Friday, August 19, 2005

Training Day: How to ruin your night in 122 minutes

****SPOILER ALERT**** But you'll thank me

I completely hated this movie. Not because of poor acting - Denzel portrays a sociopathic corrupt cop with unerring accuracy. I loathed his character five minutes into the movie. Ethan Hawke does his best to play Jake, a hapless rookie trying to impress his new boss. But the problem is that the new boss is psychotic, and that's where the story loses me.

Perhaps if it had been called "Training Week" or "Training Month" I could have bought it. But what were they thinking? O.k., here's the pitch: (Sidebar - anyone who has seen Tim Robbins in The Player knows how it works) Idea guy has the first appointment of the day with the studio exec. The exec hasn't had his ambien wear off yet, and is pretty groggy at the Beverly Hills restaurant they are breakfasting at. The idea guys says, "here it is. A rookie cop spends the day with his new boss, the leader of an elite narcotics squad. The rookie wants to make good. But the mayhem starts when he quickly finds out this is one dirty cop. But instead of leaving he spends the entire day with him as he spirals deeper and deeper into the abyss of corruption that is LA's police force." The studio exec spots Bruce Willis walking past his table - "Bruce, baby! How ya doin'?" "Great!, great!" The exec turns back to the idea guy, "what were you saying? "Yeah, yeah, dirty cops in L.A. Do people get killed?" "I like it, I'll take a look."

In one early scene, before all the big evil has occurred, Denzel holds his gun to our young cop's head. Now, it's clear to all that this is one crazy ass mofo. But what does Ethan do? Does he run back to the squadroom (I assume it's called that) and say, "Jesus Christ I need a reassignment!" No. He caves in to the pressure. The movie lost me right then and there.

The biggest insult of all was when the credits rolled and I saw the director's name pop up: Directed by....Antoine Fuqua! I jumped off the sofa and clenched my fists. It's official. I refuse to watch anything else directed by that man. After being rooked into watching his EPIC film "King Arthur" I thought I had sworn him off for good. But this one snuck in when I wasn't looking.

Certain folks deserve some kudos. Macy Gray played a convict's wife and her drug deficient shakes chilled me. Snoop played a crack dealer, and while that might not be much of a stretch, he was wheelchair bound and it didn't stop his badass attitude. There was a good line delivered by Denzel as he walked past a plump latina: "Hmmm, mmmm, all that jelly, and no toast."

1 comment:

Chris said...

Ultimately, it's built into the name. Fuqua. It's right there. He's giving you a big "fuqua you" for bothering to watch his flicks.

Now, go rent SHAWN OF THE DEAD and prepare to laugh portions of your nether regions right off.