Why King Kong’s Speech From Training Day Is One Of The Best Movie Monologues Of All Time

Not all of Washington’s dynamics are limited to acting. Some of Alonzo’s lines sound like a Tom Morello guitar in a Rage Against the Machine song. Denzel drives beautiful dissonances with no blue note. And he does it all within two feet of a hulking Terry Crews, who stands there like a giant Marshall amp ready to knock him over.

The monologue is more than engaging, it is gripping. And it ends in an unexpected place, certainly not expected by the audience or the players when it starts. Alonzo is screaming for his life here. The stake “go to jail or go home” is only the first bet of the cop’s bet to control his neighbors. And after the resounding wake-up call ends, the crowd’s reaction is reminiscent of the conclusion to Bruce Springsteen’s street anthem “Jungleland,” which reads “and they end up hurt, not even dead.”

training day tells the story of veteran police detective, undercover cop Alonzo, who guards rookie NARC cop Jake, played by Ethan Hawke, through his first day on the streets. Alonzo’s role was the first villain Washington had ever played. The actor had an on-screen reputation as a genuine hero. All his characters, even Pfc. peterson in A soldier’s story, who shot a black sergeant and left him on the side of the road, had a code. There’s a set of ethics and morals the character held to, even in the face of a murder confession. In the 90s, Washington was a renowned role model in cinema.

For most of training day, he uses this reputation to his advantage. Denzel puts on his good-guy voice and his most charismatic smile, and Alonzo’s sideways glances are inviting. He has all the answers and knows how to impart wisdom. Even if you don’t want to hear it.

But it’s a nice trick, and Washington has fun playing the bad guy. Alonzo is a demon in a 1978 Monte Carlo lowrider. The devil has gold chains, black leather and a badge. The road to hell is greased with bad intentions. Alonzo doesn’t need a siren. He can stop traffic with a glance. He bends the law until it breaks, and he’s the guy you call to put the fix. He rouses the citizens for cardio. Alonzo plays with people’s heads like a fleeting thought.

Meanwhile, Jake thinks the narco beat will put him on the fast track to detective rank. Alonzo assesses Jake to see if he has what it takes and if he will take what he can get.

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