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Monday, December 4, 2023
Dec. 4, 2023

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Hold your own Fuqua film festival


Director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel Washington reunite once again for a third installment of “The Equalizer,” this time set in Italy. The pair have collaborated on the vigilante action series since 2014, so to catch up with the trilogy, be sure to catch “The Equalizer” on Starz, or rent elsewhere, or “The Equalizer 2” on Hulu or rent elsewhere. (Though the truth is you can enjoy these films without having too much knowledge of the previous installments.)

Perhaps the rewatch will inspire a Fuqua film festival, so here are some of the highlights from the busy career of the action director to check out on streaming.

Fuqua was a music video auteur until his debut feature in 1998, “The Replacement Killers.” The film was the international feature debut of Hong Kong action star and John Woo muse Chow Yun-Fat, starring opposite newly minted Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino. Woo served as producer and action choreographer on the film, so it bears his imprint. But it’s worth a watch to revisit that moment in the late ’90s. Rent it on all platforms.

The high point of Fuqua’s oeuvre is easily 2001’s “Training Day,” his first collab with Denzel Washington, who plays a psychotic LAPD detective taking a rookie (Ethan Hawke) for a ride. It was one of the first times Denzel showed his dark side, which he clearly feels comfortable exploring with Fuqua as Robert McCall, vigilante hero. Stream “Training Day” on Max or rent it elsewhere.

Fuqua had quite a run in the early 2000s, with “Bait” (2000), “Tears of the Sun” (2003) and “Lightning in a Bottle” (2004), but he tackled the historical epic with 2004’s “King Arthur,” starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. Check it out for it’s time capsule appeal and insane cast, including Ioan Gruffudd, Joel Edgerton, Hugh Dancy, Ray Winstone, Ray Stevenson, Stephen Dillane, Stellan Skarsgard and Mads Mikkelsen.

Crime drama “Brooklyn’s Finest” premiered at Sundance in 2009 and in theaters in 2010. Starring Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes, the film follows a group of NYPD cops working in the Brownsville area of the borough, and was shot on location. Stream it on Starz or rent it elsewhere.

Fuqua also set off the Gerard Butler “Has Fallen” action series with 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen,” featuring the action star as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, who has to rescue the president (Aaron Eckhart) from terrorists who attack the White House. Rent it on all platforms.

Another one of Fuqua’s best films is the 2021 thriller “The Guilty,” starring his “Southpaw” leading man Jake Gyllenhaal. This confined suspense movie is a remake of the Danish film of the same name, and features Gyllenhaal as a Los Angeles 911 dispatcher who becomes embroiled in a kidnapping plot with a caller. Stream it on Netflix.

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