Thursday, January 12, 2006


“You’re going to do some damage out here… Crimefighter.” (Alonzo , Training Day)

This line jumped out at me as I thought about this cop action movie on the whole. Alonzo was obviously completely right (though I doubted the authenticity of the comment) and by the end of the movie I think he encountered Jake doing more damage than he had anticipated. There was something about the acid-tongued detective Harris that just didn’t seem quite right from the very beginning when he is introduced in the diner. By the end we know how incredibly corrupt he was but it was the wonder at how his corruption would affect Jake that kept the plot going for me.

As an idealist, family man that just wanted to improve his quality of life, police officer Jake Hoyt was baptized by fire into what the mean streets of L.A. can be like. Also, the way they affect the people who originally set out to clean them up of violence and badness in general. Although both characters were given about equal amounts of screen time this was one of the easiest movies we’ve watched up to now for me to decide whom my hero would be. And my hero was…Jake Hoyt, the morally upright (slightly uptight), trained by a female, cop who jokingly said he should have been a fireman. I guess the villain is pretty easy to identify if you’re a fireman (it’s the fire).

Unfortunately for Jake it was a little harder to determine whether our black man of the movie actually had a good side or if he was just completely rotten on the inside while maintaining a rather decent looking outside. I was glad by the end when Hoyt finally is pushed over the edge into taking action. Although slightly hard to believe he could grow so much from one scene to the next, it seemed that all the advice that Alonzo had been spewing at him throughout the movie finally kicked in and he turned into a wolf (albeit {and hopefully} only momentarily). Alonzo’s arrogance came out at me as a mix between Virgil’s confidence and the plantation owner’s corrupt sense of superiority, which was clearly visible in his final scene in “the jungle”. I don’t think I could call Alonzo a sidekick because although he does give endless amounts of advice as an amoral mentor he was clearly the villain of the story, the dirty cop that talked so much of being a wolf to fight the wolves that he actually became one himself.

Alas, how can a wolf protect the sheep? Officer Hoyt was much more of a sheep herder/ collie dog than a wolf and dog is man(kind)’s best friend.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

An excellent point that we missed in discussion today.

Yes, Jake was trained for a year by a female cop--and what a training job she did. She created a cop with a sense of ethics (at least some in the class think he has it), a sense of compassion for others, and a true sense of wanting to do good.

In a sense, the movie is very much the conflict between a cop trained by a white woman for a year and a black cop's attempt to undo all of that in one day.

If that is so, then what is the film saying about race and gender that we haven't considered?

6:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home