"I'm the Police! I run this shit, you just live here! ... King Kong ain't got shit on me!"
— Alonzo Harris
Training Day is a crime film from 2001 directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.The film focuses on young and naive LAPD officer Jake Hoyt (Hawke) undergoing a single day evaluation by renowned and respected narcotics officer Alonzo Harris (Washington). Alonzo lets Hoyt step into his "office" (car) and takes him for a 24-hour ridethrough the drug neighborhoods and gang territories of South Los Angeles. Hoyt soon is exposed to the darker side of police duty as he realizes Alonzo's methods make him not so different from the criminals he pursues.This film is notable for giving Denzel Washington the role that would win him Best Actor. While some people have argued the award was a make-up for him missing out in the past, there's no denying this was still an excellent performance. There are spoilers below.
Asshole Victim: At the end of the movie, Alonzo himself was killed by the Russian hitmen for killing one of their couriers and not paying up on time.
Bad Boss: Alonzo is this to his subordinates. This makes them abandon his ass when the chips are down.
Batman Gambit: Alonzo's whole master plan doesn't begin, until after he convinces Jake to take drugs - which he would later use for leverage against him.
Book Ends: Near the beginning of the film, Alonzo and Jake cut-off a bunch of college kids who bought some marijuana. This move is also used against Alonzo in the end of the film, when The Mafiya cut him off and execute him with prejudice.
Bowdlerize: From the trailer: "King Kong ain't got NOTHING on me!"
Bullet Proof Vest: Subverted, as one of Alonzo's partners takes a bullet to the vest that pierces it and wounds him.
Chekhov's Gun: The wallet Jake picks up after preventing the young girl from being raped turns out to be very handy when Alonzo abandons him in a house with three dangerous Gang Bangers, the leader of whom turns out to be the girl's cousin.
Chekhov's Gunman: The actual girl. When she shouts at the attempted rapists about how her cousins would fuck them up, she wasn't kidding.
The Chessmaster: Alonzo put a lot of effort into getting the Mafiya off his back.
Contrived Coincidence: Alonzo leaves Jake to die with exactly the wrong set of gangbangers. (Possibly a subversion as the plan seemed to be to set Jake up if he turned out not to be dirty and perhaps Alonzo remembered [subconsciously?] the name of the gang that the girl had mentioned from earlier and simply selected the easy option to dispose of his problem.)
Cool Car: Alonzo's 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo, complete with hydraulics.
Cowboy Cop: Alonzo Harris is one of the rare truly villainous examples. He's long become more extreme than even the gangsters he fights, but the reason he's kept around by his superiors (the three wise men) despite his personal corruption is that he catches a lot of bad guys. Alonzo himself claims he is only going after the big fish in the drug trade; he has 38 cases pending trial, 63 active investigations, 350 log cases he has yet to clear, and is supervising five other officers besides Hoyt.
Dirty Cop: Alonzo's modus operandi. Observe the scene in which he roughs up Snoop Dogg's character. Later, he casually boasts that he was the one who put Snoop Dogg in a wheelchair.
The entire day turns out to be a result of Alonzo's Dirty Cop ways, specifically how his attempts at ripping off the Russian Mafiya went bad and he has until the end of the day to make good or be killed.
He Who Fights Monsters: A central premise of the film. In order to survive in the world of gangsters, the cops have to act more like gangsters. Alonzo and his crew have, at some point, become actual gangsters.
If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Alonzo makes Jake smoke pipe PCP to prove that he's fully committed to do whatever it takes to survive on the street. In reality, Alonzo is making sure that Jake can't testify against him later without failing a drugs test and getting fired.
I Have a Family: Jake shouts this out when he is confronted with three Gang Bangers holding a shotgun to his face. It doesn't work by itself, but it does motivate them to check out whether he's telling the truth about his Chekhov's Gun.
Insanity Defense: Mentioned by one of the three wise men when he recaps to Alonzo how an off-screen criminal recently got off this way by pulling a stunt in court that made him seem mentally unsound.
Alonzo tells Jake that if he doesn't start getting with the program, he could end up in the news as a dead cop who died in the line of duty, leaving behind his wife and kid. After Alonzo dies, this is what the TV report says about him.
Also, Alonzo loved to say "Do you want to go to jail, or do you want to go home" to the people he would harsh. In the end,Jake repeated the same line to Alonzo after he took the stolen money from him. More subtly, after using the line with most of the criminals he and Jake encounter, we then hear him say it to fellow cops as they plot to cover up a murder.
It's All About Me: Alonzo thinks that just because he's a policeman, he can do whatever he wants and whatever he pleases.
Jerkass: Alonzo is a rather nasty person who often enjoy roughing up his suspects when he wants to.
Laser-Guided Karma: Alonzo leaves Jake to die at the hands of Smiley and his cronies, but Jake manages to get out alive. Following this, Jake not only takes Alonzo's badge, but the money he needs to pay off the Russians.
Let Me Tell You a Story: Alonzo's friend Roger decides to tell Jake a joke. He tells him about a snail that gets thrown off some guy's porch into the backyard and nearly dies. After about a year, the man answers the door and finds the snail, who says "What the fuck's your problem!?" Jake laughs until he sees Roger and Alonzo's serious expressions and realize that it isn't a joke at all. Roger tells him that when he figures the joke out, he'll figure the streets out.
The Mafiya: Alonzo is in big with them for attacking and killing an important member of theirs in Las Vegas, and is given until midnight on Tuesday to come up with a million dollars or he will be executed.
Punch Clock Villain: The three Gang Bangers, especially Smiley. It's pretty clear they don't really want to kill Jake, even if he hadn't saved Smiley's little cousin's life, and it's also obvious they don't like Alonzo very much.
Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Alonzo thinks he's above the law because he works for the Three Wise Men, who are corrupt cops in high-ranking positions. It's through them that Alonzo gets permission to rob and kill his long time drug contact. However, the alternate ending revealed that it was the Three Wise Men whom sent Hoyt to make sure Alonzo didn't pay off the Russians.
Take a Third Option: Towards the end of the film, Hoyt corners Alonzo, and can either kill him, or take him in with no evidence, ruining his own career. He reaches out and takes Alonzo's badge. And the money he needs to pay off the Mafiya.
There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: According to Alonzo, it's wolves and sheep. An obvious third option would be "sheepdog," which police often use as a metaphor for their profession, but it's never brought up, lampshading Alonzo's idea of justice as being a bigger, badder "wolf".
Wrong Side of the Tracks: Jack comments that the police usually don't enter The Jungle with anything less than a platoon. This is true in Real Life as well: the neighborhood they enter is avoided by the LAPD as effectively un-police-able. Antoine Fuqua specifically approached the gangs to get permission to film there, as the city effectively has no authority there.