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Training Day

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Rented this with my mom.

Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.  It's hard to beat that pair.  But the story didn't really do it for me.  The previews strongly hint that Denzel is a rouge cop, and that was pretty much the story.  The plot twists really didn't intrigue me all that much.

What you learn early in the movie is that Denzel is head of a group of narcotics cops with a superstar image.  He gets to pick and choose who's allowed on his team.   Hawke is a fairly rookie cop who's "auditioning" with Denzel for a day.

I think one problem with the story was they decided to hide too much info until the end.  Several times there are references in conversations with Denzel about a problem he has, "...the Russians..." and he waves it off, saying it's under control.   We don't learn until the last fifteen mins of the movie what that's all about.   So the whole time, we know something specific is wrong, but I don't think there's any way for the audience to know ahead of time what it is.

For me, that hurt the movie.  It made it impossible to read Denzel's motivations.   Nor could you make out the motives of the other characters.  The old guy that they meet early, the power guys they meet at lunch, even the thugs they meet later.   Some of them are spelled out when they reveal Denzel's dilemma, but others I'm still not sure about.  Possibly, if I saw it again I'd pick up the clues.

Some of the plot twists are mildly interesting.  The depth to which Denzel manipulated the situation.  The serendipitous event that saved Hawke's life (I figured it out very early in the scene.)  But they weren't able to help the story for some reason.

I didn't have time to look at any of the extras on the DVD.  Scott Warren says that some of the deleted scenes fill in some necessary holes.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View with Dinner.  Obviously, top-notch acting.  But they left some of the back-story until too late.   Hurt the comprehension.


Editing history:

20/MAY/02 Changed rating from Rental with Dinner.

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