In 1992, Warner Bros released a movie based on the life of Minister El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X. Based on his autobiography as told to Alex Haley. This was directed by Spike Lee. It was a powerhouse of a film, the actor and director researched, ate, lived , and breathed Brother Malcolm, easily one of the top ten most important humans of that century. They followed his practices and restrictions during filming. They both gave a spectacular performance of their art. It was a triumph and gave birth to a vehicle of coasting for one of the most phoned-in and one-trick actors alive today. Denzel Washington.
I am not saying I have not enjoyed other films I have seen him in. All I can say is that in those movies, all I have seen is a guy with a silly laugh that stands up really straight. I quite liked the first Equalizer. Not sure what it had to do with the original Edward Woodward series, but I still liked it. I enjoyed Man on Fire, and I enjoyed Ricochet.
Then came the 2001 Antoine Fuqua film Training Day, another Warner Bros release. It starred Ethan Hawke (the thinking man's Ashton Kutcher) as Jake Hoyt and Mr Washington as Alonzo Harris .
It was a story about twelve hours in the life of a Los Angeles narcotics-cop (Hoyt) as he tries out in an elite squad, headed by Denzel's Harris.
The boss is rude, demanding, and has a script so full of vanity I expected him to wink at the end of each sentence. He then spikes his colleague with hard drugs, thereby blackmailing him to do as he is told and forming the basis of the dynamic for a long movie. This is the start of a sequence of events so ludicrous, so patently absurd, that to ask us to use Suspension of Disbelief to write it off is way to high a cheque to write.
As the two continue the days events, which they may has well have done flying a pink-winged unicorn, we are treated to superhuman strength from the ratty little underling and supreme nastiness from the big bad wolf in a leather coat.
The squad do not like Ethan Hawke, he does not like them, he even punches officer "Paul" in retribution. A guy three times his size, who presumably could not hit back because the actor playing him (Dr Dre) is under contract to only hit people who have vaginas.
This film drags on......and on....and on....and it ends. Oscar winning?
If you are looking, then Narc with Ray Liotta, released the following year was a far better affair and deserved more plaudits.