Review No. 465
The perfect blend of action and drama.
DIRECTED BY ANDREW DAVIS. SCREENPLAY BY JEB STUART AND DAVID TWOHY. STORY BY TWOHY. BASED ON “THE FUGITIVE” BY ROY HUGGINS. STARRING HARRISON FORD (DR. RICHARD KIMBLE) AND TOMMY LEE JONES (DEPUTY MARSHAL SAMUEL GERARD). ALSO STARRING ANDREAS KATSULAS, DANIEL ROEBUCK, JEROEN KRABBÉ, JOE PANTOLIANO, JOSEPH KOSALA, JULIANNE MOORE, L. SCOTT CALDWELL, RON DEAN, SELA WARD, AND TOM WOOD. DISTRIBUTED BY WARNER BROS. ON AUGUST 6, 1993. PRODUCED IN ENGLISH BY THE UNITED STATES. RUNS 2 HOURS, 10 MINUTES. NOT FOR CHILDREN, DUE TO INTENSE VIOLENCE.
THE FUGITIVE WAS WATCHED ON APRIL 21, 2013.
“I don’t care!” –Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones)
Harrison Ford is one of the toughest badasses around Hollywood. The majority of action heroes would beg for a stunt double. More often than not, he requests that he do it all himself, regardless of whether smashing his face and limbs against glass will require surgery. Most commonly, it’s been a mere excuse to make a great popcorn flick, but in The Fugitive, he does it all to exhibit his character’s determination.
The Fugitive is fuel for the heart, be it for adrenaline or strong emotion. Ironically enough, its protagonist, Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), is a cardiologist. Beyond that, he’s just a man, a good Samaritan. But he’s lost his honor: he has been accused of his wife’s brutal murder. Now he has been dubbed a fugitive, while he actually has set out to find the man who did kill his wife. Kimble is the ideal character to root for, unless you simply couldn’t stand Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) or Lester Burnham (American Beauty)–similar characters who go through hell to prove their innocence and devotion.
On the other end is the man chasing him: Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). It is apparent that his character was written with inspiration from Inspector Javert from Les Misérables; Gerard is the perfect replication, only brought to greater heights by Jones’s tour de force performance. We don’t mind the character at first. He’s just doing his job, right? Yes, but he does it to exemplify his authority, not to support the community. He seems more and more detestable as the story proceeds; it’s almost impossible to notice the moment he has a change of heart.
I truly enjoyed The Fugitive. The film is an adaptation of a 1960s TV series; simply put, I cannot imagine this much depth on television of any age. The film does go a bit over the top with improbability. Our hero barely makes it out of a bus before a train wrecks it; he also jumps a waterfall to avoid being arrested…and survives. But where is plausibility in the action genre? I don’t know about you, but I think if I identify any scene as unforgettable, it’s the climactic scenes. I don’t remember the last time I held my breath for so long.