Why David Ayer Had to Rewrite the Original Practice Day Ending
When asked how the script originally ended, David Ayer told Screenwriter’s Monthly Magazine:
“Just with Ethan Hawke’s character, Jake, just throwing the money on the bed and walking away. I think we knew then that was it. But that was the movie version of art. It would have been a version nobody seen. When you do freight on a studio project, come on, that’s business talk. It’s for profit, not to show art, so we have to be realistic.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus for “Training Day” is overall positive, but interestingly it singles out the film’s ending as “less than satisfying.” According to Washington (via Moviefone), the “Training Day” script originally ended with Alonzo escaping justice and alive, but the actor felt he should apply the biblical idea that “the wages of the sin is death”. Alonzo is such a larger-than-life character — as he puts it, King Kong “ain’t got no shit” on him — that he feels like his character really deserved to come out big, too.
Having the hail of bullets at the end gives Alonzo a memorable ending, like Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in “Scarface” or Sonny Corleone (James Caan) in “The Godfather.” While Ayer’s motivation to change the ending of “Training Day” may have stemmed from a need to appeal to commercial tastes, it arguably suits the heightened reality of the film and is part of what made it a pleasure. so exciting for the crowd.