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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

“Training Day” Showcases Denzel’s Discipline

Denzel Washington is hot. Not merely in the sense that he is the number one African-American actor that women of all colors have scribbled down on their “list.” Washington is hot, because he can personify anyone. He traverses the personality superhighway with the smoothness and ease of a Lamborghini and he doesn’t even break a sweat.

Up to now, we’ve marveled at his ability to play the caring lawyer, the preacher, the soldier and so gracefully we feel that certainly this must be who he is. This fall all our perceptions will be dropped on their heads.

Opening last weekend and taking a slow box office by storm, Washington’s new movie, “Training Day” introduces us to a side of him that we didn’t know. Washington plays a veteran cop whose years on the streets of LA in the narcotics division have had their effect on him. In a deeply powerful and disturbing performance, this long established crusade actor pulls it off with impressive results.

Opposite Washington, Ethan Hawke reappears on the big screen after a hiatus following his last real hit, “Dead Poet’s Society” and makes quite an impression. Hawke is the rookie cop, hoping to climb the division ladder and make detective through his work on the narcotics scene. Full of academy do’s and don’ts, he soon realizes his first day on the job is going to be far more difficult than he anticipated. Constantly stalked by the psychologically adept street mentality of his new boss, Hawke finds himself tested repeatedly for loyalty, guts and morals.

Though riddled with violence, demonstrations of drugs, and sex on the streets, this film is a perfect story for these two wildly talented actors. Washington and Hawke play off of one another with such skill, you find yourself wondering if the script was written with them in mind. Better still, they keep you guessing about what’s truly going on inside their heads.

The film itself carries the usual formula. Bad cop, good cop, hostile environment, and the whole works. The surprise is hidden in the perception. Things are not always what they seem. This is a triumph for the actors, but also for the stereotypes. Not all addicts are evil, certain races and ethnicities that usually get the shaft are actually represented here in the light of reality. There are good and bad people of every color and the bad guys are also sometimes the good guys.

The bottom line: guys, take the ladies out to see this as it holds an element of enjoyment for all, just make sure she doesn’t mind lots of action. Ladies, take the invitation, it’ll provide you with a mature plot, some eye candy and will impress your guy. All in all, “Training Day” warranted the cost and the interesting “fire alarm” intermission at Boston Common Loews didn’t detract from my enjoyment in any way.