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Here’s Every Antoine Fuqua Movie, Ranked

Here’s Every Antoine Fuqua Movie, Ranked

Antoine Fuqua is an action/thriller director who makes films that are mostly about men with violent pasts they have tried to leave behind, only to be pulled back into action and violence by circumstances beyond their control. They are brutal, but they are heroes — and they are war machines, capable of taking down entire armies. His films often contain epic battles and incredible shootouts with high body counts, with an unstoppable protagonist who kills everyone standing in the way of justice and honor. His characters have secretive pasts that come back to haunt them.

Before turning his attention to films, Fuqua directed many music videos for a wide variety of artists, ranging from Prince to Lil Wayne and 3 Doors Down. He’s also directed some great documentaries on Black icons like Suge Knight and Muhammad Ali, which have contributed to his proud focus on people of color throughout his work. His next project, Emancipation for Apple TV+, was just screened with star Will Smith present, following months of post-Oscars slap controversy. Here’s every Antoine Fuqua movie, ranked.

Updated October 5, 2022: If you love Antoine Fuqua films, you’ll be happy to know we’ve updated this article with additional content and info.


15/15 Bait (2000)

Every great filmmaker is entitled to one flop, and in Fuqua’s case, that film is the comedy action thriller Bait starring Jamie Foxx, who plays a strong character in an otherwise weak film. Bait draws on Fuqua’s experience directing music videos, as he uses many of those visual and editing techniques in this film — as well as in his film The Replacement Killers, both films made early in his directing career — before he really found his own style and niche. The movie deserves some credit because it is funny at times and does a good job combining action and comedy, and it has a high-powered performance by Foxx. The film was a financial disaster for Warner Brothers, making back only $15 of its $51 million budget.

14/15 King Arthur (2004)

In this tame, revisionist look at the King Arthur legend, Clive Owen stars as the titular king, who grows up as a Roman warrior-slave. Not to be confused with Guy Ritchie’s 2017 film, here Arthur and his men are sent on one last mission before they are freed from the Romans, and the mission involves saving a Roman family from rapidly approaching soldiers. However, when they arrive, they are outraged at the barbaric ways of the locals. Ray Winstone stands out as one of Arthur’s royal men, and the director’s cut is worth seeking out; it’s more violent and the romantic plot lines are different.

13/15 Brooklyn’s Finest (2009)

Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest follows the story of three police officers. Richard Gere plays Officer Eddie Dugan, a burned-out alcoholic cop one week away from retiring, who is assigned to oversee rookie officers in some of the worst neighborhoods of Brooklyn. He protests, but still does his job, and is teamed up with a rookie who sees things differently and transfers to another unit, unable to deal with Dugan’s ways, which he finds cowardly. He is subsequently killed, and his replacement makes a huge error while on duty. Ethan Hawke plays a corrupt detective (in a fun turn-around from Fuqua’s Training Day) with a pregnant wife who is stealing drug money so that he can improve the life of his family. Don Cheadle plays an undercover narcotics detective, fed up with a racist system. The stories link up in the end, and only one cop is able to redeem his ways in this hard and gritty film.

12/15 Infinite (2021)

Mark Wahlberg stars in Fuqua’s Infinite, named so because his character has unlimited lives due to reincarnation. He has lived in hundreds of other bodies, mastering his warrior skills, and he finds out that there are others who are like him — some good, some evil — and he is needed to help stop the evil faction. The recent film has fun science fiction visuals and great, exciting action sequences, which should be enough to sell you on this Fuqua/Wahlberg collaboration.

Related: Every Upcoming Mark Wahlberg Movie We’re Excited to See

11/15 The Replacement Killers (1998)

Fuqua’s debut film is The Replacement Killers, a stylish action thriller featuring international superstar Chow Yun-Fat, best known for his roles in some of John Woo’s incredible and dazzling films that feature more gunplay than you’ll likely see in ten action films combined. Chow Yun-Fat plays John Lee, an assassin who turns down an assignment to murder the child of a police officer played by Michael Rooker, and then becomes a target himself. The film is somewhat of an homage to the epic stylized violence of both Sam Peckinpah and Hong Kong action films (such as the brilliant masterpiece Hard Boiled) directed by filmmakers like Woo (who was brought in as executive producer) and Ringo Lam, and it has a different feel to it than Fuqua’s other films, with Chow Yun-Fat seemingly shooting thousands of rounds in this quick-paced thriller that also features Mira Sorvino.

10/15 Bullet Train (2022)

Fuqua serves as producer of this film, instead of director, but that doesn’t mean Brad Pitt’s latest popcorn flick lacks Fuqua-esque action and thrills. Bullet Train is an adaptation of the Japanese novel Maria Beetle that follows Ladybug (Brad Pitt) on a simple, straightforward mission to retrieve a briefcase from a high-speed “bullet train.” The mission quickly becomes complicated, however, as we soon learn that the train is filled with numerous deadly assassins. Ladybug must survive an onslaught of attacks and find out why the train is loaded with so many world-class assassins. It’s a hoot seeing Pitt back in action-hero role while also showing off his comedic chops. And given the expansive world the film has introduced, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a sequel or spin-off.

Related: How Bullet Train’s Convoluted Plot All Comes Together

9/15 The Equalizer (2014)

The Equalizer is an action-suspense film based on the television series from the 80s. The filmmakers presume that the viewer is familiar with the show and provide very little of the protagonist’s backstory his motivations, which is problematic if you are not a regular viewer of the show. The Equalizer is a brutal revenge film, starring Denzel Washington as a man on a vengeful killing spree, destroying everyone who has ever crossed his path or attempted to kill him. He befriends a young sex worker with dreams of making it big as a singer, and when she is savagely beaten, Washington’s character goes to war with the Russian mafia. The film does drag on at some points, and it is nowhere near as good as the surprising sequel The Equalizer 2.

8/15 Tears of the Sun (2003)

In Tears of the Sun, Bruce Willis plays a Navy SEAL with the specific mission to extract several prominent medical doctors from an African war zone before their village is massacred. There is just one problem: the dedicated doctors won’t fly away and leave their village of 70 people behind, knowing they will be executed. They bravely insist that the Navy SEAL team save not just the doctors but the whole village. There are incredibly realistic action scenes and shootouts that make this a high-tension entertaining war movie. Willis has one of his best roles as a soldier who must make a life-or-death decision that will affect scores of innocent lives.

7/15 Shooter (2007)

Wahlberg stars in Fuqua’s action flick Shooter as a former specially trained sniper who is called out of retirement to help the government stop a presidential assassination, only to find that he is the fall guy in the assassination of another major politician. He immediately goes on the run as sketchy shadow government types hunt him down, trying to kill him to tie up loose ends and frame him. Wahlberg is terrific and carries the film. Ned Beatty is also great as a corrupt Senator (and doesn’t even have to squeal like a pig).

6/15 The Guilty (2021)

The Guilty is Fuqua’s nerve-wracking thriller about a police officer, played with intensity by Jake Gyllenhaal, who answers 911 calls. When he receives a phone call from a woman who claims to be a kidnap victim being driven around the city in a white van, he springs into action. Most of the film is taken up by shots of Gyllenhaal on the phone, so that we hardly see any other actors, and this creates a claustrophobic feeling. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and we learn that Gyllenhaal’s police officer, like so many of Fuqua’s characters, is a man burdened by his own secrets and problems. The climax is exciting and surprisingly downbeat, and the acting is absolutely first-rate, making for a paranoid thriller where nothing is what it seems.

5/15 The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Far better than The Equalizer is its sequel, also starring Washington and directed by Fuqua, The Equalizer 2. This time around, we get a little more backstory so that we have a better understanding of Washington’s vengeance-driven vigilante killer. Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a Boston Lyft driver and professional problem solver. The final showdown of the film, taking place in a torrential rainstorm, is exciting, amazing, and unpredictable. Bill Pullman returns from the original film as well, and tragedy awaits him. This is a brutal action-packed film that is similar to other Denzel Washington films like Man on Fire, and it is filmmaking at its most exciting. An anticipated third film is in development.

Related: Antoine Fuqua and Jeanie Buss Discuss How New Hulu Docu-Series Will ‘Get the Truth Out’

4/15 The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the classic Western about bounty hunters hired to protect a town, which itself is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s movie The Seven Samurai, considered by many film experts as the greatest film ever made. Fuqua’s film stands on its own two feet, mainly because of the incredibly exciting action sequences, some of them very lengthy, directed with perfection; and the outstanding performances of Denzel Washington (in yet another Fuqua film), Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, and more as the Magnificent Seven. Not to mention an equally great performance by Peter Sarsgaard as the evil land baron who is intent on destroying an entire town. The final battle sequence is one of the most memorable scenes in any action film.

3/15 Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen is like Die Hard in the White House. The stakes couldn’t be higher, as North Korean terrorists take down the White House and almost everyone in it. It is up to a single individual, an amazing Gerard Butler, to infiltrate the White House and save the President and his son and thwart the terrorists and their motives. The action sequences are among the best scenes in film, and Butler’s Secret Service Agent character is an unstoppable force. He has a lot of training and can easily take out a whole gang of armed enemy combatants, like most protagonists in a Fuqua film, who have violent pasts that they often hide or obscure to stay under the radar. Fuqua is a great action director and this is clearly one of his best pure action extravaganzas.

2/15 Training Day (2001)

Fuqua’s best known film is probably Training Day, starring Denzel Washington as a violent corrupt police officer and Ethan Hawke as a rookie cop assigned to work with Washington’s character. Hawke’s character smokes some PCP, then things go savagely downhill and soon Hawke is fighting to save his life in the mean streets of Los Angeles. There are incredible surprises and action scenes, and some jaw-dropping revelations about the characters that make this one of the best action dramas ever made. The tension never stops as we descend into the world of corruption and ill-gotten gains, and a fight for what is right. Of the four films Fuqua has directed starring Washington, this is the only one where he plays a villain, and a chillingly evil one who will have you glued to your movie or TV screen to see what happens next. Rap superstars Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre show up in the film, and Snoop is on point as a crack dealer in a wheelchair.

1/15 Southpaw (2015)

Training Day is a masterpiece and the best-known film from director Fuqua, but it is Southpaw that stands as his greatest achievement in film. Gyllenhaal, who also starred in Fuqua’s The Guilty, plays a troubled boxer in the tradition of Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull. He is a master in the boxing ring, but his life collapses around him when his wife is killed, he is expelled from professional boxing, and most significantly, loses custody of his young daughter. A disgraced boxer seemingly at the end of his career, he turns to a trainer played by the always reliable Forest Whitaker, who is both very wise and very wary of Gyllenhaal’s character, who must undergo a transformation to regain his daughter and earn the respect he deserves. The fight sequences are all spectacular and exciting and this is simply an incredible film, powered by an unbelievable performance by Gyllenhaal as a mentally unstable fighter.