Wednesday, January 11, 2006

King Kong ain't got shit on Training Day

There needs to be a book written on Training Day to establish a whole new set of rules for character relations in that movie. I mean honestly.... it breaks almost every rule ever created except that white cop = good guy. The only guideline the remarkably comes close to being honored is the relationship between the Younger and Elder. Jake Hoyt is established as the "rookie" (and obviously pointed out by everyone so you can't possibly miss that fact) and Alonzo is the seasoned veteran of the Narcotics division. As the elder, Alonzo asserts his dominance upon Jake in drastically rougher ways than we've witnessed in any of the other films. Jake even has his own out-of-control-let's-chase-a-bad-guy scene when he jumps out of the car and takes down 2 hispanics attempting to rape a girl. But by no means does Alonzo EVER miss out on the action. In fact, I think he enjoys it more than Jake. However, Alonzo is by no means the better dressed of the two, as is usually the case for the black cop. Not to mention that the rookie is by far the most innocent and naive character to which we spend half the film wondering if he will actually step up to the plate and play Hero. Cythia Fuchs ( said it best in that Jake "might be the younger, dumber brother of Brad Pitt's character in Seven."

I wanted to point out several scripted alliterations for racism that no one else has discussed. To begin, there is a significant portion of the movie giving focus to Alonzo's line: "To protect the sheep, you have to catch the wolf. It takes a wolf to catch a wolf." Guerrero would have a field day with this. Wolves are a dark grey color, if not black and sheep are white. This also alludes to the fact that criminals are associated with the darker side of everything while the everyday people must be white sheep because they are innocent and need protecting. But if this analogy holds true, it would mean that the cops, or wolves that are catching, are also associated with the same darkness and crookedness. In Alonzo's world, that is entirely true. He even begins howling like a wolf and encourages Jake to do the same. Jake, however, can never produce and acceptable howl of a wolf which can signify right there that he's not a wolf. Or if he is, he's an albino one.

(Right here was where I had a really great long paragraph that I accidentally deleted and couldn't restore... so here's my abreviated version!)

The other suggestion of racism that is embedded in the script is the references to King Kong. A significant chunk of the end of the movie allows for this connection to be brought into the open. Ironically enough, Alonzo lives in an area of town called "The Jungle" because of the dangerous gangs inhabiting the neighborhood. Once surrounded by his neighbors, he cries out that he is the king of his neighborhood because he has the power to send them to jail or let them stay at home. As if that's not enough, Alonzo then screams out that "King Kong ain't got shit on me!" At this point, that is probably very true. At least King Kong was a cute oversized gorilla you could empathize with. In saying this, Alonzo openly brings to the forefront every aspect of racism that can be applied to both King Kong and Training Day. King Kong's a black ape, therefore bad and wreaks havoc upon the city until he is destroyed by the white innocent citizens. Well just like King Kong, Alonzo is dismantled from his Empire State Building by Jake, his neighbors, and eventually the Russians (who must have put over 100 bullets into his body). Training Day allows for these instances of racism, degredation, and crookedness to come to the forefront with minorities being responsible for everything.


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