You may have noticed Jake Gyllenhaal is in a new movie; it's about boxing. And it's directed by Antoine Fuqua, a man who tends to focus on style more than substance, but definitely succeeds in developing good character tension.
With Southpaw now being released in cinemas, let's take a look back (with ratings from Rotten Tomatoes) at Fuqua's work.
11) Bait (2000) - 26%
Bait is mildly critically acclaimed, mostly for an enthralling performance from Jamie Foxx. Yet, unfortunately, this movie failed to offer anything beyond its narrow script. And was rather short on ideas.
10) King Arthur (2004) - 31%
This is where Fuqua became known for directing mediocrity: King Arthur was a generic action movie, offering nothing less than unfunny one-liners and a lack of zeal. At least Keira Knightley was good....I guess.
9) Tears Of The Sun (2003) - 33%
Bruce Willis' role as an unpleasantly macho Navy SEAL matched his awful performance in A Good Day To Die Hard (foreshadowing, baby!) - albeit the style of this action movie at least gave fans of the genre guilty pleasure material.
8) The Replacement Killers (1998) - 36%
In simple terms, this is classic Fuqua: it's style over substance all the way. But at least it's not boring. The film had ample action sequences, and fans highly praised it for that very reason.
7) Brooklyn's Finest (2010) - 43%
Genre cliches aside, Brooklyn's Finest is a pleasantly dark and gritty cop drama. Here is an example of Fuqua drumming up the tension with strong lead performances from Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, and Don Cheadle.
6) Shooter (2007) - 48%
"Hey, I'm Mark Wahlberg!" Yeah, we know you are. Marky Mark succeeds in his role (so we can forget about The Happening) and, despite narrative plot holes, the impressive action sequences prove to be a shoot-em-up treat.
5) Olympus Has Fallen (2013) - 48%
Now we're 'talkin. Gerard Butler, Aaron Ackhart, and Morgan Freeman bring charisma to their roles in a situation that is highly ridiculous. Yet, with Fuqua brilliantly directing the tension and a surprisingly entertaining setup, Olympus Has Fallen is a great film for action junkies.
4) Southpaw (2015) - 58%
This is the newest entry in Fuqua's filmography, featuring some nice nods to the Rocky franchise. But, in my opinion, this is his best. Gyllenhaal transforms himself into another esoteric role: a battle-hardened, troubled, and determined boxer. This is solid blockbuster entertainment, especially when you consider the groundbreaking boxing scenes!
3) The Equalizer (2014) - 61%
The ante is upped, the action is violent, and Fuqua delivered his most sentimental movie to date: The Equalizer. The action sequences deviate from the genre, offering a multitude of camera angles and methods of killing. Speaking of killing, Denzel Washington as an assassin-turned-Homemart employee is the movie's strongest point. Overall, this was a huge improvement for Antoine Fuqua.
2) Training Day (2001) - 72%
It is his most critically acclaimed. And for good reason. Training Day, also featuring Denzel Washington, is a taut and brutal police drama. My spidey sense tells me Denzel is Antoine's saint....
1) Lightning In A Bottle (2004) - 87%
What a tribute to blues music, it's truly something special. This is Fuqua at his undeniable best, capturing the power and excitement by utilising backstage interviews and performance footage.