Few actors enjoy the warm embrace of the mid-budget crime thriller quite like Denzel Washington, as the Hollywood legend balances his acclaimed dramatic output with a series of genre films that allow him to unleash his charisma and screen presence to its fullest effect. It’s this ‘one for me, one for them’ approach that’s seen him rack up two Academy Award wins from nine nominations, while also reigning for decades as one of the most consistently reliable box office draws of the modern era.
You can usually spot the actor’s awards-baiting projects from a mile away, but he deftly managed to balance both sides of his persona in Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day, which saw him headline a cops and criminals thriller as he’s done countless times before and since, while still delivering a powerhouse performance that found him nabbing his second Oscar, and first for Best Actor.
Scripted by David Ayer, who would then spend the better part of the next dozen years as Hollywood’s go-to guy for writing gritty street-level movies set in Los Angeles, the entire plot unfolds over less than 24 hours as Washington’s Alonzo Harris evaluates Ethan Hawke’s Jake Hoyt, with the latter being drawn into the murky world of his colleague’s more unscrupulous dealings.
Proving that Denzel Washington is just as popular on streaming as he is at the box office, Training Day has been all over Netflix’s Top 10 most-watched list since it was first added to the library last week. It might be celebrating its 20th anniversary, but the incendiary story of corrupt cops boasts plenty of themes that are still incredibly relevant today, which could well be a driving force behind its resurgence on the platform.