Posts Tagged ‘Antoine Fuqua’
Monday, September 7th, 2020
I try not to be too set in my ways, which is a good reason to rewatch a movie years later and see if you respond differently than the first time around. So something told me it was time to revisit something from those heady days when the emerging international popularity of Hong Kong action cinema fired peak John Woo and Chow Yun Fat out of a cannon aimed at the heart of Hollywood. I’m not sure what kind of a cannon shot them so that Woo landed in 1993 and Chow not until 1998, but life is a mystery. Anyway, they exploded and in the case of Chow, we were mostly disappointed and then happy that he didn’t stick around that long, because Hollywood clearly didn’t know what they were doing with him.
THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS was significant not only as Chow’s first Hollywood/English language movie, but the directorial debut of Antoine Fuqua, who became a much bigger deal when 2001’s TRAINING DAY won Denzel Washington an Oscar. That kind of gave him the air of an Important Filmmaker for a little bit, but I think now he’s settled in as the type of director who makes OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN and THE EQUALIZER 1 and 2, which is more like the expected trajectory for the director of this one. He came from directing music videos, most famously “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, but also “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” by Prince.
Chow plays “John Lee,” who’s pretty much a remix of his character in THE KILLER. He’s an assassin who owes one more hit to L.A. Triad boss Terence Wei (Kenneth Tsang, A BETTER TOMORROW 1 and 2, THE KILLER, SUPERCOP, RUSH HOUR 2). But he’s sent to the home of LAPD Detective Stan Zedkov (Michael Rooker, CLIFFHANGER) and sees the man’s wife and son through the sniper scope and decides he can’t do it. (In a corny touch, Zedkov doesn’t see him but looks right into the scope as if sensing him.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Al Leong, Antoine Fuqua, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Leon, Chow Yun Fat, Clifton Collins Jr., Danny Trejo, Debra Hill, James Lew, Jurgen Prochnow, Kenneth Tsang, Leo Lee, Michael Rooker, Mira Sorvino, Patrick Kilpatrick, Randall Duk Kim, Til Schweiger
Posted in Action, Reviews | 41 Comments »
Tuesday, January 15th, 2019
THE EQUALIZER is not a great movie, but it is part of a great American tradition to allow the finest actors an opportunity once they get older to make movies where they pretend they’re Steven Seagal and break dudes’ arms and drill ’em in the head and stuff. To help people. Very loosely based on the ’80s tv show, Denzel Washington (MALCOLM X, RICOCHET) played Robert McCall, a mild mannered, O.C.D.-having widower with ugly sneakers who works at an off-brand Home Depot and also happens to be an ex-secret-agent badass, so when he sees enough injustice he decides you know what I’m tired of being hoodwinked and bamboozled, I’m gonna vigilante the shit out of these Russian mobsters or whoever.
Had things gone a little differently maybe we’d all be excited for Denzel’s much-hyped return to the popular VIRTUOSITY franchise after sitting out the last three, but we play the cards we’re dealt, so THE EQUALIZER 2 is Denzel’s first ever sequel. Also back are director Antoine Fuqua (BAIT), writer Richard Wenk (VAMP, 16 BLOCKS, THE MECHANIC, THE EXPENDABLES 2, COUNTDOWN, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK), Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (who played a different character on an episode of the TV show in 1985!) as his old agency boss Susan Plummer, and Bill Pullman (CASPER) as her non-ass-kicking husband.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Denzel Washington, Melissa Leo, Pedro Pascal, Richard Wenk
Posted in Action, Reviews | 33 Comments »
Friday, September 30th, 2016
First of all, man, I am never gonna get that theme song out of my head. It’s on the original and the three sequels and on this remake it’s just on the end credits, other than some sly hints at its rhythm adapted to percussion and that exotic flute type thing that modern film composers love. But it’s so catchy and I’ve heard it so many times this last week or two that it’s burned onto my brain like what used to happen to TVs if you left it on a DVD menu all day. Thanks alot, Elmer Bernstein.
In Antoine Fuqua’s THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, we have a small town in Kansas (not Mexico) being threatened by a wealthy land baron (not bandits) who comes in with a bunch of killers, and makes a shitty, non-negotiable offer for their land, that he says they can accept or be killed when he comes back in three weeks. And he makes this threat at gunpoint inside the church! Not cool.
This opening shows the dangers of normal people standing up to these bullies: they quickly execute the first guy who does it, and this escalates into a massacre. This asshole Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) tells the in-his-pocket-out-of-fear sheriff to leave the bodies where they are, burns down the church and stops by the whorehouse on the way out. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, Byung-hun Lee, Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Haley Bennett, Luke Grimes, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Matt Bomer, Nic Pizzolato, Peter Sarsgaard, Richard Wenk, Vincent D'Onofrio
Posted in Action, Reviews, Western | 46 Comments »
Monday, September 29th, 2014
All things being equal, THE EQUALIZER is Denzel Washington’s TAKEN. It’s the one where they figure out people like to watch a really commanding older actor be smarter than everybody and kill a bunch of criminals. It has some gestures of seriousness and takes a bit to get to the killing, but once it does it’s pretty straight up about being a violent, lowbrow action movie. It even has the Academy Award winner doing the ol’ slo-mo-walking-away-from-a-fiery-explosion shot. I guess he did that in MAN ON FIRE too, and shot more beautifully from what I remember. But this one is more my speed because it’s not trying to rub my nose in the shit, it’s just trying to be stupid fun.
And by the way I apologize for awkwardly shoe-horning “all things being equal” in there at the beginning. It just seemed like something you do. But let’s try to get past it.
Written by Richard Wenk (VAMP, 16 BLOCKS, THE MECHANIC REMAKE, THE EXPENDABLES 2) and sort of based on the ’80s TV show of the same name, this has Denzel (RICOCHET) playing Edward Woodward’s character Bob McCall, now a book-reading, OCD widower square who works at “Home Mart,” wears polo shirts tucked into dad jeans and cleans his New Balance sneakers with a toothbrush every morning. Then one day when an acquaintance from the diner where he hangs out (Chloe Grace Moretz, TODAY YOU DIE) gets badly beaten by her Russian pimp (David Meunier, a.k.a. Cousin Johnny from Justified) Bob decides to try to help her. And it turns out his previous job was at the CIA or something (the agency is not specified) and that he’s real good at massacring a whole bunch of armed criminals using found objects and guns he takes out of their hands. Gino Fellino would be proud. He even sticks a corkscrew in a guy’s chin and we see it poke up into his mouth. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, Bill Pullman, Boston, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Meunier, Denzel Washington, Martin Csokas, Melissa Leo, Richard Wenk, TV movies, vigilante
Posted in Action, Reviews | 53 Comments »
Sunday, March 24th, 2013
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN is a watchable but instantly forgettable throwback to a subgenre I miss, the glossy ’90s studio action like IN THE LINE OF FIRE and UNDER SIEGE. I mean it’s not a studio movie – it was made by the until-recently-DTV sausage factory Millennium Films – but it sure seems legit with its respectable cast of Aaron Eckhart as the President, Ashley Judd as the First Lady, Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman as the Speaker of the House (a demotion from DEEP IMPACT), Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett as the Secret Service director, Academy Award winner Melissa Leo as the Secretary of Defense, Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott as… some other type of White House guy. Lending whatever action movie credibility they can muster are 300’s Gerard Butler as the hero, PITCH BLACK’s Radha Mitchell as the hero’s wife, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS’s Rick Yune as the villain, and PAPARAZZI’s Cole Hauser reprising his A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD role as Agent Who Gets Killed Early On. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Antoine Fuqua, Ashley Judd, Cole Hauser, Die Hard on a ____, Dylan McDermott, Gerard Butler, Melissa Leo, Millennium Films, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell, Rick Yune, Robert Forster
Posted in Action, Reviews | 76 Comments »
Friday, February 22nd, 2013
When BAIT came out in 2000 I had no interest. That continued for 12 years. Then one night, in a dream, I was thinking that because of my love for Jamie Foxx’s performance in DJANGO UNCHAINED I was gonna rent his closest thing to an action vehicle. When I woke up I thought, “Yeah, actually I do want to rent BAIT.” So I did. You see, I don’t have a hundred updates a day for you guys, but I’m always working, even when I’m not conscious.
Foxx plays Alvin, a petty thief who gets busted trying to steal a bunch of prawns, and winds up in a cell with a guy (Robert Pastorelli) who recently betrayed his partner (Doug Hutchison) in a gold heist, and also is dying of a heart condition and gives Alvin a message for his wife which is a hint about the location of the hidden gold. The betrayed partner is a psychotic computer genius, and the Treasury Department wants him real bad ’cause he 1) killed two security guards and 2) broke a type of encryption that’s used to protect weapons, therefore posing a threat to national security. Or at least that’s their pitch when they ask for the money for a super-high-tech tracking device/bug that they implant in Alvin’s jaw without his knowledge before they get him released so they can surveil him until the psycho comes after him to get his gold back. (And no, the psycho is not a leprechaun. Maybe a metaphorical leprechaun, I haven’t really considered that yet. I’ll have to think on that a bit.)
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, David Morse, David Paymer, Doug Hutchison, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Kennedy, Kimberly Elise, Mike Epps, Robert Pastorelli
Posted in Action, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 14 Comments »
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
TEARS OF THE SUN is a Bruce Willis picture I missed until now. It’s about Nigerian refugees fleeing for Cameroon after anti-democratic military guys assassinate the president and his family and go around “ethnic cleansing” innocent people. I know, sounds kind of racist, but the secret is Bruce doesn’t play a Nigerian, he is not in blackface. He plays the lieutenant of an elite Navy SEALS unit sent in by Tom Skerritt (playing the twin brother of his character from TOP GUN, in my opinion) to rescue a Christian aid worker played by Monica Belluci. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, Bruce, Bruce Willis
Posted in Action, Bruce, Drama, Reviews, War | 59 Comments »
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
BROOKLYN’S FINEST is a good not great cops and crooks movie from the director of REPLACEMENT KILLERS, Antoine Fuqua. I think it’s better than I’d heard, and I’ll tell you why, but obviously the most significant thing about it is that it has returned one of America’s greatest resources, Wesley Snipes, to his rightful home on the big screen. You guys know I love DTV, but Wesley is too powerful for DTV. He’s not as good in those. I would’ve felt like an asshole if I missed a chance to see him projected again, so I went and saw it. And by the way, I’m the only person in Seattle who did that yesterday. It’s down to one show at one theater and I was the one guy who showed up that day. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antoine Fuqua, dirty cops, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes
Posted in Crime, Reviews | 23 Comments »