Wednesday, January 09, 2008

if you live by the streets, you'll die by the streets

Having never seen Training Day before I was surprised by the intensity of the elements in the movie. Not only the elements of a buddy cop film, but the story of it was crazy. At very rare points in the movie there were funny elements, but for the most part, the movie was a much more serious. Racism is blatantly obvious, gun fight, and stereotypes, were a huge factor in the movie. Ethan Hawke’s character, Jake, is so far disconnected from the street lifestyle that everything him and Denzel Washington’s character, Alonzo, face surprises him or angers him. Jake is so set on making things better in the world and he doesn’t understand what Alonzo is doing or why. Through out the entire movie, Jake has a sense of morals and values that seems to be that of a child’s, he hardly seems to grasp the gritty reality of the streets until towards the end when he tells the truth about saving a girl from getting raped to three Spanish gangsters who wanted to kill him.

The racism of this movie is so out there. Normally, you see racism going in the direction only of the African Americans in the film, however the racism goes all around in this, racism towards whites, Spanish, and the African Americans. Everyone who could possibly be a target of racism is one.

Unlike the movies we’ve already watched, this one had an intensity of hatred, greed, racism, and class that the others lacked completely. Alonzo was a cop who had obviously gone bad as he was reminded by Roger of reminding Alonzo that he was just like Jake when he first started. Jake has no desire to become what Alonzo has become, towards the ending saying “You know what I learned today? I’m not like you”, but Jake knows that if he continues along the path Alonzo is leading, he will be.

Loyalty is such a huge theme in this movie. Alonzo is all about being everyone’s friend. He doesn’t arrest people, he calls everyone his “boy” or his “dawg”, but he screws over Roger, killing him, he shoots one of his own men, even if on accident, and then he screws over Jake. The people he thinks are his friends on the streets don’t even trust him, and are even ready to kill him rather than let Jake take a fall. The biggest problem with Alonzo is the fact that he expects those he screws over to loyal to him, and even on the street everybody knows you can’t expect that. Just like anyone who does wrong on the streets, he gets the very “street justice” he had been preaching about earlier in the film.


Blogger paigecole said...

I agree loyalty was a major theme in Training Day. To Alonzo, loyalty seemed like the most important attribute in an officer, yet it was something he lacked for others. Instead, he felt no matter what he did everyone else was obligated to be loyal to him, or he would let them see the end. Yet, in the end it screwed him over. Karma is a bitch.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Brad T said...

What is the result of spreading the racism equally among races? I wonder if, by doing so, the film actually set a less offensive standard. After all, if stereotypes abound so much, the tone of the film becomes a bit more fantastic and the conventions less believable. I actually found myself a bit confused when one of the Hispanic men had an accent that wasn’t ridiculously thick, as opposed to his friends.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I agree that this film is laden with racist stereotypes. What do you think it means that all of the characters seemed to be depicted in accordance with preconceived racist notions? Do you think these portrayals work to reinforce these stereotypes in the minds of the audience or do they work to debunk it?

7:42 AM  

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