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Before watching this film I read that it was based on a 1960s TV
series, that much of the dialogue was improvised, and that the script
was still being written as filming started. That didn't bode well
because, as we know, actors are interminably capable of speech, but
dialogue is something different. However, maybe this is the exception
to the rule, as Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones are both brilliant in
their roles and if much of that was improvised, all credit to them.
Jones got the Oscar for his role as by Lt. Gerard but Ford is equally impressive as the wronged Dr Richard Kimble, falsely accused of the murder of his wife (Sela Ward). We see her mostly in flashback and this is a believable relationship, unlike in the sequel using Wesley Snipes in the Ford role.
The film is a cat and mouse chase as Gerard pursues Kimble through various settings. The sense of tension, perfectly backed by the music of James Newton Howard, builds like in a Hitchcock movie, which is a credit to director Andrew Davis. Michael Chapman's cinematography is crisp and sharp and clinical. Perfect for this film.
As Kimble is being hunted by Gerard, he is himself hunting for the mysterious one-armed man who was the real murderer of his wife, but what was the motive? Using his medical knowledge and his analytical skill he aims to find his quarry before Gerard finds him! But Gerard is also piecing the truth together. Simple plot that twists and turns as it develops. In a sense you find yourself rooting for both men as they both come across as warm and intelligent, pursing their intertwined goals.
I really can't find fault here. This is one of the top films ever. Why the IMDb rating is so low, I don't know. I'll do what I can to move it up a bit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not a new movie, in fact almost 20 years old, but I managed to catch it
on the ION network this weekend. Ford and Jones look pretty young.
The movie begins in the home at night, the wife is in her night clothes, there is a struggle, she ends up dead and the husband is accused of murder. We very briefly see the trial and a guilty verdict sends him to prison.
Harrison Ford is the husband, Dr. Richard Kimble. He maintains his innocence and claims a "one-armed man" was in their home, he struggled with him, was knocked out and doesn't remember much.
As he is being transported to prison there is a scuffle in the bus, it veers off the road, and tumbles down the embankment. When a guard says to him "you're a doctor, can you help him" regarding an injured man, Kimble answers "take my cuffs off." The movie might have ended quickly had it not been that the bus rolled onto train tracks, and now a train was about to hit. Kimble manages to get to safety and it took 90 minutes to determine for certainty that he had not died in the wreck but in fact escaped. The hunt was on.
The hunt is directed by Tommy Lee Jones as US Marshall Samuel Gerard. And most of the rest of the movie involves the cat 'n mouse game, Gerard trying to track down Kimble. While Kimble's motive was to gather evidence to prove his innocence.
Good movie, Ford and Jones are in top form here.
SPOILERS: Kimble works his way back to Chicago and the hospital where he had worked. He pieced together clues that led him to the assassin with the prosthetic arm, and eventually back to another doctor who had been falsifying data in an important drug test to gain its approval. Dr Kimble was the target, not his wife, because he could expose the fraud and there was lots of $$Money on the line. All is well that ends well.
The Fugitive (1993) 9 User reviews are instructive in their often uniform dissection of what makes this such a fine movie drama. That, and IMDb contributors' high level of excitement and firm conviction of The Fugitive as being in the top 100 movies. It all adds up to rare praise. This reviewer thoroughly agrees. Director Andrew Davis must take much of the credit, because even though by now most audiences are familiar with the basic plot, the movie loses nothing when seen again. It is intelligent. The action scenes are spectacular yet believable, the pace constant and even. Harrison Ford, he of the permanent expression of dismay, is ideal as Dr Richard Kimble, convicted of murdering his beautiful wife for the insurance money. His defense team wasn't up to much: Richard is slated for a lethal injection, but fate frees him and he winds up on the run. This is enough to draw Marshal Samuel Gerard into the equation, in the person of Tommy Lee Jones. He has a blank expression akin to "you don't say?", and we see it lots as doctor and cop try to out-think each other. The doctor must avoid capture long enough to prove his innocence. The marshal, an assertive hunter, just wants to bring his quarry in. In the process, the audience is swept away with these two, and no wonder. It's not a matter of picking sides. Both men are smart and well-intentioned. Sit back and enjoy the magic.
Based on the old TV show, and starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee
Jones, this movie remains a lesson in just how to rework something into
a smart, entertaining blockbuster for modern audiences.
Ford is Dr. Richard Kimble, the innocent man who is sent to jail for the brutal murder of his wife despite his insistence that it was committed by a one-armed man he fought with in his home. One crash later and he's on the run, being followed by human bloodhound Samuel Gerard (Jones). Can Kimble evade capture for as long as he needs to prove his innocence?
Running at just about two hours, The Fugitive is perfectly paced so as to never outstay it's welcome. This is all thanks to the big set-pieces dotted throughout and the fact that the film focuses on the dynamic between Ford's fugitive and Jones's U.S. Marshall. The two stars have rarely been better and the dialogue from Jones remains immensely entertaining and quaotable.
With a supporting cast including Sela Ward, Joe Pantoliano, Julianne Moore, Jeroen Krabbe and some other familiar faces, you get a good bunch who do well with the material but never get in the way of that central main attraction.
Director Andrew Davis (with a script partly written by David Twohy, who would go on to direct the likes of Pitch Black and A Perfect Getaway) gets the whole thing just perfect, hitting some good beats and providing a lot of tension throughout, thanks to some nicely edited moments and some enjoyable confrontations.
A big hit when it was released, The Fugitive remains a fantastic example of a big-budget blockbuster done the way they should be.
See this if you like: The Defiant Ones, "Prison Break", The Chase.
A well respected Chicago surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble has found out that
his wife, Helen, has been murdered ferociously in her own home. The
police found Kimble and accused him of the murder. Then, Kimble was
tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. However, on the way to
prison, Kimble's transport crashed. Kimble escapes and is now on the
run. Deputy Samuel Gerard from Chicago takes charge of the chase of
Kimble. Meanwhile, Kimble makes up his own investigation to find who
really killed his life, and to lure Gerard and his team into it as
I loved this movie. I really liked it a lot. Compared to other chase films, this is one of the best. This movie is based off a TV series and no, I did not see it. However, I was really convinced that the events that happened in the film could happen in real life. It's realistic. This film is taught and intelligent. In fact, you find out who killed the protagonist's wife way early into the movie and does not play like a "whodunnit" film.
However, the whole explanation in the end is a let-down, no doubt. In fact, the movie stretches a bit. The whole final act plays unlike anything from the the first two acts. I felt that the movie needed to end a bit earlier and the action in the end was going a bit too long and too far. Another thing I was annoyed with in here was the false or trick scenes, where something you think will happen but because it's a movie, something else happens. It's really clichéd, I think.
The performance by Harrison Ford was great. Tommy Lee Jones provides all the one liners here, which are more or less funny from other action movies. The action scenes in here are decent and sometimes great. Overall, it's a really good chase film, although it does fall short in the whole resolution and explanation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Fugitive has very simple plot which can be summed up in a few
lines: a woman is murdered her, husband is - wrongly - convicted of her
murder and sentenced to death, he then escapes and attempts to prove
his innocence whilst being pursued by a relentless US Marshall who will
stop at nothing to get his man. That man is Dr Richard Kimble who is
played brilliantly by Harrison Ford, in his best performance after
Ford is very convincing as the man on the run - in my opinion he gets the nervousness, of a man constantly looking over his shoulder, spot on. Meanwhile Tommy Lee Jones is highly entertaining as the US Marshall Samuel Gerrard he refuses to give in until he has Kimble - dead or alive. Jeroen Krabbe meanwhile is quite menacing and very slippery as Doctor Charles Nichols, his financial motive contrasts nicely with the Chicago Police Department's belief that Kimble killed his wife for the money, even if it is a little unconvincing that a Doctor (who is "already rich") would go such extraordinary lengths - that of faking the results of a drugs trial and murder - simply for financial gain.
The Fugitive is great entertainment with a fast paced plot that keeps you interested with just the right amount of twists and turns which are placed evenly through the film. The action meanwhile is fantastically over the top - the train crash and the dam scene are classic moments in cinema history, they are all the more entertaining for the fact that Kimble is clearly no action man and (like Indiana Jones) is not quite up to the job of evading Samuel Gerrard and the scheming of Nichols.
Lastly it is worth noting that The Fugitive quite subtly points out the insanity of the death penalty - which in fact makes the film all the more uplifting for a Brit like me.
Harrison Ford is arrested for killing his wife, a crime he didn't
commit. Through some incredible luck, he escapes on the way to the
prison and returns to Chicago, completely undetected because he shaves
off his beard. Can he find the real killer before the marshals (led by
Tommy Lee Jones) track him down? This film is considered one of the
better films out there. It was good, but I wouldn't say it was the
greatest. Having just watched "Striking Distance", I found some of the
similarities to be a bit unfortunate. I mean, they're two very
different films but coming out about the same time makes me suspicious.
Ford is great of course and Jones is the perfect man to face him. Julianne Moore also gets a top billing, but I'm not sure why because she has no more than five minutes of screen time. I could have used a full hour of her.
What keeps this film going is the mystery and conspiracy. It runs very deep and keeps you guessing, so much so that even in the end you may need to watch the movie again to really understand who is connected to who and what. I think I saw a plot hole or two, but maybe it was just so complex I couldn't tell! The action is also good (especially the train-bus collision) but this should not be your reason for watching it.
If you liked this movie, I strongly recommend you read up on the case of Dr. Sam Shephard. My understanding is that his case was the basis for the show and movie, so you might want to see how things happen in real life. Just a suggestion.
Dr. Richard Kimble is accused of murdering his wife even though he
witnessed a one armed man committing the crime. On his way to death row
there is an accident that allows Kimble to escape. The hunt is on.
Kimble goes on the hunt to find out who killed his wife and why, and
U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard goes on the hunt for Kimble to bring him in.
All the events leading up to the great climax make for an amazing cat
and mouse thriller.
Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones are great in this movie. No matter which one is on the screen you get the same vibe. Their characters both don't want to stop. They want to find who they're looking for, and they're not going to slow down until they do. To me, this is one of Harrison Ford's better roles. To me his films have been dwindling in quality lately. The scenes involving the U.S. Marshals provide some good comic relief that makes the mood of the film more lighthearted until the action picks up again.
Andrew Davis does a really good job compacting four years of material from the TV show into a 2 hr. and 10 minute movie. He even gives the film a twist ending that you're not really expecting. What I really like about The Fugitive is that it's a non-stop action film, but it's not a popcorn flick. This is a real serious movie. The characters and dialogue are realistic, and they make use of several different emotions throughout the film. This is a great movie that if you haven't seen it, you should definitely rent or buy it. You won't regret it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I recently came across a message on the IMDb message board for one of
Hitchcock's classic thrillers challenging readers to name modern crime
thrillers in the tradition of the master's work. I was surprised by the
fact that several of the first few answers I thought of ("Witness",
"Presumed Innocent", "The Fugitive" and "What Lies Beneath") all
starred the same actor- Harrison Ford. In my view Ford is often
underrated, particularly by the critics. (He has, for example, only
ever received one Oscar nomination, for "Witness"). Perhaps his roles
in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series have led to his being
unfairly categorised as an actor most at home in effects-laden
blockbusters. He is not, perhaps, the most emotionally demonstrative of
actors, but he is able to convey a sense of solidity and inner decency
which make him valuable as the hero of crime thrillers as well as
political thrillers like "Patriot Games" or "Air Force One". The
surprise twist in "What Lies Beneath" came as particularly shocking for
the very reason that a man we generally associate with solid,
unflappable heroes actually turned out to be a villain, led astray by
his inability to curb his emotions.
In "The Fugitive" Ford plays Dr Richard Kimble, a doctor wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to death. (Ford does get to show some genuine emotions when Kimble breaks down after his wife's death and in the scene where he is being interrogated by the police). Kimble manages to escape when the bus which is taking him to prison is involved in a collision with a train following a failed escape attempt by another prisoner. Kimber is faced with a race against time to discover the reason why he was framed for the murder and to find out the identity of the real killer. He is pursued by Sam Gerard, a US marshal who has taken over the responsibility for investigating the case.
In some ways the film is as much about Gerard as it is about Kimble. Kimble is a classically Hitchcockian figure, the straightforward hero wrongly accused of a crime and trying to prove his innocence. Gerard is an unusually complex character for the cop in a crime thriller. He starts off as a man simply trying to do his job as best he can, without thinking of deeper issues. When Kimble tells him "I didn't kill my wife", Gerard cynically replies "I don't care". As the film progresses, however, Gerard comes to believe in his quarry's innocence and a strange respect grows between the two men. Ford and the showier Tommy Lee Jones have different acting styles, but they combine well here. Jones is very good here, but I was rather surprised by his "best supporting actor" Oscar, as I felt that the Academy overlooked fine performances from two of the supporting actors in "Schindler's List", Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley who was not even nominated.
Besides good contributions from the two leading actors, "The Fugitive" is notable as an exciting, well-paced thriller. There are some memorable moments such as the heart-stopping train crash and the confrontation between Kimble and Gerard on top of the dam, followed by Kimble's plunge to safety. Occasionally one doubts the credibility of what one is seeing- it seemed unlikely, for example, that Kimble could have survived his dive from the dam unhurt, or that he should be so successful in eluding his pursuers even with so competent and dedicated a cop as Gerard in charge of them. These doubts, however, are generally quickly swept away by the pace of the action. Director Andrew Davis seems to specialise in thrillers, but this, one of the finest crime thrillers of the nineties, is best example of his work that I have seen. 8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nowadays it seems that every other month there is a big-screen release
adapted from an old TV show. Think about it.... they've virtually all
be done: Lost In Space, The Avengers, Starsky & Hutch, The Saint,
Charlie's Angels, Fantastic Four, Mission: Impossible and Thuderbirds
to name but a few, with more promised for the future (at the time I'm
writing this, big-screen treatments of The A-Team and The Persuaders
are on the cards). The trend for borrowing TV concepts and transforming
them into major film releases really began with this 1993 offering.
Knowledgeable film buffs might argue that Batman or even Flash Gordon
pre-date The Fugitive and were also TV shows long, long ago, but both
of those films actually drew their inspiration more from the original
comic books than their television ancestors. Therefore, The Fugitive is
probably the first genuine cinematic version of an old TV show.
Ironically, after all the years since its release, it is still the best
of the bunch too!
Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) returns home one night to find his wife bleeding to death and a burglar in his house. He fights with the burglar, and discovers that his assailant actually has a prosthetic arm, before finally being overwhelmed. When the police arrive, they refuse to believe that Kimble's wife was murdered by an intruder and instead charge Kimble himself with the crime. He is convicted and put on Death Row. However, Kimble gets an unexpected chance to clear his name when the bus transporting him to jail crashes off the road and ends up straddling a railway line. Kimble makes a breathtaking escape from the crippled vehicle and goes on the run in the neighbouring woodland. Ace FBI agent Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) is brought in to track down the fugitive and the two of them are soon locked in a battle of wills, which ends when Kimble makes a remarkable escape from his pursuers in a storm drain. Later, Kimble makes his way to Chicago where he begins to piece together the mystery of his wife's murder, eventually realising that he was set up to divert attention from a conspiracy in the medical world.
Ford is terrific as the titular fugitive and he gets superb support from Jones as the Federal Marshal on his tail (the latter got an Oscar for his efforts). The film is brilliantly scripted by Jeb Stuart and David Twohy, who manage to remain faithful to the plot of the original show, while updating it for contemporary audiences and condensing it into a 2 hour narrative. James Newton Howard also does a fabulous job with his score, which is emotional and exciting at all the right moments. The story is paced very thoughtfully, so that the characters are introduced and developed meaningfully, without tedium setting in while the viewers await the action. The Fugitive is a terrific film, totally absorbing and exciting from beginning to end, and easily one of the films of its year.
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