What You Know Versus What You Can Foreshadow: Looking Back on 2001’s Training Day (Spoilers Ahead)

Man walks up to car. Man finds take away menu. Man beckons his companion to take the menu.

Man raids home. Man’s suspect’s wife demands to see warrant. Man hands over said menu on the way out.


Man visits ‘friend’. Man’s ‘friend’ likens the man’s partner to a younger version of man way back when. Man agrees.

Man decides to bust an old account of his. Man, partner(s) in tow breaks into man’s ‘friend’s’ house. Man kills his ‘friend’ and claims his money.


Man’s partner spots a rape in progress. Man’s partner decides to stop the criminals. Man’s partner collects the wallet of the victim as she drops it and leaves.

Man’s partner is about to be killed. Man’s partner’s imminent-murderers find their cousin’s wallet and threaten him. Man’s partner is saved when he is found to be her saviour.

Director Antoine Fuqua’s 2001 feature film, Training Day, has a store of such moments, courtesy of both writer David Ayer and the film’s brisk pace, that serve to keep the plot moving forward without being too obvious.

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(from left to right) A behind-the-scenes photograph of director Antoine Fuqua and stars Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington (Aaron Wynia/The New York Times Photo and Caption via Twitter.com)

There are also a few Fuqua-isms which we hope to add to as the week goes along.

To start off with, the film is very focused on the length, from morning till midnight, of Ethan Hawke’s Jake Hoyt’s titular training day that’s a little less than twenty-four hours. Nearly everything – everything actually, provided my memory and notes are holding – ties into the central plot and pushes it  to its unflinchingly-violent Fuqua-style ending.

That being said, the following Fuqua-isms are present in 2001’s Training Day:

  1. The unflinching depiction of violence: Much like, but more restrainedly than either, 2016’s The Magnificent Seven or 2015’s Southpaw, 2001’s Training Day uses its bullet-driven violence to devastating and bloody effect and, as in the final scene with Alonzo, doesn’t shy away from showing it to you.
  2. Characters fighting for their beliefs: More defined-ly than either 2015’s Southpaw or 2016’s The Magnificent Seven is Jake Hoyt’s conflict with Alonzo over what counts as justice and what counts as a ‘rogue cop‘ (an explicitly stated sentiment that mightn’t have made it into the film from an April 2001 draft of the script).
  3. Traditionally-shot action: Breaking with any shaky-cam esque cinematography, much like the two films cited above, director Fuqua’s 2001 film Training Day, despite its allusions to street-level and -filmed incidents always keeps its action and confrontations visible in frame.
  4. Street-level cinematography: With an additional emphasis on alleyways too, 2001’s Training Day always uses visibly decorated and lived-in streets and alleyways within which to stage its events and always keep in frame.

As always, please let us know if you spot any other Fuqua-isms in 2001’s Training Day in the comments below. Thank you.

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Screenwriter David Ayer (UK.BusinessInsider.com Photo and Caption)

The script – or at least the April 2001 draft of it here –  has a greater emphasis on Alonzo’s past dealings, à la Mr Clean reference that can be found therein, but minus any greater depiction of the Russian mobsters.

The script as linked to above is just as straightforward to follow as the film it spawned but with more material in there, really. All the foreshadowing is in but with greater shrift given to Alonzo without removing any of Jake’s scenes that were in the actual film.

The only thing is, and this is also in the same linked draft above, is that Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris breaks with the seeming logic of his theretofore behaviour in asking the neighbourhood to kill Ethan Hawke’s Jake Hoyt despite having protected him from that degree of harm, unless self-inflicted, up until that point.

Then again, much like his prior break with Jake at Smiley’s place, aware that the clock on his Russian parley was ticking, he let his desperation override him.

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(from background-left to foreground-right) Stars Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington on the set of 2001’s Training Day (UK.BusinessInsider.com Photo and Caption)

Barring that, the core acting duo – including Ethan Hawke’s Jake Hoyt and Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris – largely stick to their behavioural guns and rarely dither for very long. Alonzo’s enigmaticness is perplexing as his tendency to break the law, encourage Jake to do the same and late tell him he doesn’t have to are unnerving at times.

Perhaps it’s in that, given Jake’s somewhat ironic triumph of keeping his code intact but his career relegated to the air, Alonzo is the film’s true protagonist who is changed by the culmination of events and the passage of the film’s time, the latter quite literally so.

Kudos to Denzel Washington for his levels of improvisation.

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Composer Mark Mancina (65Mag.com Photo and Caption)

The score, courtesy of composer Mark Mancina, isn’t only really felt during the film’s suspenseful pre-shootout (or pre-emptive defusal thereof) sequences that carry a humming action movie sound. This is especially the case during the film’s opening credits.

The bulk of the film, uses when necessary, music from a mixture of hip-hop and rap musicians, often played from in-scene sources such as loudspeakers, stereos and the like.

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(from left to right) Director Antoine Fuqua and Director of Photography Mauro Fiore on the set of 2001’s Training Day (Reunion.Orange.fr Photo and Caption)

Apart from the degree of helicopter and over-the-shoulder shots in 2001’s Training Day, there are – much like 2016’s The Magnificent Seven – quite a few closeups that highlight the sweaty, tired and radiant (or silhouette-y) faces of both Jake Hoyt and Alonzo Harris.

Those close-ups aside, there is also a great degree of street-level photography and alleyway photography that never loses sight of the ground, street or alleyway.

Very simplistically, director Fuqua’s 2001 feature film, Training Day, is an easy to follow story of two narcotics cops, one of whom is anything but easy to crack  until the very end, and even then only debatably so. Fans, or newfound explorers, of director Fuqua’s work will definitely want to give this a watch.

(Whilst the opinions and observations cited above are, unless stated otherwise, the author’s own, the following sources were used to source information from: Articles.OrlandoSentinel.com, CinemaBlend.com, DailyScript.com, IMDb.com, JournalTimes.com)

Plot and Act-by-Act Breakdown:

Plot: a young police officer decides to accompany a rookie police officer on a training day through Los Angeles.

Act 1: Jake receives the call from Alonzo; he decides to go visit him in the coffee shop.

Act 2: Jake decides to head out with Alonzo; Jake chooses to tell Alonzo about his motive for joining narcotics.

Act 3: Jake and Alonzo decide to stop at the drugs transaction; they decide to stop the drugs-laden Volkswagen.

Act 4: Jake opts to refuse Alonzo’s offer of marijuana; Jake decides to accept it after Alonzo stops the car mid-junction.

Act 5: Jake and Alonzo decide to stop at Roger’s house.

Act 6: Jake and Alonzo decide to keep driving down the streets; Jake decides to stop a young girl from being raped.

Act 7: Jake and Alonzo decide to stop at a street corner further in town; Jake decides to track down and stop the fleeing Blue who reveals the Sandman.

Act 8: Jake and Alonzo decide to search the Sandman’s home; they decide to flee after coming under fire.

Act 9: Jake and Alonzo decide to visit the Jungle; they decide to visit Sara’s house there.

Act 10: Jake and Alonzo decide to visit the LAPD’s ‘three wise men‘; Jake agrees with Alonzo and chooses to sit out the meeting.

Act 11: Jake and Alonzo decide to head off to meet with Alonzo’s team; Jake and Alonzo decide to breach Roger’s house.

Act 12: Jake and Alonzo decide to confront Roger over his secret stash of money which they later excavate; Alonzo decides to kill Roger after Jake refuses him.

Act 13: Jake chooses to confront Alonzo over his murder of Roger; Jake decides not to kill Alonzo there and then.

Act 14: Jake decides to confront Alonzo again in his car; Jake decides to relent to be taken to the station.

Act 15: Jake and Alonzo decide to pay Smiley a visit; Jake agrees to play cards with Smiley and company whilst Alonzo tends to business.

Act 16: Jake fails to fight his way out after learning that Alonzo has left him there alone; Jake convinces Smiley to let him go after the latter calls his cousin whom Jake saved earlier.

Act 17: Jake decides to return to the Jungle; Jake manages to track Alonzo down to Sara’s home.

Act 18: Jake decides to confront Alonzo in the flat; Jake decides to chase Alonzo across the balconies.

Act 19: Jake chooses to leap atop Alonzo’s escaping car; Jake refuses to shoot Alonzo dead despite the chance.

Epilogue: Alonzo is killed by the Russian mobsters; Jake manages to return home.

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