Finally, several titles, courtesy of WARNER BROS, have been released in both HD-DVD and BLU-RAY format for comparisons to be made. "TRAINING DAY" is one of the first wave of WB titles to appear in BLU-RAY format. It's the kind of film that deserves to be in any serious film lover's home theater collection. Denzel Washington gives another great performance, but Ethan Hawke is incredible too. It's hard to think of another film before or since, that deals with police corruption and the significance of good cops more powerfully or honestly. Of course, "SERPICO" and "CRASH" are the exceptions to the rule, but neither of them are as graphic or gritty as what director Antoine Fuqua puts on screen here. Not that "TRAINING DAY" isn't flawed. It really should've ended about 3 minutes or 1 scene earlier to have been the masterpiece it comes close to being.
One real disappointment stands out on the BLU-RAY version. Although both formats credit the film as having a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the "BLU-RAY" version looks slightly cropped in comparison to the HD-DVD. Why? We're not sure. We're hoping it's some type of glitch in the player itself, and will be corrected with future firmware updates, as opposed to the information on the disc itself, but there's no way to be certain at this time. With "BLU-RAY" having taken more time to fix any glitches, this stands out as a real glaring problem.
While there were some actual compression artifacts on the BLU-RAY version, we found the same problem on the HD-DVD version. While the HD-DVD version offers a brighter image, the darker image on the BLU-RAY served the gritty atmosphere of the picture better and felt more in line with the way it should optimally look. Black levels appeared stronger on the BLU-RAY version as well. Detail on both is comparable. Overall, we preferred the image of the BLU-RAY, however this cropping problem needs to be addressed and fixed immediately!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, the BLU-RAY version of "TRAINING DAY" doesn't included a PCM 5.1 mix(something standard with SONY releases), opting for the same Dolby Digital 5.1 mix offered on the standard dvd. While it's an extremely aggressive mix, filled with discrete effects and terrific fidelity, it isn't as impressive as the DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 mix offered on the HD-DVD version. The HD-DVD version has more impressive bass and clarity, although it's only noticeable in a few scenes.
All of the extras from the dvd are carried over on the HD-DVD and BLU-RAY versions. Again, we're partial to the BLU-RAY format "IF" and only "if" the cropping problem is immediately addressed!!!