Denzel Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of perhaps the dirtiest cop in cinema since Harvel Keitel’s drug-addled lost soul in Abel Ferrara’s “Bad Lieutenant.” Director Antoine Fuqua’s “Training Day” paints a disturbing portrait of Los Angeles as an almost post-apocalyptic urban wasteland of crime and corruption, where wide-eyed detective-in-training Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is looking to do some good; he’s assigned to veteran LAPD superstar Alonzo Harris (Washington) as his professional “evaluator,” a cool and charismatic celebrity cop who actually has his fingers in about two dozen pots, all of them highly illegal. Harris ends up taking Hoyt on the ride of his life as they traverse the mean streets of L.A., with the rookie called upon to make some hard moral and ethical choices by nightfall – and, indeed, to act on them. “Training Day” walks a line of ever-increasing tension as a younger, less experienced protege is forced to do a tightrope act between ambition and his own personal set of principles; Fuqua injects what is essentially a Machiavellian morality play with a gritty sense of realism by shooting in some of the most infamous neighborhoods of southern California. Several hip-hop and R&B artists appear in supporting roles, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Macy Gray. – IFC Staff