WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Jake Hoyt is a beat cop with detective status in his sights. Alonzo Harris is the undercover narcotics officer who can get him there. Alonzo has hand-picked Jake for his potential as a leader on an undercover team. "Eighteen months on my squad and I’ll give you a career," he pledges. But the stakes are high. The rookie gets one day on the streets with Alonzo to prove that he can handle the job. Wake up Jake, it’s training day.

Lesson number one: Narcs don’t do roll call. They don’t have desks. They have souped up, lifted, leather-upholstered Monte Carlos for offices. They talk hard, they live hard and they don’t take nothin’ from nobody. Lesson number two: Narcs don’t have to play by the rules. In fact, they can’t. Alonzo commands Jake, "Unlearn that bulls--- they teach you at the academy. Don’t bring that s--- in here. That s--- will get you killed." In Alonzo’s dirty, backstabbing world, the ends always justify the means. Small-time dealers and thugs? They’re just sheep being preyed upon by the bigger criminals. The only way to win the game is to go after the big guns. By any means necessary. Or in the senior cop’s words, "to protect the sheep, you’ve gotta catch the wolf. And it takes a wolf to kill a wolf."

Not-so-coincidentally, Jake’s training day comes just days after Alonzo got angry and killed the wrong guy (who happened to be a Russian of some status). Now there’s a price on Alonzo’s head. To get the money for the payoff, he decides to "cash in on an old account," and finally bust Roger, a dealer he’s been stroking as an informant for years. The door flies open. The cops storm the house. Alonzo recovers the $4 million he knows Roger has been hiding. The "good guys" pocket a million. Roger dies. Alonzo shoots his teammate in his bulletproof vest to provide "just cause" for homicide in the line of duty. As a "virgin shooter," Jake is the perfect person to peg as the trigger man in Roger’s death. ("You’ll get a medal of honor for this.") And four veteran officers will vouch for Alonzo’s story. ("It’s not about what you know. It’s about what you can prove.") Business as usual on the narcotics beat.

Jake’s not sure he can operate like that. But now it’s a life or death situation. If he squeals, he’s a dead man. If he plays along, he betrays his own standards of justice. Is Jake naïve? Or is Alonzo’s cutthroat police methodology as warped as Jake thinks it is? One thing’s for sure. Plenty of blood gets spilled before there���s only one cop standing.

positive content: Jake loves and values his wife and daughter very much. So much that he refuses to do dishonest things, like embezzle money, even to benefit his family.

Training Day’s ultimate message is a powerful one: you may live as if the ends justify the means, but in the end, justice prevails. More than once, honesty and strong ethics save Jake’s life.

spiritual content: Jake refuses to take a hit of marijuana when Alonzo first offers it, so Alonzo asks, "What, you a Jesus freak or a Mormon or something?"

sexual content: When Alonzo and Jake first meet, Alonzo makes a string of sexual wisecracks (including one homosexual reference) about Jake’s former senior officer being a woman. Alonzo introduces Jake to his wife and son, then leaves Jake and the boy in the living room while he and his wife go to the bedroom to have sex—while he’s on the clock. Most embarrassing and gratuitous is a scene in which Jake finally confronts Alonzo. It’s in the senior officer’s bedroom and Alonzo is clothed, but his wife is completely naked. A full-frontal nudity shot of her is slightly out of focus, but not otherwise obscured.

violent content: Training Day is a film full of harsh violence. Someone is constantly being held at gunpoint, and it’s not just for effect. These guys are serious about killing each other if their needs so dictate. There’s gunplay between cops and thugs. A car’s window gets shot out. Cars crash; people fly through plate glass windows. Alonzo shoots Roger at point-blank range with a shotgun. The audience sees the six distinct bullet holes in his chest and then watches him die. During several tense scenes, cops hold drug dealers at gunpoint. There are half a dozen brutal fist fights and tons of bloody eyes, noses and mouths. Alonzo forcibly gags a dealer with a ball point pen to make him regurgitate six rocks of crack that he’s swallowed. A group of thugs beats Jake, shoves him in a bathtub, turns the water on his head and comes close to blowing him away with a shotgun to the temple. A man gets pumped full of automatic rifle bullets. The audience sees his body convulsing from the hits.

crude or profane language: Like its violence, this film’s language is vicious. A constant barrage of f- and s-words (about 120 and 95, respectively), as well as scores of other profanities and a handful of misuses of God and Jesus’ names. More than a dozen uses of crude sexual slang, including references to gang rape and homosexual rape.

drug and alcohol content: Since the movie’s about drug busts, it’s no surprise that drugs and alcohol flow freely. Marijuana, PCP, crack, you name it. However, the drugs are not just in the hands of dealers and users. Alonzo’s philosophy about narcotics officers is that a good one "should have narcotics in his blood." He justifies this by saying that if a Narc refuses drugs on the street, he blows his cover and could possibly lose his life. He makes Jake take a huge toke of marijuana laced with PCP. Then he pumps Jake full of alcohol to counteract the drug high. In addition, he drinks with his colleagues and has open containers of alcohol in his car, often drinking while driving. During several tense scenes, Alonzo lights up a cigarette as if to prove how calm, cool and collected he is.

other negative elements: Alonzo lives large, and it’s not just because he gets a big paycheck. He embezzles goods from crime scenes and justifies the theft by giving some of it to the families of his informants. He also regularly bribes suppliers within the police system for warrants, etc.

conclusion: Without question, stunning performances from both Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington make Training Day a compelling film. Perennial hero Washington is nearly as good at being bad as he is at being good. And Hawke’s timid-yet-persistent uprightness keeps audiences wondering for the whole two hours whether he’ll sell out. [Spoiler Warning] The very good news is, he doesn’t. Not only that, but even as he’s driving the last nail in Alonzo’s coffin, he still doesn’t stoop to using the corrupt methods of his friend-turned-nemesis.

I’d like to, but I can’t even say that it’s a case of too little, too late. The ending works. The lessons are very clear that ethics are objective and justice always prevails. There can be little question about what audiences are supposed to take away from this film. Unfortunately, en route to that conclusion, viewers are slammed with so much violence and profanity that moviegoers psyches are left bleeding in the theater aisles. Training Day should practice what it preaches and remember that the end truly doesn't justify the means.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!