The Fugitive

This film was my first date with my wife and my first planned published review, but that actually became Man Without a Face, Mel Gibson’s directorial debut. 

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FugitiveThe chase is on!

Add another huge hit to Harrison Ford’s stellar career.  The Fugitive is based on the popular TV show, starring David Janssen, that ran from 1963 to 1967 and was based on real events.  Screenwriter David N.Twohy (Pitch Black, Waterworld) modernizes the original concept produced by Roy Huggins as Andrew Davis (Under Siege) graduates to high-profile directing with a 45 million dollar budget.  Davis received an Oscar nomination for Best Director for this exciting two-hour and seven minute action vehicle full of chases and realistic situations.

Ford’s character, Dr. Richard Kimble, finds himself in a precarious situation when his wife, played by Sela Ward (TV’s Once and Again, Sisters) is found dead and authorities point an accusing finger at him.  Kimble vehemently denies such atrocities and pleads his innocence, but the judge doesn’t buy it.  Before Kimble gets put in jail for a life sentence, a freak accident allows him to escape from his prison transport.

Enter the intelligent, no-nonsense U.S. Marshall Samuel Gerard, well played by Tommy Lee Jones who received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this role.

As Gerard chases, Kimble traces clues to find his wife’s real killer and vindicate himself in the process.  Gerard relentlessly tails Kimble through parades, tunnels, sewers and high-rise buildings without making careless assumptions.

Gerard’s talented team includes Joe Pantolino (The Matrix) as Cosmo Renfro, Daniel Roebuck (Cliff Lewis in TVs Matlock) as Biggs, L.Scott Caldwell plays Poole, and Andreas Katsulas plays Skyes.

Ford goes through a lot to create a very physical and emotional character including an injury to his right knee that required surgery.  Ford makes a genuine connection with the audience and makes them sympathize with Kimble’s situation.  In one scene, Kimble risks being caught in a hospital in order to save a little boy’s life.

In the hospital setting, Julianne Moore (Hannibal, Lost World: Jurassic Park 2, Magnolia) has a small, but vital role as Dr. Anne Eastman.  Davis seemingly hand-picked Under Siege alum Eddie Bo Smith Jr. to play Kimble’s fellow prisoner, Copeland and Tom Wood as Newman, part of Gerard’s team.

Jeroen Krabbe (Ever After, Living Daylights) plays Kimble’s medical colleague Dr. Charles Nichols who plays a key role in Gerard’s investigation.

The audience is definitely not held captive to a limited point of view as the plot shows detailed perspectives from both sides of the law.  Followed by a sequel in 1998, U.S. Marshalls, (sans Ford) which includes Jones and his team.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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