April 28, 2006

Training Day (2001)
Warner Home Video

122 mins. · R
Letterboxed · 2.35:1

Format
UMD

Audio
E

Subtitles
French, Norwegian

Extras


Starring
Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Eva Mendes

Review by
John Nieves


Rating



(2001)

You think you've had a bad first day at work? On his first day as a Rookie Narcotics Officer, Jack Hoyt is assigned to Alonzo Harris; an LAPD Narcotics Detective that doesn't always play by the rules. Through a period of 24 hours, Hoyt learns the hard way that not everyone plays by the same set of rules.

To say anything else about this story is to give away the best aspects of it. Ethan Hawke plays the role of Jack Hoyt was the perfect actor for this role. He plays the naïve but not stupid type very well and by the end of the movie, his character is significantly different than in the beginning of the film. Hawke isn't really known for playing big roles, but it certainly isn't because of his acting skills. He definitely holds his own with Denzel Washington which is definitely not a small feat, especially considering that this is the role that won Denzel an Oscar for best actor.

As far as Denzel Washington goes, this is one of his more powerful performances. Washington is primarily known for playing "good guy" roles, so it was surprising to see such a departure from his usual squeaky clean image. As soon as Washington's character Alonzo is introduced on screen, there is a certain charisma about him that you immediately like. You soon find out that Alonzo doesn't always do things by the book, and Washington's performance shines every step of the way. Some have stated that Sean Penn or Russell Crowe had the Oscar stolen from them due to the fact that they were looking for a more "diverse" winner, but I find this to be an unfair statement. The fact is the movie "Training Day" is carried by Denzel's performance and wouldn't be half as good as it is without him. His role in this film paved the way for him to do some grittier roles such as Man on Fire. Eva Mendes is also in this movie in one of her first roles on film. I have two words for you: Nude scene.

Granted, this movie doesn't do anything particularly unique or groundbreaking, but it's an entertaining story about power, corruption, and what it does to people that have no business having it in the first place. As said before, Denzel's performance makes the movie and King Kong certainly does not have **** on him.

"Training Day" is presented in a format that preserves its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The picture itself is clear and crisp although admittedly not as sharp as the Matrix transfer from Warner Brothers. The one thing it does have going for it is that unlike most Warner Home Video releases, "Training Day's" brightness levels are much improved. Granted it's still a little bit too bright, especially compared to the DVD release but it's significantly improved when compared to other Warner Home Video releases. Overall, it's a solid transfer that doesn't have any significant flaws that are worth lamenting over.

The audio is above average. It does a good job of separation between left and right but I found the volume level to be lacking. Nothing really offends, but nothing really sticks out; an overall an admirable job.

As far as extras goes, Warner was nice enough to once again give us nothing. Much like "Dukes of Hazard" and "The Matrix," "Training Day" has no extras to speak of. Another thing that it has in common with said releases is that neither of them has an English subtitle track but have a Norwegian subtitle track in their place, weird.

Overall, "Training Day" is a very good film that has a lot of things going for it. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke is good, and Denzel's performance is even better. There are a few plot holes in the story, especially towards the end but nothing that will ruin the movie for you. As a movie, I definitely recommend seeing this. As an UMD I can't fully endorse this movie because it doesn't have a whole lot to offer other than it being portable. If you don't care about extras and just want to see a good cop movie on the go, then you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, I've seen the DVD version be as low ass $6.99 to $9.99, and it has Commentary as well as deleted scenes. I find it hard to recommend something that has neither, yet somehow is at least ten dollars more. "Training Day" is a great movie with a lacking UMD release.

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