verrated muddle of affected violence and L.A. racial melodrama, this won an Oscar for Denzel Washington. Good for him, but bad on Pittsburgh’s Antoine Fuqua, who is far too cozy with meanness. Washington is rogue cop Alonzo, greedy, crafty, corrupt, and cruel. He’s teamed with white rookie Jake (Ethan Hawke), who turns sour on his madman partner when the scope of scam he’s running comes clear. Fuqua milks racial ferocity for all it’s worth, creating a dehumanizing, bad-cop caricature that gives amoral Alonzo a chance to rant but not come to life. Jake, bewildered, is the human and humane alternative, but that’s the problem: the movie’s too craven for its own narrative good.