Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"It's not what you know, it's what you can prove"

I think the biggest difference between Training Day and the other films we have watched so far is the end and the villain. There is definitely a huge fight scene at the end, but instead of the cop duo working together, they are one on one against each other. Also, one of the two cops (Alonzo, played by Denzel Washington) is the villain. Alonzo is a crooked cop, who busts people, but does what benefits him. Neither cop protects the other nor do they form any type of special bond in the end. The black men and Hispanics, and every other race in Alonzo’s neighborhood actually stand up for the white cop, Jake (played by Ethan Hawke), even when offered money from Alonzo to shoot him.
Race plays a huge role in Training Day. It’s stereotypical in that the black cop and black guys feel they know the street ways and that they are tougher than Jake. Alonzo feels Jake is naïve and innocent, unaware of what really goes on, which I guess in a sense he is unaware, since he doesn’t expect Alonzo to be so dishonest. When Alonzo pulls over the kids for drugs, he says that the neighborhood isn’t meant for white kids. He refers to his own neighborhood as a “gang neighborhood” and tells Jake to never go there without him.
Another thing that differs in this film, especially from Se7en, is that the white cop remains more of the sidekick throughout the movie. True that he is the hero and stands up for himself, but I feel that the main character is more Denzel Washington. Also, rather than the younger cop being the outspoken rule breaking rebel, in this film it is the older cop who does these things. It’s interesting but throughout the film, I feel that Denzel’s character is likeable. There is something about him that appeals to audiences, whether it be his sense of humor, tough guy attitude, or confidence. He’s likeable, yet I still wasn’t too upset when he died, because Jake is likeable too. Maybe Jake is more likeable, so that’s why when they fight, I end up rooting for Jake. Denzel often plays the bad guy, but for some reason he’s usually likeable. Is this because he is Denzel Washington, or because of the character himself?

4 Comments:

Blogger natalie said...

Its true that the white cop played more of a sidekick role in the film but even if it wasn't Denzel Washingtion this would be the case. The black cop understood the neighborhood and spent years making friends and enemies there. Any rookie on his training day would have to fall into the sidekick role until he understood the rules better

4:41 PM  
Blogger Vladigogo said...

True comment about the role of the sidekick.

But what about Jessica's comment about the likability factor of Alonzo. Is it Denzel who creates that or is it the character?

5:13 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I think this is also like Se7en in that the sidekick role seems to flip-flop. Obviously, as Natalie said, any rookie is going to be a sidekick. But both Alonzo and Jake share equal screen time and in the end it seems Jake is the hero. I think Denzel Washington being a strong character is key with this - I think he just naturally steals the spotlight and he usually plays a good cop character. I mean, I was definitely surprised when the movie came near the end and you finally find out that he really is crooked. Maybe it was supposed to be that way - purposely have Denzel as the character so the audience is thrown off and when they get to the end, they're surprised.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous colby said...

I think Jessica made a good point mentioning how this was the first movie we watched where not only the bad guy was one of the cops but the major fight scene took place between the two detectives instead of them working together. Jake realizes very quickly that Alonzo is a crooked cop, and although at first Jake is tempted by the offer of getting a job promotion if he keeps his mouth shut, he knows what’s right and wrong and follows his heart.

9:18 PM  

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