African American Film director Antoine Fuqua has been a veteran in the game for a long time. He first made a name for himself directing music videos and soon transitioned into feature films. You may not know him by name, but you will definitely know his work. Here are Antoine Fuqua’s five best films so far.
5. The Replacement Killers (1998)
Take a popular Asian movie star, add a famous American actress, mix in an entertaining plot, and throw in a whole lot of bullets and you get the always fun to watch The Replacement Killers. This film follows John Lee (Chow Yun-Fat) as the extraordinarily dangerous hit man who suddenly wants to lead a normal life. Lee has a crisis of conscience and decides not to kill his last target. Instead, he tries to create a new identity by enlisting the help of an underground forger in Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino) so he can start over. Unfortunately, Lee’s boss decides to hire replacement killers to finish his last job and then kill him. What makes this movie so good are the stunts and the exciting gun fights. You know John Lee is a real badass when you find out that his bullets are engraved with the Chinese character that means death. The Replacement Killers is predictable, yet a very underrated film of its time.
4. Southpaw (2015)
Light heavyweight boxing champ Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is not the one you want to mess with. He is undefeated, vicious in the ring, and the more he gets hit the harder he fights back. Billy’s only real weakness is that he lets his temper get the best of him sometimes. Of course Billy loses his temper one fateful night and he tragically loses everything. He soon finds himself back in his old Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and must find a way to conquer his demons in order to reclaim what he has lost. ‘Southpaw’ has pretty much everything you will want in a great film including: intense action, superb acting, and A-list stars. Jake Gyllenhaal has proven over the years that he is willing to undergo extreme physical changes to enhance his performance and he definitely looks the part of a boxer with his ripped physique and scarred face. His performance is excellent as usual. Forest Whitaker is also great in this film and almost steals every scene he is in. Rachel McAdams may not have been in this film very long, but she absolutely shines on screen. Her chemistry with Gyllenhaal was so believable that it really added to the devastation that happens later on. ‘Southpaw’ is at its best during the boxing scenes because they are very intense and extremely entertaining to watch. You will cringe with every blow Billy takes to his head. Wait until you see what happens to him in his fight right after his tragedy.
3. Shooter (2007)
Mark Wahlberg has come a long way since he used to drop his pants during his Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch days. Wahlberg apparently does not want to be reminded of this time in his life and movies like ‘Shooter’ has helped make people think of him as more of a serious actor. He plays ex-Marine Bob Lee Swagger who has been living in exile for several years. Swagger was a deadly sharpshooter who killed his targets from long range. The United States government requests his help on a secret mission to stop an assassin from shooting the President. He is soon double crossed and finds himself on the run. Swagger must find out who set him up before they permanently take him out. ‘Shooter’ is another predictable film from almost the first minute on; but you will watch until the very end because it is just so much fun to watch. It’s great to see Swagger turn the tables on his enemy and get the best of them.
2. The Equalizer (2014)
Now if you are looking for a really good revenge flick then you should check out ‘The Equalizer’. It stars Denzel Washington as an unassuming, mild-mannered man in Robert McCall who works in a Home Depot style warehouse. He doesn’t look like much of a threat at all until a young, troubled prostitute named Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz) gets hurt by a Russian gangster. All Robert wants to do is secure her freedom from that lifestyle. Instead of accepting his offer, the gangster and his crew rudely decline it and get a taste of what Robert can really do. Apparently, Robert was a highly skilled secret operative for the US government who was trained to kill. He wanted to escape his murderous past to lead a more normal life. (Doesn’t this sound like the lead character on number five of this list?) Anyway, the way Robert calmly dispatches of the gangsters is so much fun to watch. Though when Robert does this, he exposes himself to even more dangerous mobsters and now they want him dead. The way The Equalizer ends is so rewarding that you will want to watch it over and over again.
1. Training Day (2001)
Denzel Washington is arguably one of the greatest actors of all time so it should be no surprise that he is on this list more than once. Many did not like seeing the usually good guy Washington play the villain, but he was so convincing that he won an Oscar for his performance. On top of that, ‘Training Day’ has become an important film on a cultural level due to some of its quotes. The phrase, “King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me!” became so popular that it was used in other movies and television shows well after it was released. Washington starred as Det. Alonzo Harris from the narcotics division of the LAPD. He is the type of guy who will smile in your face while stabbing you in your back. Harris takes being a crooked cop to a whole new level and is hiding several huge secrets from the police. It is Jake Hoyt’s (Ethan Hawke) first day on the job and Harris vows to show him the ropes for the next twenty four hours. Harris promises Jake that he will learn a lot on his training day. Jake has no idea that Harris has a sinister plan set up for him by the end of the day. Every moment of this film is so good because you will not know what is going to happen next. If you haven’t seen this dark, gritty thriller then you need to right now. Washington’s portrayal of Det. Alonzo Harris should easily go down as one of the best villains of all time.
So there you have it; Antoine Fuqua’s top five films so far. With a track record this strong, Fuqua is sure to direct several more amazing movies for years to come. Only time will tell if any of his future films will ever be as great as these.