TrainingDayis a 2001 movie that depicts a modern Los Angeles’ policedepartment. A narcotic officer, detective Alonzo, is considered ahigh profile officer with an outstanding reputation for sendingcriminals to jail (Jamezanoz, 2001). However, Alonzo’s tactics andmethods when enforcing the law do not follow the standard policeprocedure because he discharges his weapon randomly and mishandlesevidence and suspects. Detective Alonzo believes that the only way tobe an effective officer is to intimidate the streets. A young police,Jake Hoyt, is partnered with Alonzo to train as a narcotics officer.Jake’s dream is to get a promotion and advance his career so thathe can buy a better house for his wife and child (Jamezanoz, 2001).Alonzo believes that Jake needs to learn the corrupt tactics ofhandling drug dealers. During the twenty-four training, detectiveAlonzo forces Jake at gunpoint to smoke marijuana laced withphencyclidine (PCP) just to show Jake the reality on the streets.Alonzo teaches Jake that he cannot turn down gifts on the streetsbecause it might cost him his life. Alonzo watches Jake stop two menwho were raping a girl and instead of arresting the rapists, hethoroughly beats them up. By the end of the film, Jake has undergonechange since he is willing to abandon the rules and defend himselfand all those that he loves (Jamezanoz, 2001).
Themain purpose of the movie is to provide a fascinating, but realisticdepiction of war taking place on the urban front lines. Every day,there is a war being waged on America’s inner city streets, whichresults in a constant conflict between drug dealers, residents, andthe law enforcement officers (Jamezanoz, 2001). This war has resultedin casualties due to the questionable approaches used by the policeofficers, which blurs the line between corruption and legality.Therefore, the movie using the character of detective Alonzo depictsthis situation through his corrupt approaches to deal with issues onthe street. The deviance displayed in the movie relates centrally tothe abuse of power by the police officers. Accordingly, the depictionof police corruption and deviance in the movie is not far fetchedsince it portrays the situation in some streets in the country, whichcontinue to deal with severe forms of corruption practiced by thosepeople who are meant to enforce the law (Jamezanoz, 2001).
Themovie’s strength is the use of an ingenious screenplay, whichrevolves around careful characterization with a reasonablywell-written script enough to maintain the audience’s interest. Theentire movie is more than just an account of bad men engaging inimmoral behavior. The plot is carefully designed to evoke theaudience’s feelings since one cannot help but feel a bit of empathyfor Jake, who began his career with a high moral character only to beplaced under the mentorship a corrupt detective (Jamezanoz, 2001).Besides, it provokes the audience to question the morality ofdetective Alonzo’s actions. For example, Jake is fascinated byAlonzo’s actions since he steals from the drug dealers and murders.Therefore, his actions are corrupt, but they are only intended forthe worst people in the society. Consequently, the drama is anintense action that asks the audience to decide the actions thatcross the line in the gray area of fighting urban crime. Unlike otherpolice films, TrainingDayexplores the depth of the police corruption on the streets. The moviedoes not have a hero rising up to save the day and eliminate thecorrupt police and all their immoral practices. As such, it gives aneffective structure since it has a great imbalance of the two maincharacters (Jamezanoz, 2001).
However,the entire movie takes place in one very long, rough day for a youngpolice officer. Although it is possible for the two police officersto engage in all the activities they did during the training day, itis not realistic for Jake to prove himself as a morally upright manwithin 24 hours. Over that time, Jake is pulled deeper into theethical issues of Alonzo’s logic and practices to enforce the law(Jamezanoz, 2001). In the morning, all Jake wants is to get criminalsoff the streets. He plans to do a good job and even gets into thenarcotics team to advance his career and make enough money to livecomfortably. However, it takes only one day for everything to turnaround and by the time he finds out what it takes to achieve hisdreams, it is too late as he has gotten himself too deep withdetective Alonzo. For example, Alonzo is shown abusing his authorityusing fake arrest warrants, falsely planting evidence, drinking anddoing drugs on duty, and tampering and stealing evidence all duringthe one day of training while still recruiting Jake (Jamezanoz,2001). Besides, Alonzo has been a corrupt officer who does what ittakes to meet his personal interests. He puts his life on the linewhen dealing with criminals and drug dealers on the streets.Therefore, it is not logic that he can make such a huge mistake ofrevealing his criminal agenda on the first day of training(Jamezanoz, 2001). The class starts early during breakfast and by theend of the day, Alonzo has put Jake through a set of demands, whichare impossible to achieve with a 24-hour period. Furthermore, thetraining day should naturally show Jake being instructed on how tohandle drug dealers. Instead, the viewer sees Jake being conned as hefinds ways to deal with the situation. Moreover, the 24-hour trainingperiod is not enough time to portray Alonzo’s character as acorrupt police and continually test Jake to make him abandon hismoral beliefs (Jamezanoz, 2001).
Thenagain, the movie would have been better if the characters were moredeveloped. The audience does not have background information aboutdetective Alonzo, who is one of the main characters in the movie. Theaudience only knows that Alonzo is very tense and willing to dowhatever it takes for his own personal interest (Jamezanoz, 2001).Therefore, the audience never finds out why he acts that way or whatcauses this particular way of life. Similarly, very little backgroundinformation is provided about Jake except that his wife looks forwardto seeing him at the end of every day. Accordingly, the audience isleft to fill in the gaps of information as to the motives that drivethe characters to behave in a certain way. Besides, Alonzo’scharacter is complicated, which makes it hard to identify with thecharacters since their actions are open to different forms ofinterpretation (Jamezanoz, 2001). The audience does not know ifAlonzo entered law enforcement as a bad person or if he acquired thischaracter due to circumstances and hardship of the work environment.Although the audience learns that Alonzo was under the mentorship ofa hardened, major drug-dealer retired, it is not enough to explainhis corrupt character, which made him a ruthless gangster (Jamezanoz,2001). Furthermore, there is too much violence and graphic languageconsidering that the movie is essentially about temptation andmorality. Therefore, at the end, the audience might question what theaudience is supposed to learn from this film since they are slammedwith too much violence and profanity. The movie would have been muchbetter if the ending was different. The current ending refuses totake sides against the abuse of power by law enforcement officers(Jamezanoz, 2001).
Policecorruption is a major problem in the country due to the greed anddishonest behavior of many police officers (Dempsey & Forst,2013). Although most of their corrupt actions are directed at thecriminals in the society, it introduces a negative perception of thelaw enforcement. Police corruption poses challenges to goodgovernance and the efforts to fight against crime and violence. Thelaw enforcement is one of the most significant institutions in thesociety that is entrusted with upholding the law. Therefore, when thepolice officers are linked with dishonesty, the trust of theinstitution is undermined, and it endangers the fight againstorganized crime (Chappell & Piquero, 2004). Theories on policecorruption explain that it occurs due to a person’s naturaltendency to engage in unethical behavior. Some of the theories alsoexplain that the law enforcement’s work environment causes theofficers consider the unethical behavior necessary since the pressureto give results is greater than the pressure to follow the rules(Dempsey & Forst, 2013). This is shown through Alonzo, who iswilling to break the rules just to punish criminals and drug dealerson the streets. Another explanation to police deviance is mentoring.New police officers are usually placed under the mentorship of moreexperienced officers. Therefore, mentoring can allow corruption tospread just like the case of Jake, who is placed under one of themost corrupt and criminal police officers (Chappell & Piquero,2004).
Overall,the movie puts into perspective how some of the police officersbehave. With the stunning performances, the film shows how the policeofficers engage in corruption to meet their personal interests. Thefilm shows the audience that the police officers do not feel the needto follow the rules since their badge gives them a sense of power.Having watched the movie, the viewer becomes more aware of policemisconduct from minor things such as running through a stop sign whenthey do not have emergencies to blackmailing suspects. Although thereality of law enforcement may not be as cruel as the movie portraysit to be, police corruption is still a problem in the society.Therefore, the law enforcement and other agencies should look forways to combat the corruption deep rooted in the department to ensurethey fulfill their civic duties. However, this is only possible ifthey strongly condemn and punish the corrupt officers and ensure theydo not mentor other young and new officers to follow their footstepsotherwise, the corruption in the police institution will new end.
Chappell,A. T., & Piquero, A. R. (2004). Applying social learning theoryto police misconduct. Deviantbehavior,25: 89-108.
Dempsey,J. S., & Forst, L. S. (2013). Anintroduction to policing.New York: Cengage learning.
Jamezanoz.(2016). TrainingDay 2001 Full Movie.Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbjQa5SCBMo