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Nothing is more thrilling to see than two characters with superior
intelligences, pitting their wits against each other. A thriller does not
require a great deal of plot or techno-babble to be involving or complex,
although many distributors of blockbusters today seem to think so. For
reasons, "The Fugitive" is a huge blessing for a movie critic such as I. I
was just thrilled by the excitement, the performances by Harrison Ford and
Tommy Lee Jones, and the whole Hitchcockian aura that this sensational
delivered. Even though we have been seeing too many films based on
television series come out lately, "The Fugitive" is certainly not one of
those that we can add to that routine bushel.
Ford is Dr. Richard Kimble, a vascular surgeon who is wrongfully accused for the brutal murder of his wife (Sela Ward), and therefore sentenced to be executed. After escaping from a bus crash/trash collision, he finds himself running from the Chicago police and especially the U.S. Marshall service, led by Lt. Gerard (Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones). At the same time, Kimble attempts to prove his innocence and in turn discover who did kill his wife. What ensues is a tangled web of medical conspiracies, along with a search for a notorious "one-armed man." As I have stated, this is a simple plot that requires no superficial decoration.
Ford, who has always been a less dramatic presence in movies and more of a subtle but affected persona, fits the part of Kimble perfectly. With this role, the last thing required is a melodramatic actor that sticks out like a sore thumb. Ford casually settles into the role of the man on the run, bringing intelligence and style to a less ostentatious character. Jones, who has never really been considered a headliner until now, creates a character that is extremely humorous but also calmly diligent. His only goal is to carry out the task he is assigned to, and nothing will stand in his way, least of all a rivaling police force or Richard Kimble himself. One of the fascinating Hitchcockian elements of the film is how it allows its audience to not be able to take sides. We are constantly rooting for both Ford and Jones when either of them come into perspective. We familiarize with both of them and are amused by both equally. The film's finale, which I won't dare give away, satisfies both sides of this rooting coin.
I have not previously been a fan of the director Andrew Davis's work, but with this entry, he certainly has sparked my interest. With such films as "Under Siege," "Code of Silence," and "Above the Law," he has been able to work with action stars that are both larger than life (Seagal, Norris). Here, he uses more intrigue and atmosphere to reach his audience, building suspense and excitement through simple film tools rather than things blowing up or guns going off (However, there is a phenomenal opening crash scene to boot). With quick pacing, a never-a-dull-moment storyline, and great actors, "The Fugitive" ranks itself as one of the best action films of this decade, and definitely one of the best films of 1993. Rating: Four stars.
Arnold and Sly are great action heroes. Their characters are always
than life. Rambo and Rocky are household names and The Terminator and
like Commando are great partly because of Arnold's physical presence. But
as good as they are, I don't think they can hold a candle to Harrison
Sure he is in great shape, but have you ever seen an actor take average
and make them so real that you want to know them? Take your pick, Han
Indy and even his character in Six Days and Seven Nights was an
Add Richard Kimble to that list. As Kimble, Ford is perfect. He is the
wronged man that has to avenge his wife's death and clear his name at the
same time. He is so great in this film and I'm sure that's why so many
people went to see this film at first. But I think what kept them coming
back was Tommy Lee Jones. We'll get to him in a minute.
Andrew Davis proved here that he is one of the best action directors in the business today. Along with Under Siege, he showed us that he is an efficient artist that knows how to keep the action flowing. He never seems to let up with his relentless pursuit of the perfect scene. But since the film did so well and everyone pretty much knows what it is about, let's talk about the true strength of the film, and that would be Tommy Lee Jones.
" I don't bargain." " Well that's odd!"
His portrayal of Samuel Girard is an exercise in how to make the audience relate and understand a character. He starts off as a manic perfectionist. He is obsessed with capturing Kimble and that is all that matters. But as the film proceeds, you can sense his unease, his wonder and his ethos. You can tell by a simple expression that he is beginning to solve a crime and not just chase a criminal. And the turning point to me was his simple scene where he says " You know Devlin and McGregor made 4 and one half billion dollars last year? That company's a monster. " It is all in his face. He knows that Ford is innocent but he still has a job to do. It is Jones that makes this film so much fun. And I didn't think that there would be a more worthy recipient of best supporting actor in '93 than Kilmer in Tombstone, but Jones' work here was well deserving of his Oscar.
The Fugitive belongs on every top 100 list and if the AFI wasn't so enthralled with older movies, they would see that films like this are more worthy than some of the mediocrity that graces their findings. This is an incredible film.
This a one of the best thriller/suspense/action films I have ever
watched, and I've seen tons of them for almost 50 years. It "endures"
because it is just as entertaining on the sixth viewing as it is on the
Of course it helped it was based on a TV show that people my age watched religiously every week, so the plot if familiar and many of us wanted to see how the movie would stack up to the TV program. Well, as good as the TV series was, this was far better. Two scenes alone: the train wreck and Harrison Ford taking a swan dive - were worth the price of the film. Great stuff.
The story has been discussed by many so let me just add how much I appreciate the sound in this movie. When this film first came out on VHS, I used the opening moments as a demo model for various surround systems. The DVD has enhanced that as well as the picture.
The film has just the right amount of action scenes, very interesting characters and a storyline complex enough to bring you back for multiple viewings to totally understand it. Ford, of course, is the star with Tommy Lee Jones a close second, but the more you watch this, the more you appreciate EVERYONE'S acting in this movie.
And, by the way, filmmakers take note: here''s another example how you can make an "edgy" modern-day crime film without a ton of unnecessary f-words.
There is a kind of magic when a superb cast, a truly gifted director, and a
literate script with equal parts 'over-the-top' action, riveting suspense,
and rich characterization, come together. The end result attains a luster
that only grows through the years, as new audiences, through DVD and VHS,
experience the same excitement we felt, viewing it on a theater screen. In
the last decade, only a handful of suspense films could be called
'great'...and on top of the list is THE FUGITIVE.
Based on the popular David Janssen TV series, the film faithfully follows the same premise; a doctor is accused of his wife's death, but escapes before his execution, and tracks down the 'one-armed man' responsible for the murder, as a driven law officer attempts to recapture him. Being a big-budget film, however, the scale of everything is expanded...Dr. Richard Kimble is now a brilliant vascular surgeon, at a major Chicago hospital; the handicapped killer is a dirty ex-cop working on orders from crooked board members of a billion-dollar pharmaceutical firm; and the lawman is no longer a solitary police lieutenant, but a deputy United States Marshal, and his team of agents! While some fans of the original series complained that the 'intimacy' the series had was lost, director Andrew Davis only used the 'bigger' aspects as plot elements, placing the focus, wisely, on the dual stories of Kimble's search, and Gerard's pursuit.
Despite the esteem the film has achieved over the years, Harrison Ford has gotten a bad rap for his very understated performance as Richard Kimble. While Tommy Lee Jones certainly had a far flashier role (earning him an Oscar as 'Best Supporting Actor'), Ford's intent wasn't to play 'Indiana Jones', but a man whose whole life was dedicated to his career as a surgeon, and his wife (played, in flashbacks, by the lovely Sela Ward). Seeing his wife brutally murdered devastated him (his scene in the police interrogation room, going to pieces, was largely improvised on the set, and displays some of his finest acting). His search for the killer was not the confident quest of an action hero, but based on uncertain, spur-of-the-moment decisions made by a desperate man, whose medical background was his only tool. Fear does not lend itself to flashy theatrics...
Jones, as Marshal Sam Gerard, on the other hand, was a seasoned veteran, the best at what he did, and pursuing a fugitive was 'old hat' for him. With a confidence bordering on arrogance, he ordered people about like chess pieces, multi-tasked without breaking a sweat, and still could charm with a wicked smile and sarcastic remark. Of COURSE he wins the audience's heart!
Featuring some of the most spectacular action scenes ever recorded on film (the train/bus wreck that frees Kimble, the dive off a dam into the churning maelstrom of the reservoir), as well as two slam-bang fistfights when Kimble finally gets 'justice', THE FUGITIVE still is remembered primarily for the suspenseful Jones/Ford 'cat-and-mouse' chase, cross-country, and the grudging respect that grows between them...which, ultimately, was what the TV series was best remembered for, as well.
There is magic, here!
"The Fugitive" is one of those movies that you may already have seen a
dozen of times, but which still seems to surprise every time that you
watch it. I don't know what it actually is that makes this movie so
good, but it sure works. It's probably the combination of a good
script, good acting and the abundance of action that's always present,
but never exaggerated.
The movie is about a doctor who's wife has been murdered by a one-armed man. He's innocent but is accused of the murder and convicted by court. He will get a lethal injection soon, but as he is transfered to another jail, the bus in which he is transported with some other inmates, crashes. He knows to escape and is determined to find his wife's murderer, but has to try to stay out of the hands of the police. The result is an interesting cat-and-mouse game between him and the police that never allows your attention to fade away.
The story is perhaps not exceptional, but thanks to the good directing and acting and the constant action and tension, this movie really delivers everything that you can expect from it. I give it an 8.5 - 9/10.
This is a fine vehicle for Harrison Ford made even more agreeable by a
clever, somewhat tongue in cheek performance by Tommy Lee Jones as a US
Marshall out to have a good time getting the bad guy, even though the
bad guy might not be so bad, and even though that's irrelevant, but
hey, don't think so much and get me some coffee and a chocolate donut
with those sprinkles on top, ya hear?
This is also a Hollywood producer's orgasmic dream with a chase scene beginning in the first reel and lasting throughout. It is based on the 60s TV show of the same name, but gets its premise from a true crime story, that of Ohioan Dr. Sam Shepherd who actually went to jail for murdering his wife in the 50s. He too claimed to have fought off the real killer, but the forensic evidence and his personality were against him. Here we have Harrison Ford as the good doctor, and it doesn't take a Hollywood genius to tell you that the most popular leading man of the late twentieth century ain't about to play the kind of guy who murders his loving wife.
Ford does a stand-up, competent job, saving lives and patting kids on the head as he plunges through sewers and off the top of a towering waterfall, steals an ambulance, survives a bullet wound and a bus wreck, etc. His fans will be pleased, but Tommy Lee Jones steals the show (and got a Best Supporting Oscar for his trouble) as a clever, wise-cracking good ole boy who has a lot of fun leading the posse. I wonder if he or director Andrew Davis invented the spin because without it, this wouldn't be half so good.
This is not to be confused with, nor is it a remake of The Fugitive from 1947 starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, a cinematic gem of an entirely different sort.
See this for Tommy Lee Jones who has made a career out of turning oh-hum parts into something special.
This excellent film details the adventure of a man's search for his wife's killer and to clear himself of her murder. Harrison Ford is the hero and wanted man and on the run to escape capture by a determined U.S. Marshal in one thrilling scene after another. A spectacular train wreck with a bus of prison-bound felons gets the action underway at which point Tommy Lee Jones enters the picture and takes over the film by sheer force of personality and doesn't let go. Harrison, a resourceful type, stays just ahead of Jones in this taut cat-and-mouse thriller and adroitly leaves just enough clues for the police as he closes in on the killer. Ford and Jones are well matched here in one of the best urban crime mysteries ever filmed. Cast and Chicago locations add realism to a great story.
For a good "chase" film, you can't beat 'The Fugitive'. Not all films taken
from TV series manage to make it to the big screen with a style of their own
and a story worth telling. Exceptionally fine performances by Harrison Ford
and Tommy Lee Jones are the icing on the cake. The picture scores on all
levels: photography, music, editing, script and performances. The bus/train
crash at the start is a spectacular piece of filmmaking that gets the story
off to a good start with powerful urgency. While you're rooting for Ford all
the way, as the doctor wrongly accused of the murder of his wife, you
sometimes find yourself in the shoes of the crafty, quirky detective with a
sense of humor (Tommy Lee Jones) who is relentless in his pursuit. The
battle between the pursued and the pursuer is the dominant theme and it is
carried off with great wit and style.
As absorbing as any action drama of the '90s. I would have been happy if Harrison Ford, as well as Jones, earned an Oscar for his earnest and highly physical performance. Highly recommended.
The Fugitive is the biggest heart-pounding thriller I have seen in a while
(and the best one this decade). The story revolves around Dr. Richard
Kimble, played by Harrison Ford to pythagorean procision. Kimble is accused
of killing his wife and is chased all over Chicago by Marshalls while
looking for his wife's one armed killer. One of these Marshalls is Samuel
Gerarg (Tommy Lee Jones terrific and Oscar nod performance) who after a
while believes he is innocent.
Spectacularly done in the tradition of crime/drama thrillers with Ford and Jones working better together than ever before. I found this film to be the best film experience of the early 90's, and hopefully you will too. A++
The Fugitive is a complex thriller with every detail playing a
significant role in the outcome of the movie. It's the story of a
conspiracy surrounding Dr. Richard Kimble, a surgeon who is on the run
while U.S Marshal Samuel Gerard tries to find an explanation of why
Kimble was framed for the murder of his wife. The movie has a sticking
nature to it, every detail in the actors face will prove that Harrison
Ford and Tommy Lee Jones deserve every praise they have received for
Based on the 1960's Television series, this movie does not disappoint. It makes the watcher want to go back and view the original series to see how it compares.
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