Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. 78
    A razor-wire-taut (and extremely violent) exploration of what happens when good guys go bad, badder, baddest.
  2. 50
    Denzel Washington does a cocksure turn in Training Day -- That may be enough to transform a shallow picture with delusions of grandeur into a crowd-pleasing hit.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    Even when it falls back excessively on coincidence and contrived set pieces, even when it gushes irretrievably over the top in its final act, Washington makes Training Day sizzle.
  4. He presides over the picture with such assurance that even longtime Denzel-watchers gape.
  5. 30
    A blandly twisting plot with no meaningful revelations or substantial themes.
  6. 75
    So extreme is his mad dog behavior, indeed, that it shades over into humor: Washington seems to enjoy a performance that's over the top and down the other side.
  7. This is a movie that rocks and socks you, and has a performance by Washington that's ruthless and scary. But in the end, it leaves you unmarked.
  8. There's no denying that Washington can play a rococo villain with flip ebullience, but I fervently wish he were doing it in a movie that paid more than lip service to the real world.
  9. 70
    Bit of melodramatic grandstanding that it is -- is made irrelevant by Washington's volcanic energy and fierce conviction.
  10. 40
    One of those movie equivalents of a freeway pileup -- it's a mess, at once insistently watchable and a total dead end.
  11. Though Training Day doesn't resolve itself as well as it deserves and ends strictly cops-and-robbers style, it's given us some great acting and something to ponder. Not every cop show can lay claim to that.
  12. 75
    Even if the movie loses its nerve at the end, that doesn't take anything away from Washington's performance.
  13. 80
    Mesmerizing entertainment, but it's also a cop-out.
  14. 80
    Washington creates an indelibly charming and terrifying character whose volatile blend of dedication and horrible expediency keeps us off balance.
  15. The movie raises questions that are on plenty of minds right now, including whether and how much the rules should be bent to wage a war (in this case, on drugs) that cannot be won conventionally.
  16. On a purely visceral level, Training Day is easily the most exciting movie out there right now, but as a morality tale with anything large on its mind, it's a cop-out.
  17. 88
    Be warned: Though it's entirely justified by the story, there's a level of violence and brutality in Training Day -- that some terror-weary audience members may not care to cope with these days.
  18. Training Day has the best performances and worst third act of any movie you're likely to see this year.
  19. 50
    It's a little depressing to see such a thrilling talent deployed in such an ordinary and sordid movie. Training Day isn't awful, but it's absolutely nothing special.
  20. 60
    But this is Washington's show, his Scarface, if you will, and his smiling, seductive monster is a thrilling creation that gives Training Day all the bite it needs.
  21. 90
    One of the finest cops-and-robbers thrillers of recent years.
  22. It is so propulsive so much of the time, it almost looks as if it's going to go the distance. If Washington & Co. don't quite manage to bring it home, the getting there sure is something.
  23. The masochistic brutality it's selling still seems glaringly out of step with the current mood of the country.
  24. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    If nothing else, Training Day is a gorgeous pedestal for Denzel Washington.
  25. 70
    Mr. Washington's dry-ice grandeur -- the predator's reflexes contrasting with a pensive mouth -- deserves regard, and his powerhouse virtuosity will almost guarantee him an Oscar nomination.
  26. 90
    Trashy and opportunistic as some of it is, Training Day is the most vital police drama since "The French Connection" or "Serpico."
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    As long as Training Day stays tightly focused on the struggle between the two cops, the movie is first rate.
  28. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    Even after it becomes clearer which side of law Harris is operating on, the film continues to work as a taut -- if violent -- police thriller.
  29. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    With its unflinching style, Training Day can be hard to sit through at times. But it's worth the discomfort for the adrenaline rush of the plot and Washington's compelling performance.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Ominously atmospheric study of police corruption dangles danger and sinister motives at every turn.
  31. 80
    Antoine Fuqua's propulsive, elegantly written police thriller, offers the unsettling spectacle of Denzel Washington.
  32. Training Day can be simplistic, formulaic and absurdly melodramatic -- but Mr. Washington is flat-out great.
  33. Reviewed by: Megan Rosenfeld
    80
    A taut, high-velocity film that departs from the action flick template by having actual ideas.
  34. As exhausting as it is exhilarating to watch, the film in the end is less than fully satisfying.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 141 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 62
  2. Negative: 6 out of 62
  1. BusterB
    Apr 18, 2008
    10
    This is one of the best movies ever. Seriously, Denzel and Ethan Hawke were amazing and the whole concept of the movie was great. The supporting cast took me by surprise when Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg made appearances and they were actually reasonably good. The action, the one-liners, the immortalized ending, the shady characters, the fact that this was filmed in the real gang areas in LA, and the look into the face of evil (Denzel) really made this movie shine. Amazing, and I recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind a whole lot of cussing. Full Review »
  2. Mar 18, 2011
    10
    One of my top 5 favorite movies of all time. Awesome story, perfect acting. Denzel Washington is my favorite actor and Hawke did great too. Lots of quotable lines in this movie. Full Review »
  3. Brandon
    Dec 1, 2008
    10
    Amazing dark cop drama. One of the best "corrupt cop" movies there is. For everyone claiming it is too over the top and unrelalistic.... please look up the LAPD Rampart scandal, which is what inspired the film. Full Review »