Antoine Fuqua



6.5 The Replacement Killers (1998)
5.0 Bait (2000)
7.0 Training Day (2001)
6.8 Brooklyn's Finest (2009)
6.0 The Equalizer 2
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Antoine Fuqua (USA, 1966) debuted with the gangster movie The Replacement Killers (1998), written by Ken Sanzel, followed by the mediocre comedy Bait (2000).

Training Day (2001), scripted by David Ayer, was a lengthy and convoluted detective movie within the detective movie, a bleak fresco of urban corruption and degradation.

Jake, a devoted husband and father of a little baby, is a rookie who just joined the narcotics division of the police department. He meets his trainer Alonzo in a restaurant. Alonzo is rude and disrespectful of the rookie. They start driving around and Alonzo is lecturing Jake on the tough reality of undercover plainclothes work. To demonstrate his philosophy, Alonzo leads Jake to stop two white kids who just bought some hard drug, and then forces Jake (at gunpoint!) to smoke it. Alonzo's excuse is that Jake has to be ready in case some day he will be pretending to be a drug user during one of their operations. Alonzo leads a very stoned Jake to the house of an old friend, Roger, a retired white police officer who is the one who trained Alonzo in the old days. Roger mentions that Alonzo got in trouble with a Russian gang that now wants to kill him. Roger also tells Alonzo that he only needs one year before he has enough money to buy his dream house in the Philippines. We understand that Roger is now selling drugs. Then Alonzo and Jake resume their job of cruising around. Alonzo is indifferent when he sees two kids raping a girl in an alley, but Jake shouts to stop and then runs to stop and arrest the kids, showing his skills at fighting. The girl, who is only 14, leaves unharmed, shouting at the kids that her cousins belong to a powerful gang and the gang will take revenge on them. Alonzo watches amused the scene. Then, when the kids are already handcuffed, Alonzo terrorizes them and beats them up like a psycho. Jake watches in shock the brutal actions of his partner, who even leaves the thugs in the alley without arresting them. Alonzo tells Jake that they are after the big criminals, and the small ones are a waste of time. Jake finds the girl's wallet on the ground and picks it up. Alonzo then targets a drug dealer on a wheelchair. Alonzo threatens to send him to jail for a long time if the dealer doesn't tell him who is the big dealer who provides the drugs. The dealer gives him a name, "Sandman", who runs a racket from his prison cell. The police headquarters give Alonzo the address of Sandman's family. Alonzo and Jake drive to that address, which is in the middle of a dangerous neighborhood. Alonzo pretends that a restaurant menu is a search warrant to enter the house and search it. There is only a woman with a child. Alonzo finds money and pockets it. On the way out he gives the woman the "warrant" which is just a random piece of paper. The woman starts shouting at gang members who are in the street to shoot at the two cops whom she thinks are just regular thieves. During the shootout, Alonzo's car gets three holes but they escape unharmed. Jake is even angrier at Alonzo for stealing the money and shooting in a place with innocent civilians around. Every time Jake complains about his methods, Alonzo threatens to send him back to low-level police jobs and then Jake sucks it up. Alonzo takes Jake to meet his lover Sara. Alonzo is both respected and hated in that street, where cops wouldn't normally survive one second. Jake plays with their little boy while they make love in the bedroom. Then Alonzo heads to a restaurant where he meets three high-ranking white officials. They discuss the fact that the Russian gang wants Alonzo dead and they advise Alonzo to leave town but he replies that he has the situation under control. On the way out Alonzo drops all the money he found in Sandman's house in a car's truck, and later explains to Jake that it is the bribe to obtain a search warrant (a real one) for his big operation. Then Alonzo summons four trusted undercover cops who look more like gangsters than cops. Using the warrant, Alonzo leads Jake and his gang to Roger's house where Alonzo tells Jake to dig under the kitchen's floor until he finds a bag full of money. Jake is confused that Alonzo is betraying his old friend. Worse: Alonzo offers each members of the team a bunch of Roger's money, and Jake is the only one who refuses to take it. They are all corrupt cops. Worse: Alonzo tells Jake to kill Roger. Jake initially thinks it's a joke, but Alonzo insists. When Jake still refuses, Alonzo shoots him himself. Cold-blooded murder. Worse: Alonzo decides that Jake has to take the blame and stages a fake scenario in which Roger shot one of them and Jake shot Roger. This way Jake will even be a hero. When Jake still refuses to consent, Alonzo threatens to kill him. Jake has a choice: be a hero and get a promotion or be dead or go to jail (he is intoxicated and Alonzo's men, all decorated cops, are ready to testify that Jake murdered Alonzo). Jake now realizes that Alonzo planned all of this. Then Alonzo drives Jake to a home in another bad neighborhood and introduces him to three Hispanic gang members who are playing cards and leaves him there pretending he's coming back soon. Instead time goes by and Alonzo doesn't come back. On the other hand the gangsters count money that Alonzo left them. Jakes realizes that he is being detained by the gangsters on behalf of Alonzo. When he tries to leave, they tell him the truth: Alonzo killed a Russian and now the Russians demand one million dollars by midnight, and everybody thought that Alonzo would never find that much money so quickly, but Alonzo did, the money he took from Roger. They have been paid to kill Jake. They drag him to the bathtub and prepare to shoot him in the face, but found the girl's wallet in his pocket. The gang leader calls the little girl to doublecheck Jake's version of the fact: that he saved her from being raped. The gang leader thanks Jake and lets him go. Now Jake figured out the whole thing: Alonzo needed money quickly and knew that his friend Roger had saved that much money. All the lecturing was only meant to make Jake an accomplice and then eliminate him. Jake walks armed down the dangerous street where Alonzo's lover lives. The gangs let him go when they realize that he wants to kill Alonzo. Alonzo's little boy opens the door to Jake and Jake is not fast enough to kill Alonzo and Alonzo gets a chance to escape. When Alonzo's little boy gets in the line of fire, it is Jake who worries about his safety. Jake chases Alonzo on the roof, they fight, Alonzo tries to drive away, Jake stops him, beats him up and takes the bag full of money that Alonzo is on his way to deliver to the Russians. It is almost midnight. The neighborhood's gangsters surround them, watching silently. Alonzo offers money to anyone who will kill Jake, but everybody hates him and nobody wants to help him. They allow Jake to walk away with the money. In fact, they make sure that Alonzo stay there. Alonzo shouts in vain that he will arrest all of them. They stare silently at the pathetic corrupt cop who still tries to scare them. Slowly, they all walk away and leave him alone. It is past midnight. Alonzo gets in his car and drives away. Within minutes he is surrounded by big cars from which heavily armed Russians emerge. He is massacred. Jake returns home after midnight, bleeding, to his wife and baby.

Then came the war movie Tears of the Sun (2003), an odd reinterpretation of the legend of King Arthur (2004), and another thriller, Shooter (2007).

Brooklyn's Finest (2009) returned to the police milieu and general theme of Training Day.

Then came the political thriller Olympus Has Fallen (2013), the adaptation of the TV series The Equalizer (2014), the domestic drama Southpaw (2015), etc.

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