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HTF REVIEW: "Training Day" - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


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#1 of 113 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 09 2002 - 11:46 AM

Posted Image

Training Day


"To protect the sheep you gotta
catch the wolf"


Holy Cow! Wow!

When was the last time you saw a movie that
kept you riveted to the screen wondering what
was going to happen next? I have just the movie
for you.

The alarm clock hits 5:00am. It's the first
day of an important new job for Rookie Cop
Jack Hoyt (Etahn Hawke). He's nervous. Role
call is in a few mere hours and he wants to
make a good impression. It has been his dream
to become a Police officer, and this is the big
day.

He gets sidetracked. The phone rings. A voice
tells him not to show up for role call, but to
meet at a local coffee shop. Within the hour,
Officer Hoyt is sitting across from Alonzo Harris
(Denzel Washington), an unconventional rogue
undercover veteran. For the next 24 hours, Harris
takes Hoyt on the challenge of his life.

Departing from the normal "good guy" role that
he is so well known for, Denzel Washington plays
perhaps the most memorable role of his career as
a charismatic detective who seems to have everyone
under his thumb.

From start to finish, this movie is a well written,
well directed and incredibly well acted thriller.
I have never sat and watched a film anticipating
what is going to happen next as the plot gets deeper
and more twisted by every passing moment.


How is the transfer?


It sort of gets repetitious in my reviews to
praise Warner Brothers on their transfers. However,
I have to be honest, Warner is putting out some
of the best transfers today. The anamorphic (2.35:1)
widescreen transfer is absolutely flawless.

Even more impressive is the 5.1 Dolby Digital
soundtrack. This is an extremely active mix that
takes you into the roughest neighborhoods and puts
you smack in the middle of it all. The speakers
become the streets. Voices of gangmembers alarmingly
emanate from each channel. In the rear you hear
traffic go by or a plane fly overhead. There is
never a moment that mix doesn't remind you that there
is a street world surrounding you.


Special Features

A feature-length commentary is provided by
Director Antoine Fuqua. I listened to the first
20 minutes of the documentary which moves slowly
through each scene. We learn that the coffee shop
scene was actually the first day of shooting, and
that all the actors and crew were very nervous that
day. Antoine also talks about the game of chess that
this movie so skillfully plays, and the importance of
building the story layer by layer.


"This is the story of a guy who is twisted",
exclaims actor Denzel Washington at the start of
The Making of Training Day. This 15-minute
HBO documentary talks about the authenticity of
the film. Written by David Ayer, a white kid that
grew up in the toughest area of L.A., the film
takes you into the grittiest parts of the city.
Many of the film's street scenes are shown from
behind-the-scenes as the cast talks about how much
they pushed each other to get this film done right.

There are a total of 5 Alternate Scenes that
are basically extensions of scenes already in place.
4 of these scenes are all street scenes that include
Denzel taunting the women walking the streets, asking
Ethan about his ethnic background, and reminiscing about
"back in the day". All of these cuts don't add anything
substantial to the film. The fifth deleted scene, however,
gives us more insight into what Smiley was supposed to do
after shooting Hoyte in the bathtub. The scene actually
evokes more sympathy for the Smiley character.

For a totally different twist to the story,
check out the added Alternate Ending of the
film that has Officer Hoyte meeting up with the three
wise men of the Department. Though it could easily
have worked well as substitute for the original
ending, it perhaps says too much.

There are two music videos included from Nelly
and Pharoahe Monch.

There is the standard cast and crew bios included
as well as the film's Theatrical Trailer.


Final Thoughts


There is no doubt that Training Day is
going to be a film that will be talked about for
the next few months. With its release on DVD, people
will be talking about how entertaining this film is.
It's not a big action movie, but yet, one of those movies
that allows you to kick back, take your mind off the world,
and watch something that will thoroughly surprise and
entertain you.

Worth a purchase sight unseen!


Release Date: March 19, 2002

 

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#2 of 113 OFFLINE   Nick Sievers

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Posted February 09 2002 - 11:59 AM

When I saw this film at the theatre I was very impressed with it, I put my order down for the disc back when it was announced. The only downer for me was towards the end of the film it just seemed to run on auto-pilot a little but it is still a highly recommended film, and it seems as though Warner have given us another great release with a great transfer, audio and a nice batch of extra's.
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#3 of 113 OFFLINE   Joe Solek

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Posted February 09 2002 - 12:05 PM

Ron, I saw this film in the theater and I was awe struck by Denzel's performance. I don't think I have ever seen such an evil character portrayed so well as in this movie. Can't wait for the release.

#4 of 113 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted February 09 2002 - 12:09 PM

If Denzel Washington doesn't at least get nominated for his performance, then something is wrong. I'm very much looking forward to this DVD next month.

#5 of 113 OFFLINE   Joshua Moran

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Posted February 09 2002 - 12:42 PM

Have not seen this film but I am now looking forward to it. Ron hasen't steered me wrong yet.

#6 of 113 OFFLINE   Sean Moon

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Posted February 09 2002 - 01:15 PM

Ron, please put a spoiler warning in your review of the deleted scenes...I have not seen the film yet and am anxiously awaiting it, and in your review you blatantly say
when smiley shoots hoyt in the tub
so immediately I know the fate of a character.
Glad to hear it is a great disc, but really wish there was a spoiler there.
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#7 of 113 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 09 2002 - 01:25 PM

Sean,
When somebody is going to discuss the deleted scenes on a dvd it would seem like a good idea for a person that never seen the film to skip over that section of the review. The same applies to alternative endings. Read those sections of the review at your own risk!


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#8 of 113 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted February 09 2002 - 01:49 PM

Then what is the point of the spoiler tag at all?

I guess some people can do no wrong.

#9 of 113 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 09 2002 - 01:52 PM

Quote:
I guess some people can do no wrong.

Or some people can't use their common sense to not read a section of a review that's properly labeled about deleted scenes and alternative endings.


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#10 of 113 OFFLINE   Sean Moon

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Posted February 09 2002 - 03:07 PM

but the spoiler tag was created for a reason.
If Ron had said a scene near the end where x event happens, such as someone coming to the apartment, instead of someone doing something else to another character, then I would have no problem.
I know when to shy away. There was no reference to spoiler material at all, and there should have been. Simple as that.
How about when the Others is reviewed (READ THE SPOILER AT YOUR OWN RISK)we dont put a spoiler tag and say that
Nicole Kidman and the kids are really the ghosts the whole time
Just trying to make a point.
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#11 of 113 OFFLINE   Douglas Bailey

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Posted February 09 2002 - 03:18 PM

Quote:
...some people can't use their common sense to not read a section of a review that's properly labeled about deleted scenes and alternative endings.
It is possible to discuss deleted scenes and alternate endings without giving away anything about those scenes and endings: it's done all the time in reviews. If, for example, character names weren't mentioned in the deleted scenes discussion, we'd have an idea of what happened but not to whom it happened, which would preserve some of the surprise value. It's up to Ron as to what details he gives his audience, but I agree with the two Seans that the spoiler tag would have been appropriate for the details he chose to mention.

Anyway, "common sense" is what tells you the Earth is flat. :-)

That all said, thanks to Ron for the review. I missed this film in the cinemas and had been wondering whether or not to pick up the DVD. It's now on its way over to my pre-order list.
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#12 of 113 OFFLINE   Scott-C

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Posted February 09 2002 - 03:43 PM

Quote:
Worth a purchase sight unseen!

Ron, thanks for the review. Heck, maybe I'll just save the $4 it will cost to rent this one and just pick it up for the 'ole collection. Sounds like a great movie, great transfer, and immersive soundtrack, plus some halfway decent extras - what more can you ask for? I did the same thing with The Fast and the Furious after reading your review and came away echoing your thoughts.

Denzel is a great actor so I imagine he must be fantastic in this film. I'm going to be seeing John Q on Tues. and I can't wait.

#13 of 113 OFFLINE   BobG

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Posted February 09 2002 - 04:51 PM

Is the theatrical trailer included on the disk?

#14 of 113 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted February 09 2002 - 06:36 PM

Sorry to be the nay-sayer of the thread...but I really didn't like this movie. I saw it theatrical and thought it was unbalanced in regards to the "rogue-cop" plot.
He wasn't a rogue cop, he was a criminal...talk about mis-promotion for the film. He didn't teach Hoyt anything, nor in hindsight, did I think he was trying to teach him anyway. The film is called training day...training day for what...? There was no moral ambiguity to Alonzo, he was a bad guy, plain and simple. It's not like a war film, where you learn that soldiers have to make decisions that result in life and death. All that Hoyt learned from Alonzo was to not be a criminal, unless he wanted to end up dead. That is why I had a problem with the film...it started out as a training day for Hoyt, but progressively turned into impossible event after impossible event. Sorry for the rant.
I did like Denzel's performance, and thought that it was the only thing redeamable in the film...but hey, that's just me.

Glad to see you liked it Ron, I'm sure this'll please many.
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#15 of 113 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted February 09 2002 - 08:10 PM

Posted Image Yup, gotta agree, that was a very enthusiastic and well done review, Ron. I have heard only good things about Denzel's performance in this film, and it is nice to know that Warner has done another top notch Audio/Video job. I think that Warner does the best transfers out there when they try.

Ron, would you say that the video quality is on par with 'Driven' ?

#16 of 113 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 09 2002 - 08:59 PM

A few things....

First of all, I did not ruin anything.
Anyone that has seen the movie -- particularly
the scene with Smiley and the bathtub -- knows
that I did not ruin anything for anyone.

The transfer is right up there with DRIVEN
and EXIT WOUNDS, two of Warner's top transfers,
though we are sort of talking apples vs. oranges. This
is not a COLORFUL movie like the other two. Colors do
not explode off the screen.

The Theatrical Trailer is included. Thought
I had mentioned that in the review. If not, I apologize
and I'll add that spec.

Again, I want to mention that although this film
isn't a high-budget overblown action movie, it does
succeed at being the most entertaining film I have
seen on DVD this year so far. It will be a DVD that
members will be discovering and talking about amongst
each other. I think it is Denzel Washington's most
memorable role of his career.

I am so glad you guys liked the review. It
has now become harder to write these reviews
as I get an average of 10 new titles a week
have to spend every bit of spare time watching
these films. This is time I don't have. Although
I only get to watch a fraction of what I receive,
I try to pick things that I know the membership will
be most interested in hearing about.

Thanks for the support, guys.

 

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#17 of 113 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 09 2002 - 09:16 PM

Quote:
First of all, I did not ruin anything.
Anyone that has seen the movie -- particularly
the scene with Smiley and the bathtub -- knows
that I did not ruin anything for anyone.

Ron,
You're right, certain people are making some assumptions.

Quote:
I think it is Denzel Washington's most
memorable role of his career.

Ron,
Well, you can't be right all the time!Posted Image Actually I believe his most memorable role is Malcolm X which is the film he should have won the AA for Best Actor. I have a suspicion that there is going to be an upset this year in the Best Actor category and Denzel is going to beat out Russell Crowe. The Academy is notorious for rewarding actors with AA's for not necessarily their best performances but as a makeup gesture for not rewarding them earlier due to certain politics or other timing issues.


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#18 of 113 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted February 09 2002 - 09:33 PM

I am looking forward to revisiting Training Day since after my first viewing, I was underwhelmed to say the least.

I thought it was a very average film, with a very typical, by the numbers Denzel Washington performance, meaning it was good, but IMO, not one of his best. Ethan Hawke was as good as Denzel, if not better. A slightly overrated film, but still a decent one. I recommend, as always, renting first.

I agree that Denzels best work was in Malcolm X, followed very closely by his Academy Award winning performance as Trip in Glory. His next film, John Q, looks interesting.

Also, Ron's review really didn't spoil anything, so rest easy fellas.Posted Image
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#19 of 113 OFFLINE   Josh_Hill

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Posted February 09 2002 - 10:10 PM

Hell yeah! I loved this movie when I saw it in theaters. This is gonna be a disc I pick up for sure. Denzel was fantastic.

#20 of 113 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted February 09 2002 - 10:39 PM

Thanks for the reply, Ron.

Glad to hear it is up there with 'Driven' and 'Exit Wounds' as far as video quality. That's just what I was hoping for from Warner. Posted Image




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