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Harrison Ford is "The Fugitive" in this 1993 version of the popular
television series. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard, Sela
Ward, Julianne Moore and Joe Pantoliano. For you young 'uns out there,
"The Fugitive" TV show starring David Janssen was based on the 1954 Sam
Sheppard case, the subject itself of 10 books and two movies. Dr.
Sheppard. accused of murdering his wife, claimed to have seen a
"bushy-haired man" at the scene. It was a landmark case, resulting in
the creation of the "change of venue" motion.
The film "The Fugitive" keeps the basics: Dr. Richard Kimble, en route to prison to await execution for the murder of his wife (Ward), escapes after a terrible accident. On his trail from the beginning is a U.S. Marshall, Sam Gerard. Both men have way above average intelligence, so while Gerard is able to get close, Kimble always eludes him. After stealing clothes, shaving his beard and dying his hair, Kimble goes to the hospital where he worked and gets into the computer database to find the one-armed man. He knows he injured the man's arm in a fight, and repair of the arm would have necessitated a visit.
This is a real on the edge of your seat thriller, with an absolutely spectacular beginning sequence that grabs the audience and doesn't let go. In the TV series, the one-armed man is an intruder; here, a different storyline has been added, and it's quite good. One of my favorite parts occurs when Kimble, disguised as a janitor at the hospital, overhears an incorrect diagnosis for a young boy. Because the ER is so busy and there is no one available, he's asked to take the child to another floor. While doing so, he conducts his own quick examination and writes a change of orders; the boy ends up in surgery. The OR doc (Moore) catches Kimble looking at the child's x-ray, and when she learns the boy never arrived at his destination, alerts security. Gerard asks her later, "What happened to the boy?" "He saved his life," Moore says.
Both Ford and Jones are at the top of their games and very well matched, Jones bringing a lot of humor to his role as the determined Gerard. Ford looks a little like the Ape Man in the beginning with all the facial hair; as Kimble, he's sympathetic and his desperation and determination are more internalized than Gerard's.
It wasn't until 1998 that DNA evidence finally exonerated Sheppard, who was released in 1966 after a retrial (in the original trial, the judge told reporter Dorothy Kilgallen that Sheppard was guilty). Sheppard died in 1970, his life ruined. Fifty years after the case, it continues to influence courtroom proceedings and inspire books and films. This "Fugitive" is particularly excellent.
Dr Kimble is falsely accused and sentenced for the murder of his wife.
Whilst being transfered to prison a breakout occurs, seizing his
chance, Kimble goes on the run in a desperate search to clear his name.
Hot on his tail is staunch Marshall Sam Gerard, a man who always gets
Based on the long running and popular TV series of the same name, The Fugitive stands up as one of the best thrillers of the 90s, it's full of action and tight sequences that dovetail excellently with the who done it plot. The film opens harshly with the murder of Helen Kimble, and we are shown that it wasn't Richard who killed his wife, this puts us firmly onside with Kimble and his pursuit of the truth. Much credit must go to Harrison Ford who layers Kimble perfectly, Kimble is an honest hard working man reduced to fugitive tactics to avoid capture, always seemingly one step away from being caught, Kimble becomes something of a modern day hero figure, and in this Ford excels. As Sam Gerard we have Tommy Lee Jones having the time of his life, gruff and ready for a rumble, and with a quip at every turn, Gerard is a man we know is not to be messed with, and Jones portrays him wonderfully as the obsessive pursuer he is.
From that harsh opening, to a quite breath taking sequence with a train, the film cements itself as a bona fide top draw thriller, however, the second half of the picture, whilst still an intriguing mysterious chase movie, does veer down the formulaic road with it's conspiracy plot line, but it really is a minor complaint that doesn't send the film to averageville. The Fugitive at any one point is never less than great fun, high on action and containing great performances to crown the smart David Twohy/Jeb Stuart screenplay, the film is a winner from start to finish. 9/10
Well, looking back on this movie it is pretty decent, but not one of
the better ones I have seen (I have worked as an extra on a few movies
and sadly, none of them were all that great).
The plot was OK, but hate to say it the acting was a bit stilted and somewhat over the top.
I do have to agree with the "tounge in cheek" comment on the performance by Tommy Lee Jones. It is subtle, but the irony is there.
I was in a few scenes but the "Convention Dinner" scene where they end up chasing the Fugitive through the hall was pretty realistic (if you discount the fact that you have to repeat it 5, 6 or 20 times) and Tommy Lee had this scary-intense aura about him.
You can see me - I am the redhead who flips around in her seat a moment before he and the other guy leave the room and continue their battle. Funny sidebar - during one of the repeat takes Ford tripped over the leg of my chair and nearly fell face down. A PA (producton assistant)came over and gave me a dirty look and told me to move my chair in further(duh).
This one scene took all night to film ( extras arrived at about 8pm and left somewhere around 7 the next morning). I would never choose to do this as a profession.
If you ever decide to be an extra, bring a good novel or some homework with you to read during the 4-5 hours of down-time that usually is the norm, and expect to be there for 10 - 14 hours.
No wonder movies cost millions to make.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that has good acting, a good story, and good action. Based on the television show of the same name it is also probably the most successful and best television show to movie I have ever seen. It also has that major plus in that at the end of the movie you are done with your journey and everything wraps up rather nicely. The story has Dr. Kimble accused of murder and we speed through the trial as the police do not believe for a minute Dr. Kimble's story of a fight he had with the actual killer, the one armed man. Well through some good and bad luck at the same time, he finds himself free of the prisoner transport he was on and now he is set loose to try and clear his name and bring the real killer to justice. On his trail though is a United States Marshall played by the very good actor Tommy Lee Jones. In fact, Jones would win an Oscar for his performance in this movie. He would later reprise this role, but with little success in the film "U.S. Marshals", my thinking is though that it might have done better at the box office had they not simply made almost a remake of this movie with the wrongly accused escapee, but instead had him track someone actually guilty of the crime. This one though has some great cat and mouse as you really pull for Kimble (played by the excellent Harrison Ford) to connect all the pieces and find the party responsible for his wife's death. Most of the action is confined to the city of Chicago I think it was, but there is enough action and such to make up for the lack of locales. Though there is a great scene involving a dam and the inner workings of it as Kimble is almost caught right off the bat by Gerard (the marshal). All in all a fine film and in my opinion still the best television show to movie film there is.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Probably the greatest modern post Hitchcock action thriller. A terrific
cast led by two towering performances from Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee
Jones makes the most of an intelligent script and superb direction. The
60's television series provided a firm base for the story, but this
feature length, densely plotted movie, takes proceedings to new heights
of drama, and excellence.
The central premise is as old as the hills. "The wrong that must be righted". Ford playing Dr Richard Kimble is falsely accused of murdering his wife and the forces of good, the Police, become the agents of bad, in trying to recapture him after he escapes in a spectacular train and bus crash, as good an action sequence as you will ever see at the cinema.
Tommy Lee Jones is imperious as Marshall Sam Gerrard charged with tracking him down. Wonderfully gnarled and taciturn, Gerrard starts out simply doing his job, but things change as he not only comes to respect his quarry, but also starts to have doubts about Kimble's guilt.
The first half is all action, particularly the magnificent scene where a cornered Kimble dives down the face of a dam to escape his pursuers. The second half becomes a detective movie as Kimble returns to Chicago to find the real murderer- and clear his name. Full of twists and turns, there is an inevitable showdown at the end, and a text book ending as to how you wrap this sort of story up.
Director Andrew Davis's previous work gave no hint of his ability to deliver such a masterpiece, although his previous effort "Under Siege" will have sharpened up his action skills. And subsequently, he never quite scaled these heights again.
Seeing the Nick Love big screen version of THE SWEENEY I was struck as
to how cynical the marketing was . It could be any high octane thriller
set around a bunch of bank robbers in London with a crime squad led by
a rough diamond cop trying to bring the crooks to book . In other words
it's simply called THE SWEENEY because it's got a ready made market for
people who fondly remember the original TV show . This is pre-dated by
this big screen version of the television show of THE FUGITIVE which
features Harrison Ford playing a character called Dr Richard Kimble
being pursued by a cop called Gerard in a film that is nothing more
than a cynical exercise in trying to cash in on a half remembered TV
show from yesteryear . That is not to say it's a bad film as such but
anyone expecting anything along the lines of the TV original won't
recognise this film as sharing anything in common with the David
As it stands if you like loud , brash , action packed muliplex entertainment then you'll certainly enjoy this movie . The downside is that you have to take the rough with the smooth and this comes in the form of plot contrivance . Interestingly the original court case is skated over and the audience never given a reason why Kimble is found guilty of the murder of his wife . Of course sharing the name of the TV series THE FUGITIVE and a character played by Harrison Ford in 1993 the audience know Kimble must be innocent but even so the evidence must have been rather damning . Being a contrived plot means that in order for the story to progress more and more ludicrous things involving good luck/bad luck has to happen which strains credibility when you stop to think about anything . The shark is well and truly jumped relatively early in the film where Kimble takes a dive of a dam falling several hundred feet in to a waterfall which must contain several thousand tons of water and surviving
This sequence ties in with the protagonist's nemesis US Marshall Samuel Gerard who has the almostsupernatural ability to be one step ahead of the other characters . Kimble disappears in a blocked off tunnel ? He's obviously escaped down a drain . He jumps off the top of a dam ? He's obviously survived the fall . He looks through some garbage and concludes Kimble is using a false ID One almost hopes Gerard does something credible such as throw his hands up and say " Hey guys the trail has gone cold " but I guess that would mean less tension and excitement in a film that merely exists to wretch up tension and excitement to a multiplex audience . A fact reflected in its massive box office takings
After a traffic collision convicted murderer Dr Richard Kimble (Ford)
tries to clear his name whist Samuel Gerard (Jones) attempts to track
This Andrew Davis picture brings together a slick plot flowing with action and intrigue and with Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford on perfect form this is the perfect remedy to an absent action injury.
With James Bond being "reborn" these last few years and The Bourne trilogy racking up plaudits from everywhere it seems we have reinvented the term of thriller in a genre that is often scrutinized for its lack of realism in context.
What makes the Fugitive tick? For starters this is a fun adrenaline soaking thriller that needs minimal explanation to get the blood pumping. From waterfall jumps to train crashes this has enough to fulfil the viewer's requirements.
There is an array of credited actors who have broken barriers in their lifetimes previous to this Oscar winner. Tommy Lee Jones (winner of best supporting actor) has of course starred in plenty of action thrillers. Under Siege, No country for old men and possibly Men in Black he knows how to tackle the action. Having just reviewed the Oscars from 15 years ago I must confess to having liked John Malkovich's protagonist in the Wolfgang Peterson thriller In The Line of Fire plenty more. The swagger and evilness of Booth was elaborate, eccentric and malicious with a delicious cunning that made his character seem approachable but undeniably sick and evil. Jones nevertheless presents a character with baggage but does not convey it and with an intelligent appreciation of law and crime he sets the benchmark to the law breaking citizens of America.
Ford establishes himself as mystery man in the early stages where we believe he could be good or evil and when the plot momentarily loses its balance we know the truth of his innocence.
This narrative of a man needing to escape and prove his name as innocent is reflective of numerous other thrillers there's no question. Bearing in mind this concept can become tedious when seeing repetitive viewings of various thrillers it is significant to recognize this was one of the early films that brought this technique to the attention of the critiques and various other filmmakers. It is a stunning concept that adds tension and mystery from every aspect.
The scene setting is wonderfully exuberant. The forest setting generates the feeling of isolation exquisitely whilst the montages of the flashbacks fittingly reflect this isolation and gives the central character development and contemplation.
There are lapses in the action with an overhaul in dialogue and the Bourne series has shown the meaning of thriller but this is undoubtedly fast and fun mystery.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'The Fugitive' is quite a bit more faithful to its source material than many other feature films inspired by old television series, at least in an elemental sense. Most of the key reference points are there; innocent Dr. Richard Kimble, his wife's murder, the dogged pursuit by police Lt. Gerard, and of course the one-armed man. We hardly expect the main actors to impersonate their antecedents and they don't, though the thought of Harrison Ford mimicking David Janssen is an amusing one. But where the film really deviates from the TV show is in Tommy Lee Jones' portrayal of the Gerard character. Barry Morse's staid police lieutenant may have had just a touch of deviousness to him, but it's nothing compared to Jones' flamboyant, in-your-face, control-freakish turn as the U.S. marshal on Kimble's trail. Jones' Gerard is every bit as much a lead character as Ford's quieter, determined Kimble. There are new twists (and a new sub-plot concerning pharmaceutical subterfuge) added to the familiar plot of Dr. Kimble on the run, trying to locate evidence that the one-armed man killed his wife and thus prove his innocence. Kimble is certainly nothing if not resourceful and not surprisingly, a certain suspension of disbelief is required by the audience to accept his ability to get out of scrapes and avoid the police throughout the film. In fact, there are primarily two sources of great enjoyment in 'The Fugitive,' one being Jones' over-the-top performance and the other Kimble's ingenuity at tracking down the murderer even while he himself is being pursued. Another actor deserves mention: Jeroen Krabbe, who plays a doctor friend of Kimble's who ultimately turns out to be one of the baddies. With his cultured accent and sophisticated manner, Krabbe exudes a kind of upper-crust menace very effectively, so that when his character's true nature is revealed, there is a real sense of justice prevailing in his getting his comeuppance. There is a certain infuriating quality about Gerard, for all his wiseass remarks and endearing devil-may-care attitude towards protocol, in that he seemingly never stops to consider whether Kimble just might be innocent, at least not until very late in the film. It stands in contrast to some of Kimble's old friends at the hospital he visits, who are just as unswervingly convinced that he isn't guilty without any physical evidence or proof to back up this belief. Kimble inhabits a no-man's land in the middle, slipping in and out of each alternate universe, one where he's damned for all time and the other where he's a great guy, and don't be silly, of course he didn't kill his wife. It's that tension that propels 'The Fugitive' along but also makes the ending not entirely satisfactory. You want to hit Lt. Gerard on the head when he finally realizes the truth and tell him, "Of course he didn't kill his wife, you fool!"
Truth be told,the job of a vascular surgeon is not the most pleasant
job that there is to be found out there. But,for vascular surgeon
Richard Kimble(Harrison Ford),life could be better. This is due to
Richard Kimble being a rich,successful,and respected vascular surgeon.
On top of that,Richard Kimble has a beautiful wife with whom he has a
loving relationship with,Helen (Sela Ward). This has made Richard
Kimble's life perfect,and given Kimble what most people dream for/of.
But,one night,everything perfect and wonderful in the life of Richard Kimble suddenly comes to an end. This is when Richard Kimble comes home,only to discover that his beloved Helen is being murdered by a man with a prosthetic arm. And then,before Richard Kimble knows it,he is falsely convicted for the murder of his wife. The result? Kimble being sentenced to Death Row.
However,one night,a stroke of "fate" steps in for Richard Kimble. This stroke of "fate" allows Richard Kimble to escape imprisonment,and allows Kimble to return to Chicago(his hometown)to solve the murder of his wife. Richard Kimble has several loyal,trusted and respected friends/colleagues. Because of this,Kimble has a very strong chance at solving the murder of his wife,and bringing the people who are responsible for it to justice. But,the Chicago Police and the United States Marshals have a tight watch over Richard Kimble. This complicates Kimble trying to solve the murder of his wife and bringing the people who are responsible for it to justice. On top of that? The man leading the case against Richard Kimble is Samuel Gerard(Tommy Lee Jones),a United States Marshal who's determination and obsession in finding Richard Kimble is aided by his intelligence.
The only things that will tell who is able to win the whole "case" between Richard Kimble and his friends/colleagues and Samuel Gerard and his team of United States Marshals,alongside the Chicago Police Department? Time,decisions,and intelligence.
The script for "The Fugitive" is a bit unarranged,and could have been easily fixed by director Andrew Davis before its release. But,other than that,"The Fugitive" is a well-written film and adaptation. Based off of a 1960's television series created by the late Roy Huggins (RIP),"The Fugitive" succeeds in taking the television show that it based off of,and keeping several elements of the show,remaining true and original without recycling the show. There are a lot of original elements to "The Fugitive",which helps it out a lot,at the same time. And,despite the fact that the script for "The Fugitive" happens to be a bit unarranged,it does a good job at documenting Richard Kimble trying to solve the murder of his wife,and the case being lead against Kimble. The way that everything leads up to another is perfectly arranged. At the same time,"The Fugitive" successfully takes crime drama,action,and plenty of chemistry,alongside a small amount of humor,and blending it all together in one.
There are also a lot of strong performances that are to be found in "The Fugitive". In Harrison Ford's performance as Richard Kimble,Ford turns in a richly executed performance. This is by Harrison Ford understanding how his character of Richard Kimble is feeling,and bringing Kimble's feelings to life. The beauty of it? Harrison Ford's performance as Richard Kimble does not find Ford portraying Kimble as a big,tough guy who's enemies better look out for themselves. Harrison Ford's performance as Richard Kimble paints a picture of Kimble as a smart and laid-back man,who is just trying to solve his wife's murder and bring the people responsible for it to justice. What makes this performance tick is viewers seeing that Richard Kimble is no tough guy whatsoever--letting the plot and script have an interesting and creative "twist" to them. In Tommy Lee Jones's performances as Samuel Gerard,Jones understands how Gerard feels about the case of Richard Kimble,and Gerard's determination and obsession to find Kimble,alongside the intelligence of Gerard. This keeps "The Fugitive" moving along well at a well-structured and constructed pace. It helps viewers of "The Fugitive" clearly know and understand the two sides of the story. Anytime a scene in "The Fugitive" calls for humor out of Tommy Lee Jones' performance of Samuel Gerard,Jones takes the humor and brings it to life,allowing the humor to be worthwhile and viewers of "The Fugitive" have a few laughs. All of these elements all work not only being blended together,but also for the scenes in this film that feature both Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones and the scenes with action (the action here is well-mixed in with the script;it is fitting and suitable,but does not push itself a mile to being an action film,on behalf of the way it is arranged in the script for "The Fugitive" and the performances in the scene with the action).
It is also worth noting that even though you will only find Sela Ward through a small half of "The Fugitive",Ward's performance as Helen Kimble is one of the film's highlights. Why? In Sela Ward's performance as Helen Kimble,Ward puts a good amount of compassion into her scenes,and even though very little,emotion when it is called for (You'll know what I mean.....). Sela Ward's performance of Helen Kimble contribute to "The Fugitive" being as good and successful as it turned out to be. It also succeeds in allowing viewers of "The Fugitive" know how Richard Kimble feels as they watch Richard solve Helen's murder. All of this allows "The Fugitive" to fully come together,and be the good and successful film that it turned out to be.
Overall,whether you have or have not watched the television show that "The Fugitive" is based off of,if you enjoy crime drama films and enjoy a film with a good cast and good acting (most of the cast here is obscure,but they are all great actors who are perfect in their roles here),"The Fugitive" is the film is for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Fugitive turns out to be a smashing success, a juggernaut of an
action-adventure saga that owes nothing to the past. Accused of his
wife's murder, a doctor (Harrison Ford) goes on the run, hunting down
the real killer while a cop (Tommy Lee Jones) pursues him.
The original TV series, starring David Janssen, ran from 1963 to 1967. Here it is updated into an expansive action-adventure film, powered - even through its less coherent stretches - by lead performances of an old-school solidity and rigour. For his performance Jones won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The Fugitive was one of the few movies associated with a television series to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
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