued by the other for different reasons and their conversations seek to suss out their true motives and intentions.  The disappointing conclusion lets both actors down in forcing Washington to overplay his role and Hawke to miraculously transform his persona.

Senseless violence is employed to add gravity to the situation but only serves as a distraction.  Screenwriter David Ayer was also responsible for last year’s WWII submarine drama, U-571, and this year’s smash, The Fast And The Furious.  I’m surprised Ayer gets credit since all three scripts had major flaws and a lack of substance.

There’s a pitiful running gag throughout the film where Alonzo tells his targets “do you want to go to jail or do you want to go home” in an endeavour to get them to confess and avoid police involvement.  I could ask a similar question.  Do you want to go to see Training Day or do you want to go home?  It’s a rhetorical question.