February 23, 2023

TRAINING DAY (4K): Delirious Denzel Gets an Upgrade

2001 / 122 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😺

Training Day doesn’t feature Denzel Washington’s best performance, but it is arguably his most uninhibited. We’re so used to him playing the hero - sometimes the flawed anti-hero - that watching him totally nail it as an irredeemable villain was sort of a revelation. That, more than anything, is probably why he took home an Oscar that year (and considering who he was up against, it was well deserved).

Over two decades later, he is the main reason Training Day remains compulsively watchable. It’s one of those movies where you just gotta drop everything to take in a little of Alonzo Harris' over-the-top badassery whenever it pops up on TV. Like Henry Fonda’s equally against-type turn as Frank in Once Upon a Time in the West, Alonzo is fascinating because he’s being played by Washington. He’s clearly having a good time being the bad guy and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Definitely not drinking decaf.
While Denzel’s scenery chewing tends to overshadow the rest of the cast, Ethan Hawke is also excellent as trainee Jake Hoyt, Alonzo's ethical antithesis. Though I suppose the role might seem comparatively thankless, Hoyt’s integrity and reactions are a frequent reminder that Alonzo is morally corrupt, remorseless and manipulative. Without him, chances are the audience would be rooting for Alonzo the entire time. Their increasingly adversarial relationship is tension-filled and compelling. More importantly, it smoothes over some of the film's weaker aspects, mainly a David Ayer screenplay that contains more than its share of plot contrivances and implausibilities.

As a modern action classic, Training Day is due for the 4K treatment. Perhaps overdue, considering the film’s enduring popularity. From a technical standpoint, the UHD disc is a significant upgrade from any previous releases, with a sharper, more vivid overall picture and a great Dolby Atmos audio track. Conversely, all the supplemental material - most of which are on the additional Blu-ray - is carried over from older versions. So this one is probably just for the videophiles.



TRAINING DAY: CROSSING THE LINE” - Making-of featurette.

2 MUSIC VIDEOS - “Got You,” by Pharoahe Monch; “#1,” by Nelly.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Antoine Fuqua.


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