Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Training Day

Training Day turned out to be by far the most intense buddy cop film we've seen thus far.  Starring Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris, an experienced LA police officer, and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, a new officer looking to join Alonzo's narcotics unit.  The movie takes place over one day, which makes it even more intense than some of the other movies. Like many of the movies, the two characters personalities are drastically different. Jake the younger white cop, is very by-the-book, he is law enforcement to make the streets safer, while Alonzo's more into acting like those making the streets dangerous.  We first experience Alonzo's influence on Jake after they catch the college kids with weed.  Instead of arresting them, they only take the drugs.  To Jake's surprise, Alonzo offers him a hit of marijuana, and cracking under pressure, Jake takes it.  Throughout the movie, Alonzo continues to break the law himself, whether it be by drinking and driving, or shooting his "friends" and then plotting a story of how he came to be shot.  Alonzo continues to introduce Jake to the streets, and how the cops go about their job in a street manner, in other words, the illegal ways of the law enforcement.  At one point when Jake snaps at Roger's home, Alonzo talks him into surrendering and going along with him plan of how Roger was shot.  After this Jake seems disgusted with the entire narcotics unit that he thought he wanted to be apart of. The most important part of the movie was when Alonzo tells jake that if he doesn't follow through he will be killed and the news will report that a police officer is survived by a wife and child.  This ends up being the way the movie ends, only it is Alonzo who ends up being killed.

I was surprised by the fact that by the end of the movie the loyalty between partners is totally gone.  This is how the movie differs from most of the other buddy cop films.  Usually the differences between cops brings the two closer, in Training Day the fact that Alonzo thinks he is so much better and above the law, it only ends up hurting him.  Jake realizes during this one day that Alonzo deserves to be the one suffering from all the wrong he had done, and the best way to make a street wise cop suffer is to take away all loyalty he thought he had from his "friends" on the street. 

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.

Training Day

After having watched “Training Day”, I have very mixed opinions as to whether or not this movie falls into the buddy cop genre. This was the first time I had seen the movie, so going along with the theme of the other movies we have watched, I figured the two would bond throughout the movie and eventually become a good pair, not try to kill each other. This movie did have several elements that could fall into the buddy cop realm, such as: the initial meeting that didn’t go so well, a perceived gradual warming towards each other, and a crazy fight scene at the end against the enemy; the only twist was that the enemy was the cop. Even though it had some of these requirements in it, something just seemed to be lacking to me, throughout the movie I just could not completely tie it into being a buddy cop movie. At the end my feelings proved to be right, because the ending of the movie makes it to where I can not consider this buddy cop film, a buddy would not screw over his partner like Alonzo did.
As to my reaction to the ending, I can not say that I was completely surprised. From the very first time we are introduced to Alonzo, when he made Jake smoke PCP, I could not trust him at all. There was just something about him that made me think that something was going to go wrong for Jake. I did think it was a very interesting twist to the whole dirty cop thing, the whole fact that he had the entire thing planned out from making Jake smoke, to setting him up for murder, it seemed to be very well planned out, until it backfired. This movie also focused quite a bit on race; the typical stereotypes about African American and Mexican people living in lower class areas were everywhere.

The Tables Have Turned

Denzel Washington (black cop-Alonzo Harris) a corrupt LA police officer and (white cop-Ethan Hawke) Jake Hoyt are yet another view of the buddy cop pairing in the Hollywood film industry. Hoyt is the typical white cop back story; he is a new recruit looking to become a part of Harris' narcotics unit. The entire movie takes place over a single 24-hour period in Los Angeles that forever changes the lives of both officers. After doing some additional research I discovered that the movie was written by David Ayer and directed by Antoine Fuqua, both of whom grew up in gang neighborhoods because of this background I think that the premise of this story was not only to show once again another version of the buddy cop relationship but also address the issues of gangs in LA, corruption in the police units, and racial stereotypes.

Race plays a huge role in Training Day when it comes to which cops knows how to behave in the streets. This idea is constantly reinforced in Jake by Alonzo who calls him deragtory names and constantly reminds him of his whiteness. One scene that stuck out in my mind because it should other white characters besides Jake was when Alonzo pulled over the white kids for drugs; being sure to remind them that the neighborhood isn’t meant for white kids.

Detective Harris back story was similar to Danny Glovers character in Lethal Weapon in the fact that they are both veterans to the force, they have a family that they would do anything for, and they are both put in charge of the young white male cop who he is supposed to mentor. Harris is a thirteen-year veteran who decides to give Hoyt a chance to join his team with a one-day tour of the streets. Once again the typical buddy cop format: the two cops meet, with the veteran cop being rude to the younger inexperienced cop:

Alonzo: “Today's a training day, Officer Hoyt. Show you around, give you a taste of the business. I got 38 cases pending trial, 63 in active investigations, another 250 on the log I can't clear. I supervise five officers. That's five different personalities. Five sets of problems. You can be number six if you act now. But I ain't holding no hands, okay? I ain't baby-sitting. You got today and today only to show me who and what you're made of. You don't like narcotics, get the fuck out of my car. Go get you a nice, pussy desk job, chasing bad checks or something, you hear me?”

The tough guy attitude of Harris gave me a different element of cop films that caused me to question whether or not this is a standard buddy cop film. It had most of the elements chase scene, gun scene, the first meeting, getting to know each other, etc but what changed in this film was making one of the cops crooked. Hoyt soon begins to figure out that his mentor, is more like the scum drug sellers on the street. Now the veteran cop has crossed the line between right and wrong. As the quote says on the movie cover “The only thing more dangerous than the line being crossed is the cop who will cross it.” Alonzo abuses his authority taking it upon himself to impose his own immoral beliefs to the people on the streets. Now this maybe a stretch, but I drew a similarity between Detective Mills killing John Doe as being similar to the way in which Alonzo takes it into his own hands to decide what is right and wrong in the streets of LA (however I felt Mills had a more justifiable reason for taking justice into his own hands).

One other element that added to the movie was the music and the area in which it was shot. The streets that they drove through on the drug busts were actually real streets where gang members in LA hung out. This made the movie feel more realistic because the areas being portrayed and the things that they were filming was enlightening the audience. As a side note I thought the best part in the movie was when the street members told Jake they got his back pointing a gun at Alonzo showing that they were able to look past the color of his skin because they knew deep down he was the good cop.

Training Day

This was my first time seeing Training Day I thought it was an entertaining movie with an ending that I was never expecting. This was a type of buddy relationship that is completely different from what we have looked at so far. We are introduced to two cops, the black cop Alonzo and the white cop, Jake. Alonzo a narcotics officer with the LAPD, Jake is the rookie cop who had come to work with Alonzo to find out if he has what it takes to deal with ruthless drug dealers who run the streets. The two men are much different types of cops. Jake wants to save people and help make the place where they live better by getting the bad guys off the street. Alonzo sees this passion in Jake, but he believes that Jake needs to become more acquainted with the streets like he is, which can mean killing innocent people, or letting others go. Jake soon learns that Alonzo is actually immoral and uses the system of being a police officer to get away with things, like killing one of his best friends for money.

Jake ends up getting completely used by Alonzo in a dangerous deal and Jake would have been killed if it wasn’t for a good deed he completed. This is the first time when we see the buddies turn against each other, to the point where they are ready to kill each other. Jake is our moral hero and reveals to everyone how wrong Alonzo is. In the end Jake doesn’t need to kill Alonzo because he finds that the people on the street are on his side. In the end Alonzo is brutally murdered by the Russians because of the corruption that he has gotten himself into. Is this a true buddy flick if the two don’t end up bonding at all?

Payback's a Bitch.

Training Day is sort of a Buddy Cop movie, for it does have humor, action and bonding. In a way, it’s like a reverse Buddy Cop movie. Where first they struggle to get along, then they begin to open up and get along. However it doesn’t take long for Alonzo to betray Hoyt. This movie takes place over the span of only one day, so there doesn’t have a lot of time for an enemy to gain power and for the two cops to get to know each other real well. Hoyt is eager to impress Alonzo with the hopes of one day becoming a detective. He is very wary to compromise his beliefs and what he believes to be good police ethics. He wants to become a detective so badly that he actually follows Alonzo for a bit, however he is high on PCP the entire day and is definitely on edge. Alonzo has the experience and shows Hoyt the ropes, however, when Hoyt becomes too much of a nuisance. Alonzo tires to have Hoyt killed to protect the money he stole from his drug dealing friend. When Hoyt is allowed to live, thanks to proper police ethics, He goes after Alonzo and essentially sentences his mentor to death by taking the money from him. This film took the Buddy cop one step further in forcing the two cops to fight one another instead of some evil upper class villain.

Race does play a part in this film more than it did Se7en. Alonzo would often make racial remarks as a joke when joking around with Hoyt. Race also played a part with the acceptance of Hoyt into many of the environments that Hoyt was exposed to when traveling with Alonzo. In the final scene Alonzo calls on his fellow members of the black community to kill Hoyt and they refuse. Alonzo basically blackmails them all into doing what he wants all the time, so when Alonzo is in a position of vulnerability, the members reuse to help him. Alonzo is a victim of his own oppression, because he oppresses his own people.

"I didn't sign up for this"

Training Day is a film that does not show me the concept behind a buddy cop film. I feel that people may be confusing the films absolute purpose with the concept of buddy cop films. Just because we are discussing buddy cop films, doesn't mean that every film we watch examplifies that idea. Yes, the two men appeared as partners, but Denzel always manipulates and tempts Hawke. Is that what a buddy or a partner would do? I don't think so, at least not by putting a gun to their head. There were so many red flags throughout the movie that showed that Denzel's role did not express a great partner. Since Denzel was the more experienced, his advice and guidance was nothing for Hawke to follow and abide by. Do people see that?

What is so "buddy cop" about this film? It seemed as if Denzel was always on Hawke's case through every case, situation and battle they were faced with. Now in the end, Denzel betrays Hawke and basically tries to frame him. Luckily, the tables were turned and Denzel was now the outsider.

What I noticed during the film and I would like to know if anyone else caught it. When Hawke and Denzel were in Denzel's home and they were having a shoot out. Did anyone notice how Denzel saw Hawke through the glass cabinet? Similarily to In the Heat of the Night during the autopsy and even in Se7en.

"You control who makes you cry"

Training Day was the absolute epitome of what my expectations of this film genre, the buddy cop film, would be. Cursing left and right, hardcore gun threats, drugs, women, and all the action of a detective film. However, the whole thing is terribly crooked and sensationalized. Alonzo is the ultimate manipulator, jerking round the young, gullible Jake. He is so thirsty to prove his worth that he says, “I will anything you want me to do”. Wrong this to say! He is manipulated into smoking PCP, busting the wrong people, and is asked to commit murder. Lets just say, although the movie was highly entertaining and gripping I felt that there was something wrong with it….

I feel that this movie glorifies these negative stereotypes that African Americans are lumped into. The whole gangster rap scene seems to be the basis of the environment and the intense poverty and gang related activity adds to the corruption of the area. We never see a white person who is doing anything as despicable as Alonzo, although there are small instances of their corruption and crime (i.e. the kids in the car who bought drugs, the ‘three wise men’). Alonzo seems to relish in the fact that he has immunity because of his police badge, living in the all black gang neighborhood and pretending he is just like them. His bad reputation follows him wherever he goes; even his neighbors know not to mess with him. Although Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Alonzo was amazing I feel that by taking on this role he is accepting of the negative stereotype of the gangster black man and has further pushed a glorification of the gang lifestyle. I am glad to see his character was stopped from wreaking havoc anymore. His horrible sins caught up to him in a deadly way. If a film of this popularity can have such an impact on the movie community the way it did than how will we be able to move forward and leave behind the hate and violence? When will we be able to see a strong cop who can do all the things that a strong cop should? There are tons of films that either portray cops as crooked, dumb and fat, or devoted to their job so much that they lose what they love or their insanity. Why can’t we have a cop that wins? I was glad to see Jake win through…you go! I also felt that Jake’s character was just there to reinforce the fact that white people are always virtuous and prevail over the black man. This, as we learned from not just our other movies but in life, is not necessarily true. Everyone has their sins and prejudices and but there was a stark difference between the character’s views of what was right and wrong.

Training Day

It’s hard to say whether Training Day is really a buddy cop film. It misses some of the components, like catching a major villain in the end. At first, since I’ve never seen this movie, I just thought that things were going to be out of order. It seemed that the bonding moment(s) were in the beginning, like when Alonzo said to Jake “No matter what I say, you did the right thing” after beating up the two guys trying to rape the high school girl. And Jake seems to take Alonzo’s advice and start not following the rules completely, at least the small ones. But as the movie progresses there are more twists and turns that I think throws the audience off. One of the major components of a buddy cop film is the big argument or tensions point between the two cops, which usually happens in the beginning of the movies. But this time it was at the end. And there wasn’t just one – there was the point where Jake was going to kill Alonzo for committing murder during the arrest and making up a story, and then the very end where Jake confronts Alonzo at his home. And as King mentioned, this is one of the films where there’s no happy ending for the cops. Alonzo ends up getting shot to death by the Russian gang and I think even for Jake it isn’t good for him because he’s been beaten and left disappointed in a field where he thought he could help people, only to find out that there are crooked cops in the big leagues of the police force. The only thing I wonder is if Alonzo really did like Jake and thought he would be a good narcotics officer, or if he really did just be nice to use him as a pawn.

I’m not real sure about race in this movie. Differences are definitely pointed out in the movie, where there are different gangs and the “street” language of each group is different. They are shown as all being bad asses or living in a ghetto area, and it seems that the film joked a little about naive white teenage boys trying to buy drugs with them showing up in a girly green Volkswagen Beetle. Definitely stands out compared to Alonzo’s car. I know race played a part in this movie, but as far as Alonzo versus Jake, I’m not real sure. There was the obviously lack of knowledge on Jake’s end compared to Alonzo and his streets smarts, but is that race or just experience in the field? And then there’s Jake versus the different groups they encountered. Everybody judged Jake, even the other narcotics team members. With the team, I think it was experience versus non-experience. But with the other race groups, I think it may have been a white versus Mexican, Black, whatever. I know it’s significant, I’m just not sure how…

"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?

Training Day

Training day was a present version of a bi-racial buddy cop film. The setting for the movie was Los Angeles, which is predominantly known for having some of the deadliest gang violence in all of America. The violence consists of mostly black on black crime. This adds immediately to the racial aspect of the film. Two characters are cast, Denzel Washington as Alonzo, and Ethan Hawke as Jake. They both have rogue cop features about them, but one is fighting to uphold the law, and the other is associated with the corrupt side of law enforcement. This is clear when Jake Hoyt is in the car and first meets Alonzo and is asked, “why did you become a cop,” and Jake answers by saying that he wants to protect the innocent by keeping the drug dealers and violent members of society off the street. By which Alonzo responds, by laughing. This clearly shows the contrast of their commitment to the law.

Alonzo is the black cop in this bi-racial film and also the law breaker. But he claims his corrupt method is the only way that his type of business can ever get done. Jake Hoyt does not agree, but he goes along with everything Alonzo tells him, fulfilling the sidekick role. Denzel stands out as a strong black man in which no one should mess with and the audience must recognize his blackness. But the relationship between Jake and Alonzo is not really about race but about their levels of experience, with a similarity to Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in Se7en. It is also like a role reversal of Virgil and the police where instead of the black man with no respect and little support, Alonzo has most whipped under his control.

Jake Hoyt transforms from the timid sidekick to become the hero at the end of the movie. While Alonzo’s role shrinks from his pedestal of cop greatness to a rogue cop that eventually becomes the enemy for all that respected him when the film began.

Training Day

Race plays a big part in the movie Training Day. It seemed like they used the stereotype of the black man who knows the street while the white man is naive and has no clue about the real world. The film starts by introducing Ethan Hawke’s character, Jake, and his family. Jake lives in a cute little house with his pretty young wife and their nine month old baby girl. His wife seems like the traditional house wife making breakfast and taking care of the baby while Jake is the provider trying to make a better life for his family. He seems like a new young cop who probably hasn’t experienced a lot yet. Denzel Washington, who plays Alonzo, however, has much more of an edge. You can tell he’s worked the streets for many years and has probably seen a lot of awful things happen by how hard he has become. Alonzo also dresses like locals in the area they work so he blends in better and he uses a lot of profanity, most specifically the n word. While Alonzo does mention to Jake that he’s got a wife and four boys, he talks about his family very differently then Jake. Alonzo talks about their wives in a very sexual way and makes a comment to Jake that he has to stop being so obvious about how soft he is especially about his family. He even tells Jake to stop wearing his wedding ring to work because people will use that against him.

Jake is also a lot more about going by the book. Alonzo keeps taking care of things his own way and Jake seems more worried about doing it the right way. Alonzo tries to show Jake though that because the streets are so rough that sometimes you need to take the law into your hands. A prominent quote Alonso says is, “To protect the sheep you gotta catch the wolf, and it takes a wolf to catch a wolf.” He’s basically saying it may not be the right way to do things but it’s the only way if you want to be able to achieve your goal.

"Training Day"

"Training Day" was a really interesting film full of many questions about race, hierarchy, and ethics.

One similarity I saw between this film and "Se7en" was how in both films, the African American was the mentor for the white cop. However, in "Training Day," Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) desperately wants the job on Alonzo's (Denzel Washington) team and so he does whatever Alonzo tells him to do and listens intently to all he has to say. This is a stark contrast to Mills in "Se7en" who rarely listened to Somerset and simply did what he felt was the right thing to do even though he knew Somerset was wiser and more experienced.

I am struggling with the question of race in this film. Did race play a big part in this film? I do believe it played a larger part than it did in "Se7en." Wherever Alonzo and Jake would go, Alonzo would automatically have the respect from the people he would approach (or attack). Jake was often ignored or verbally abused. Through most of the film I thought this was because Jake was white and did not have as much "street cred" as Alonzo. Alonzo had more respect because he was black, therefore the people he was approaching felt they could relate to him more. But was that really the case? Or did the people on the street respect Alonzo because he had worked in that area for many years and was simply more experienced than Jake? Again, like "Se7en," is it more about experience than about race?

The end really threw me through a loop. When Alonzo and Jake faced off in the bad neighborhood, why did the residents take Jake's side? I know Alonzo did a lot of terrible things to those people (and others), but in reality, would they suddenly all jump to the white man's rescue? When Jake first walked into the neighborhood alone people were shouting at him and asking what he thought he was doing walking on those streets. But suddenly, ten minutes later, they are all standing up for him. Do they really hate Alonzo that much?

I thought this was an excellent film and I am definitely looking forward to hearing discussion on it tomorrow.

smiles and cries

Alonzo (Denzel Washington) is a street savvy cop who mixes drugs, sex, and experience all into the job. “You gotta see the streets. You gotta feel it. You gotta smell it, you gotta taste the streets.” He plays by his own rules and even though he seems like the man in charge it all feels like Alonzo is constantly trying to prove his manhood. “Man up, man up” he’s constantly trying to make Jake grow up but what is there to make us think that Jake is such a rookie. Granted he doesn’t know the streets like Alonzo, but Jake is a man unto himself. He’s got a wife, a child, and is moving up professionally. Alonzo furthers the situation by adding race into the equation. Time after time Alonzo refers to Jake as “my nigga” which turns the tables on black and white. He uses the term endearingly though, prideful in Jake as if he was his own son. As much as this film addresses race it also deals with morals, humanity, and justice. This film is both good cop bad cop as much as it is buddy cop. Time after time Alonzo asks, “do you wanna go to jail or do you wanna go home?” as if he himself is fearful of the consequences of his actions. As Jake struggles with classifying their work as just, Alonzo makes it seem like they’re doing the right thing by working from the inside out and that time will place Jake in a position to enforce real change. Is this what Alonzo truly believes but he’s so deep in the streets that he can’t get out of it? This film as well as Se7en provides insight to how conflicted society is and how our actions don’t always add up with our intentions. In the end it was street justice that prevailed but that wasn't something that Jake believed in during the entire film. So I just question whether or not the "right" thing happened and if Jake truly came out on top.

Training Day

In “Training Day”, Denzel Washington plays a black narcotics officer named Alonzo Harris, who is showing his new partner, Ethan Hawke (Jake Hoyt). The movie takes place in the course of one day in the Los Angles area. As the movie progresses, Hoyt begins to learn that Harris is a crooked cop, taking money from people with false warrants to search their house, owing money to Russians. He offers his friendship to Hoyt, but he finds out that there is more to this cop then he sees.

Antoine Fuqua makes this a powerful movie about the underworld that police can be dragged into, and betrayal between Hoyt and Harris. Utilitarian views are presented by Washington’s character by doing smaller crimes and framing people, such as the man who he shoots with the shotgun, and prevents him from further selling drugs to people, or his Hispanic informant who tips him off when a drug deal is coming through. Denzel essentially sets up the day so that Hoyt will be unable to do anything, because if he shoots him after the corrupt raid, they will test his blood and find PCP.

The buddy cop elements are prevalent in this film, such as the element of humor early in the beginning, a moment of bonding, the classic bi-racial team of Harris and Hoyt, and a shoot out. This is an unusual movie because the two officers fall apart and eventually end up trying to kill each other. The movie ends with Hoyt taking down Harris, who escapes, only to be killed by the people who he was trying to pay off for killing one of their men in Las Vegas. Where the traditional cop films have the two officers getting closer together, Fuqua has them drawn apart from their different beliefs, which was what originally brought them to the force to begin with. The irony is that these two officers swore to fight crime, but one is ethical and wants to do the right thing, while the other is even willing to sacrifice his partner and commit crimes to bring people to his form of justice.

deadly sins

John Doe: What sick ridiculous puppets we are / and what gross little stage we dance on / What fun we have dancing and fucking / Not a care in the world / Not knowing that we are nothing / We are not what was intended.

What crazy logic to operate on, turning the sin against the sinner, but in a sick way it all makes sense. This dark film had a lot of religious undertones and it just felt very somber with it raining all of the time. The pairing between Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt was a good “buddy cop” situation. In terms of some of the elements that we discussed in class you can classify Se7en as a buddy cop film. They had their first introduction, background history on both Mills and Somerset, clashing cop styles, a bonding moment. All of these elements are part of a buddy cop film. More so than In the Heat of the Night the duo had to work together in order to solve the crime. Other movies we’ve seen dealt a lot with race or class or some type of social issue between the two cops but between Mills and Somerset the only difference was in their style. Mills was young, brash, reckless and Somerset was methodical, straight-edged, and aged. While it doesn’t compare to the style of Beverly Hills cop I do think that it is a “buddy cop film” with major thriller elements.


I feel that Se7en is the best example of King’s conception of the buddy cop film that we’ve studied so far in this class. It seems to be forthright and even obvious in the way it conforms to the genre’s expectations, starting with a tense relationship between two new partners, the introduction of a bad guy, the presence of a ransom figure, the references to homosexuality and the professionalism of the cops. However, there are some places where making distinctions, such as who is the hero and who is the sidekick, becomes difficult. While this movie fits easily into the buddy cop genre, classifying its characters is a more difficult task.

First of all, the film starts in the way that most buddy cop films begin. There’s a professional cop, Somerset, and an unprofessional cop, Mills. Just as we discussed in class the two characters do not seem to get along in the beginning, despite Mills attempts to befriend Somerset. Somerset sees Mills as inexperienced and unable to work at the level of Somerset’s expectations. This doesn’t sit well with Mills. This suggests that Mills is the hero of the film because normally in buddy cop films, the officer that is stifled or sent away in the beginning rises up to be the hero in the end.

As the film progresses we start to see that Mills is the cop who, like King describes, uses unconventional methods to go about catching the bad guy. One example of this is when Mills enters John Doe’s apartment without a warrant. However, I wouldn’t say that Somerset always follows the police handbook either. Thinking back to the way they got John Doe’s address in the first place, I realize that Somerset might not be on the up and up all the time either. This brings up the first question of who is the sidekick and who is the hero. Usually the hero is the unprofessional cop in the duo, but is Mills really the hero or is Somerset?

Again this question arises when we look at the family story. Normally, the cop with an intact family is the sidekick. But this may not line up in the film because Mills is the one with the family even though most people would probably classify him as the hero and not the sidekick.

This is one of my favorite films from this genre, mostly because I think that Kevin Spacey is just an amazing actor not to mention that I also like David Fincher’s directing. But I am confused as to how to classify the roles of the characters within the film.

The world is only worth fighting for....Se7en

In some ways Se7en is similar to yesterday’s In the Heat of the Night. It involved a gripping murder mystery that led two cops, Mills and Somerset, on a journey to find out something within them that they did not know before. For Mills it was the realization that his job has affected, in the worst way possible, everything he will ever know. For Somerset it was the epiphany that maybe he did take pride in his work, that he did enjoy the chase and no longer sees his job as another routine procedure. I think that Mills’ initial feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment were indeed passed on to Somerset through the course of the movie but the final act of murder broke him and his spirit to see the good in anything. His final words, though quite out of place in the ending of the film, were telling of this change: “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”

However, I find the subject of race, one of our most important discussion points, completely absent from this film. I can’t remember one part in the film were a racial slur was exchanged or a joking remark said….Which baffles me completely…why did we watch this movie? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and it was the best movie I’ve seen so far in this class (almost tops ITHOTN), however it seems to confuse the purpose of the class. Although I find the juxtaposition of the older, intelligent and more experienced Somerset doubting the young and impulsive Mills and the Chief and Tibbs in ITHOTN an interesting flip flop. The black man is looking down on the white man in both films but there is a separation of ideals and emotions at the end of Se7en, not a coming together as in ITHOTN. I see many of the genre staples of the Buddy cop film, there is certainly plenty of that in this movie but I feel the race issue would have been interesting to see played out in the movie. I half expected Mills to turn and kill Somerset after he realizes he knew of his wife’s pregnancy with Joe Doe but that would not have fulfilled his prophecy. I did like this film however I feel the biracial in the buddy cop film was virtually absent.