Training Day (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Warner Bros is celebrating its 100th Anniversary with the release of many high profile classic titles new the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format. The look like they’ll all come with a nifty slip cover that has newer art and a header logo signifying the century of cinematic existence. I believe the first one under that look will be Antoine Fuqua’s 2001 Academy Award winning film Training Day (nabbing Denzel Washington the Best Actor trophy). In addition to a brand new 4K transfer, the police thriller will be getting a brand new Dolby Atmos track, the first time it will be presented at home in a lossless format. All of the extras originating from the first DVD release are carried over and provided here, too. Training Day will be released on February 28th and you can pre-order yourself a copy using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of this review to secure yourself a copy.


Denzel Washington delivers an Academy Award-winning performance opposite Ethan Hawke in this gritty drama set in the morally ambiguous world of undercover police work. Every day a war rages between drug dealers and cops on the streets of America’s inner cities. With every war come casualties, none greater than 13-year veteran Los Angeles narcotics officer Alonzo Harris (Washington), whose questionable methods blur the line between legal and corrupt. Today Alonzo gets a new partner, idealistic rookie Jake Hoyt (Hawke), and Jake has one day–and one day only–to prove his mettle to his fiercely charismatic superior. Over 24 hours, Jake will be dragged into the ethical mire of Alonzo’s logic as both men risk their careers and their lives to serve conflicting notions of justice.

Looking back to the 2002 Academy Awards, the Best Actor statue was Denzel Washington’s to lose. Though also at that time many felt this was a “Yeah, we should have given you this years ago, so its time” type award, you can deny how damn good he is in Training Day. Alonzo Harris is a tough role. He’s got to be scary, but also loveably bad and scary. Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Ethan Hawke goes toe to toe with him and this duo’s chemistry really packs a strong punch that elevates the film into a higher tier. The film’s plot is a pretty tasty, but its these two going back and forth with one another that would have made any bad movie good and any good movie great.

As far as behind the camera, we have the early efforts of Director Antoine Fuqua and writer (later to be a director himself) David Ayer. What they’ve put together here is a tale based on true experiences and stories of corruption in the Los Angeles police narcotics division. The film has a voice, a feel and a look that is pretty strong, grounded and authentic. There are dangerous neighborhoods abound Los Angeles County and these feel it in a way that is genuine but also plays on white fear and their stereotyping. Perhaps to give it a sense of perspective from Hawke’s character as he is a our “in” character for the tale.

The film is one you’ll never forget for plenty of its little vignettes of justice and corruption that make up the full story. There are plenty of easy quotable lines as well as needle drops that can place parts and moment. But, perhaps is the Cliff Curtis shotgun to the head in the bathtub scene that maybe is its most memorable. Its perhaps one of the most intense, pulse pounding and “there is absolutely no way out of here” scenes you’ll ever see. Even knowing how it resolves, every time you watch it you still feel discomfort, dread and tense. Its great writing, filmmaking and acting all combined into an incredible piece.

Training Day is a film that just works pretty efficiently, but its the performances (Even more than Washington and Hawke – Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis, Eva Mendes and…yes, Macy Gray are all terrific) really take it above your standard police drama/thriller. And in hindsight, its quite possibly Fuqua and Ayer’s best work. Definitely a standout from 2001 still to this day and one of that year’s best films.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are from the standard Blu-ray disc and are  not from the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail Training Day debuts with a pretty lovely looking transfer that gives the film a pretty sharp, crisp look. There’s a strong visual appreciation with this one carrying rather distinct look. Color and black saturation are rather strong. Though you could argue for some spots of improvement in place, the film is probably at the best its going to be.

Depth: Depth of field is rock solid with strong pushback and nice loose pieces wandering around the frame. Movements are natural and smooth no issues of blur or jitter coming from rapid action.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and really add a nice flavor to the film’s look. Great shadow work still allows for patterns, textures and other fine details to come through. NO crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are natural and carry more a lifelike look to everything. There’s real golden slant on the color timing which informs much of the look of the film. Skies have a real nice blue to them. Nighttime and darkened scenes find a good HDR on car lights, displays, fire and more with strong contrast.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural with a slight golden edge to them, going with the color timing. Facial features and textures like sweat beads, wrinkles, stubble, dried blood, tattoos, scars and more coming through clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Parisian French

Dynamics: Training Day blasts the hell off in this fresh new Dolby Atmos track. This is the first time the film has seen lossless audio on home video and it absolutely makes the best of it. It is loud and powerful. The gun shots are felt, the engines and music rumble in your chest. The mix is well balanced too, with good layering and depth abound. Viewers should be absolutely enthralled with it.

Height: There is plenty of fun to be had from above with bullets whizzing around, music, ambient sounds and more.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer is the mvp of this whole release. There is a lot of power here and it hits plenty hard. Lots of punches, gun shots, glass shattering, engines roaring and music bumping that really makes your room pulsate to the movie.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one’s Atmos track really wanders around the room and displays some good rolling sound that is felt as it travels across. Some really good ambiance makes each environment feel lived in, from the car interior to the neighborhoods visited throughout the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Training Day comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. Aside from the audio commentary, all extras are found on the standard Blu-ray disc. All bonus features are encoded as HD, but are most definitely upconverted from SD. All bonus features are ported over and the same as they’ve been since the DVD release.

Audio Commentary

  • with Director Antoine Fuqua

Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:33)

Alternate Ending (HD, 4:46)

“Training Day”: Crossing the Line (HD, 15:02)

Music Videos

  • Nelly “#1” (HD, 4:10)
  • Pharoahe Monch “Got You” (HD, 4:21)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:24)


Training Day remains a rock solid police thriller 22 years later. Warner Bros brings it to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a lovely transfer and raging Dolby Atmos track for an outstanding presentation. Extras remain the same. This is definitely a big upgrade over the Blu-ray, so pick it up if you’re a fan!

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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