Denzel Washington’s Training Day is now the 9th most-watched movie on Netflix. It joins an eclectic mix of overlooked gems and slightly older blockbusters on the streaming giant, which offers a ton of content tailored to every taste.
Written by David Ayer and directed by Antoine Fuqua, Training Day is a crime thriller focusing on two LAPD narcotics officers, Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris and Ethan Hawkes’s Jake Hoyt, over a 12-hour period in South Central Los Angeles. Cliff Curtis, Snoop Dogg, Scott Glenn, and Dr. Dre round out the cast in supporting roles.
When the film hit theaters in October 2001, it received mostly positive reviews from critics and audiences. It holds a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is more than decent for a film that critics said had an unsatisfying ending. Denzel Washington actually fought to change the ending and had a hand in how it ultimately turned out, which can either be a great thing or a terrible thing depending on your thoughts about the film’s climax. Regardless of your feelings on the movie’s ending, you’ve got to admit that both Denzel and Ethan Hawke totally knocked it out of the park in their respective roles. In fact, it was their performances that critics seemed to think was the movie’s most impressive aspect, with many reviewers disagreeing on the effectiveness of the script.
As far as its box office haul goes, the Denzel Washington-led film pulled in some pretty impressive numbers. Training Day cost $45 million to make and went on to gross $104.8 million worldwide, making it a commercial success. That’s a pretty solid profit, and the film’s box office performance was definitely bolstered by a mostly positive reception from audiences and critics.
Denzel Washington’s other big-screen roles include Joe “Deke” Deacon in the just-released neo-noir crime film The Little Things, Herman Boone in Remember the Titans, Robert McCall in both of the recent Equalizer movies (also directed by Antoine Fuqua), Sam Chisolm in the remake of The Magnificent Seven, Frank Lucas in American Gangster, Troy Maxson in Fences, and many, many others. He is also set to play Lord MacBeth opposite Frances McDormand’s Lady MacBeth in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of MacBeth, which is now in post-production. His resume is extensive, stretching back to the late 1970s. In addition to debuting in feature films in 1981’s Carbon Copy, he also got his start in theater with Coriolanus and on TV with The Wilma Rudolph Story.
He doesn’t do this as often as he acts, but Denzel Washington is also an accomplished director. He made his directorial debut in 2002 with the biopic Antwone Fisher, which boasts an A+ CinemaScore and a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not a bad debut at all. Additionally, he helmed the upcoming drama Journal for Jordan as well as an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the films Fences and The Great Debaters (among others). He also helped produce the acclaimed 2020 film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
In addition to his impressive directing and producing credits, Denzel Washington still ranks among the best, most accomplished actors of our day, having won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Training Day. The aforementioned 2016 film Fences, which Washington both starred in and directed, was nominated for Best Picture the following awards season. Throughout his illustrious career, he has also won 17 NAACP Image Awards, a Tony Award, three Golden Globes, and two Oscars, the first being a Best Supporting Actor award in the 1989 Civil War film Glory and the second being for playing Alonzo Harris in Training Day. Just last year, The New York Times named him the 21st century’s greatest actor, beating out legends such as Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Song Kang Ho, Viola Davis, and many other esteemed actors and actresses.
It will be fascinating to see what Denzel does next, and with potentially hard-hitting films such as The Tragedy of MacBeth and Journal for Jordan in the pipeline, you can bet that he has some incredible things in store for us. The Tragedy of MacBeth and Journal for Jordan have both not yet received a release date, so until they hit theaters or streaming, be sure to check out Denzel’s many other memorable roles. You’ve got plenty to choose from and you really can’t go wrong.