I'm the Police! I run this shit, you just live here! ... King Kong ain't got shit on me!
Training Day 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 ride through 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.
- Academy Award: Denzel Washington finally won Best Actor (in a leading role) for convincingly playing against type, not only as a villain, but for making it look cool. Ethan Hawke was nominated as Supporting Actor.
- Arc Words: Do you wanna go to jail or do you wanna go home?
- 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.
- Becoming the Mask: One Epileptic Tree claims that Alonzo is so dangerous precisely because being "The Wolf" does not come naturally to him - his bad guy persona is taken to the max precisely because he has to construct it.
- 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!"
- Broken Pedestal: Alonzo is this to Jake.
- Bulletproof 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.
Jake: "You've been planning this all day?"
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Alonzo.
- Cool Car: Alonzo's 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo, complete with hydraulics.
- Dirty Cop: Alonzo's modus operandi. Observe the scene in which he roughs up Snoop Dogg's character.
- Also later, he casually boasts that he was the one who put Snoop Dogg in a wheelchair.
- Evil Mentor: Alonzo. Should be pretty obvious.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The entire movie takes place over the course of less than a day.
- Frame-Up: Alonzo and the other Narcotics officers discuss how to do this after Roger is killed.
- Fridge Brilliance: Why is there such a difference in "professionalism" between the "shoot-em-in-my-bathtub" Smiley and the Mafiya that kills Alonzo? Because Mafiya has a lot of ex-KGB members in it.
- Gang-Bangers: Specifically those in The Jungle and the house that Alonzo drops Jack off at near the end.
- Guns Akimbo: Alonzo combines this with Gangsta Style.
- He Who Fights Monsters: It is mentioned that Alonzo used to be a lot like Hoyt.
- A case of Truth in Television, as Rafael Perez, the Real Life corrupt LAPD officer who Alonzo was probably based on, invoked that trope's page quote at his sentencing to prison.
- In the DVD extras, most of the scenes that were cut, are the ones where Alonzo talks to Hoyt about his past as a beat cop, and how green and hopeful he was, until the harsh reality of the job woke him up.
- If You're So Evil Eat This PCP: Actually a subversion - it appears Alonzo is making Jake smoke the pipe because of this trope, but he's actually doing it so 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.
- Instant Death Bullet: Averted, anyone who gets shot in this film dies slowly while making a "wounded animal sound" as Alonzo calls it.
- Ironic Echo: 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.
- I Own This Town: Alonzo feels this way about The Jungle. The Jungle doesn't feel the same way though.
- Kick the Dog: Alonzo makes a habit of doing this.
- Large Ham: Alonzo turns his scenery chewing on and off according to his needs.
- Also the Gang-Bangers, homes.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Alonzo leaving Jake to die at the hands of the gangbangers. But after he manages to pull himself out of that and catches up to Alonzo. Jake takes his badges and the money he need to pay the mafia. In a sense leaving Alonzo to die just as he did Jake.
- 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. However, it recovers and after awhile it gains enough strength to crawl again. After about a year, the snail makes it way back on to the porch. The man comes out, looks at and 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.
- Manipulative Bastard: Alonzo.
- The Mistress: Sara is Alonzo's.
- Mushroom Samba: After Jake takes the marijuana laced with PCP, he gets one of these.
- Naive Newcomer: The majority of this movie concerns Jake's relation to Alonzo as this.
- Nothing Personal: Smiley says this after he spares Jake's life.
- Oh No You Didn't: Alonzo says this before his Villainous Breakdown.
- One Last Smoke: Alonzo lights up a cigarette before being shot by Jake... in the ass. One scene later, he's killed by The Mafiya.
- Parody: Not the film itself, but it's the subject of a well-known parody made in The Chapelle Show.
- Playing Against Type: Denzel Washington as a villain.
- Plot Tumor: What actually drives the plot forward is Alonzo's beef with The Mafiya, but its explicitly stated in Alonzo's meeting with the Wise Men. Smiley spells out how grave the situation is for Alonzo near the tail-end of the film.
- Punch Clock Villain: The three Gang-Bangers, expecially Smiley. It's pretty clear they don't really want to kill Jake, even if he wouldn't have saved Smiley's little cousin life and it's also obvious they don't like Alonzo very much.
- Rabid Cop: Alonzo.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Played straight with Jake and averted with Alonzo as far as their attitudes.
- Retroactive Recognition: Terry Crews plays an unnamed gangbanger.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules: Jake ends up refusing $250,000 which does not make him popular with the other narcotics officers.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them: Alonzo more or less quotes the trope near the end of the film.
- Secret Test of Character: Jake initially interprets some of Alonzo's requests of him as such, when in fact they are nothing of the sort.
- Shot in the Ass: Jake shoots Alonzo to prevent him from picking up his gun.
- Sink or Swim Mentor: Alonzo, who starts slowly but amps it up until he's strong-arming Hoyt into killing and robbing Roger.
- Sliding Scale of Law Enforcement: Hoyt is definitely much closer to the positive end than Alonzo, given his unwillingness to stop dealing with individual crimes and look at the big picture.
- Spanner in the Works: Jake effectively screws Alonzo's plot to get away from The Mafiya, in the most ironic way possible.
- 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 "shepherd" but it's never brought up.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Russian Mafia knows how to get the job done. The parallels to The Godfather are not without reason.
- Title Drop:
Alonzo Harris: Today is a Training Day, Officer Hoyt.
- Took a Level in Badass: By the end of the film, its pretty apparent that Jake took one.
- Training from Hell: Alonzo makes Hoyt do all kinds of shit, including participating in an armed robbery and smoke PCP-laced marijuana at gunpoint...in his first day as a narc.
- Villainous Breakdown: Alonzo
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Some of Alonzo's actions can be interpreted this way. Others, not so much.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: Jack comments that the police usually don't enter The Jungle with anything less than a division.
- Which is Truth in Television: that particular neighborhood is one of the most heavily controlled gang territories in Los Angeles, and the police know that going in there means they'll get killed, or at best roughed up. They do not go in there without SWAT.
- Your Cheating Heart: Alonzo has 4 kids with his wife, and at least one more with Sara.