Why the King Kong speech from Training Day is one of the greatest movie monologues ever

In Training Day's King Kong announcement, Denzel Washington improvised the key sentence, but it was crucial.

Brian Martin

Oct 3, 2022

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The "King Kong" monologue from Training Day is among the best monologues in movie history. Iago, the antagonist in William Shakespeare's Othello, is written in iambic pentameter, which Denzel Washington transforms into syncopated street rhythms. It is comparable to Gregory Peck's monologues as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, Marlon Brando's thoughts on the atrocities of war as Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, and Joe Pesci's "Do you think I'm funny? " moment from Goodfellas or Groucho Marx's collapse in Duck Soup during the reunion. But David Ayer's screenplay did not have the one piece of dialogue that really drives the point home. Absolutely Denzel.

The most iconic scene in Training Day has LAPD Det. Sgt. Alonzo Harris saying, "King Kong ain't got shit on me." In the heat of the moment, Washington made up the sentence. He had previously made up a situation in which he threatened someone while rubbing two firearms together. This is a masterful prediction of the character breakdown that enables Washington to invoke Humphrey Bogart's Capt. Queeg from The Caine Mutiny, who fiddled with ball bearings during cross-examination.

Alonzo has previously exercised complete control over the area he monitors. He pestered tourists for free marijuana, cigarettes, and pipes and had his breakfast tabs paid cash to table. And in one moment, a "disloyal bitch-ass stupid" gang member shuts him down by standing with a white rookie officer after he just scored a life-saving hit.

Alonzo worked on this project for 13 years and has served 15,000 man years in prison. Yet when he conjures Hollywood's gigantic ape, he is also under the Russian mob's murder watch, and time is running short. Washington plays Alonzo as though he had both been ordained and merited his elevated position, displaying these inconsistencies on his face. He challenges the other performers, delivers heartfelt blows, and keeps them fully engaged in the action.

The art of acting is only one aspect of Washington's dynamics. Alonzo's speech at times has the same effect as a Tom Morello guitar run in a Rage Against the Machine song. Without using a blue note, Denzel creates lovely dissonances. He performs the entire action while being two feet away from the intimidating Terry Crews, who is waiting there like a huge Marshall amp to knock him off his feet.

The speech is not just captivating; it also arrests. And it comes to an unexpected conclusion that neither the participants nor the viewers saw coming at the start. Alonzo is here pleading for his life. Go to prison or go home is only the first bet in the cop's gamble to dominate his neighbors. And after the stirring call to action is over, the audience's response is reminiscent of the line from Bruce Springsteen's street hymn "Jungleland" that concludes, "and they wind up wounded, not even dead.”

In the film Training Day, Ethan Hawke plays a rookie narc officer named Jake who is looked after by seasoned police detective Alonzo for his first day on the job. The first villain Washington ever portrayed was Alonzo. Onscreen, the actor had a reputation for being a real hero. Even Pfc, all of his characters. The black sergeant who was shot by Peterson in A Soldier's Story and abandoned on the side of the road had a code. Even in the face of a murder confession, the character maintained a certain code of ethics and morality. Washington had gained notoriety as a movie role model by the 1990s.

He makes the most of this notoriety during Training Day. Denzel adopts a friendly demeanor and flashes his most endearing grin, and Alonzo's sideways looks are invites. He is able to teach wisdom and has all the answers. even if it's not what you want to hear.

However, it's a lovely ploy, and Washington enjoys himself as the bad guy. In a 1978 Monte Carlo lowrider, Alonzo is a devil. The devil is dressed in black leather, gold chains, and a badge. The path to hell is lubricated with malice. No siren is necessary for Alonzo. His gaze has the power to halt traffic. He is the person you contact to install the repair because he will bend the law until it breaks. He wakes up the populace to do the aerobics. Alonzo had a momentary idea of messing with people's minds.

Jake believes that the drug beat will advance him quickly to detective grade. In order to determine whether Jake has what it takes and is willing to accept anything, Alonzo is assessing him.

Slowly, the grooming begins. A few puffs on the marijuana pipe and a visit to an ex-cop who serves beverages in exchange for badges used while on duty. The process of corruption moves slowly, especially when an idealist is involved. Jake's fate is sealed in Alonzo's eyes when he later admits he's not cool with killing and robbing drug dealers, and off-screen the older cop arranges it with a Mexican gang so Jake can take the fall. When Jake's one "bad boy" story ends with an admission that he didn't have sex with his "fine" training officer after a year in park because he "has a wife," Denzel fires back with "You got

Alonzo has a due date. On a vacation to Las Vegas, he killed the wrong man, and the Russian mafia demands $1 million in retaliation by the end of the day. Before Jake crashed in on his departure, shooting him in the ass and leaving him stuck at the site, Alonzo had the money in a bag. This certainly earned Washington the Oscar.

There are several notable scenes in Training Day, like Snoop Dogg's arrest, which is pure comedy tragedy, Macy Gray's voice, which is utterly otherworldly, and Alonzo taking the wheel to save Jake's buzz. But when his life is at stake, Alonzo kills it hard.

In the film's pivotal scene, when gang boss Bone (Cle Sloan) sides with Jake and gives the newbie the money he'll need as proof to catch Alonzo, there is a cultural gap. In addition to severing ties with the bad officer and the Black community, the white cop also transforms Alonzo's defining statement into a mental collapse. It is currently diluted for mass use and is street legal. Concerning everything but his partner, Alonzo is correct. Whoever just shot him in the behind is a motherfucker.

The vitality of the location where the action was filmed contributed to its effectiveness. The Imperial Courts housing complex in Watts was deemed to be too unsafe for filming, but the locals wanted the movie to be done. They also wanted it to be truthful. Antoine Fuqua, the director, nonetheless chose to shoot there and used locals as extras or in supporting parts. According to Fuqua on the DVD, it was the first time LA gangs allowed filming on their property, and Cle Shaheed Sloan, a former Bloods member who served as the gang's technical advisor, received appearances from actual gang members.

During his major address, Washington is doing a street theatrical performance in the open to the most adoring crowd on earth. People are being paid to be authentic and display their suffering. The tension is increased and it functions like a chorus. Alonzo is a tiger with a lot of bite who has been caught by the tail. The narc officer thinks you have to be a wolf to capture a wolf. As Denzel transforms himself into the eighth wonder of the world, spit flies across the sidewalk.

King Kong was the ruler of the forest, but he perished in the streets of a city. Alonzo says with more honesty than his position of authority will allow, "I run this place, you just live here." The concrete on the blocks they dominate is under the authority of undercover police. Gangbangers operate at his whim, with Pelican Bay state jail 23-hour lockdowns as collateral held against them. When the neighborhood rejects you, it is both liberating and painful. As he inhales his final cigarette, Alonzo is aware of this. He feels that someone else is taking his position, yet they will never be able to do what he thinks only he can. He enters the contest with the conviction that he will prevail. He doesn't even consider atonement. Washington keeps his darkest chuckle for himself. The wolf's fur has been cut.

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