By Douglas Helm | Published
Training Day, one of the best Denzel Washington movies of all time, is on its way to Netflix on November 1. The classic 2001 film had not only career-best performances from Washington and his co-star Ethan Hawke, but it was the breakout hit for director Antoine Fuqua as well. If you’re looking for an all-time classic crime thriller to watch this week, this will be the one to throw on.
Training Day follows LAPD officer Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke), a cop who is up for a promotion. He is assigned to narcotics officer Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) who is in charge of evaluating him and showing him the ropes. However, the day doesn’t go the way Hoyt expects as Harris isn’t quite what he seems.
Denzel Washington gives such a tour de force performance that it netted him his first Oscar win for Best Actor. Ethan Hawke’s fantastic, though less flashy performance, also earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Along with Washington and Hawke, the film also features great performances from co-stars Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eva Mendes, Raymond Cruz, Noel Gugliemi, Nick Chinlund, Jamie P. Gomez, Peter Greene, and Macy Gray.
Training Day would also be the beginning of a long and fruitful working relationship between director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington. The two would work together again on a remake of The Magnificent Seven before striking box office gold with The Equalizer franchise. Now with two movies in the franchise under their belts, they’re filming The Equalizer 3, which will co-star Dakota Fanning and release in 2023.
The popularity of Training Day hasn’t really waned over the years, as the movie became enough of a classic that a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TV series was made for CBS. The series starred Bill Paxton and unfortunately was canceled after one season due to Paxton’s passing. However, the Training Day train will move on as there is currently a prequel film in the works at Warner Bros. that will follow a younger version of Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris.
The prequel is titled Training Day: Day of the Riot and will follow a young Alonzo Harris two days before the verdict of the Rodney King trial and the LA riots. If the prequel manages to find some success, there’s always the possibility that we could get more Training Day projects in the future. It’s unlikely Denzel Washington would be involved, but the original premise gives creators plenty to work from.
Training Day was a modest box office hit when it was released and the movie has only grown in popularity over the years. After its theater run, the film managed to bring in $104.9 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of around $45 million. Interestingly, the release date of the film was pushed back after the September 11 attacks, leading to the film coming out on October 5 and opening at number one.
As for critical reception, it goes without saying that Training Day was a hit. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critic score sits at a respectable 73% and the audience score is at an impressive 89%. Almost all the reviews praise Denzel Washington’s titanic performance.
Training Day is a tightly directed and scripted thriller through and through. The film runs just over two hours and it doesn’t waste a minute. If you’re looking for an impactful thriller that has all-time great performances from A-List actors like Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, you could certainly do worse than this one.
If you’re looking for new performances from Denzel Washington, you’ll have to wait until The Equalizer 3 drops. Fortunately, Washington gave us a recent performance in 2021 with The Tragedy of Macbeth, which saw him portray the classic Shakespeare character. That’s streaming on Apple TV+ if you want to see Denzel’s most recent effort.
As for Antoine Fuqua, you can see his next directorial effort on Apple TV+ on December 9. Fuqua directs Will Smith in the upcoming Emancipation, which stars Smith as a runaway slave escaping plantation owners in Louisana. After that, we’ll get to see Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington team up once again for The Equalizer 3 which is set to come out on September 1, 2023.
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