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the-fugitive

THE FUGITIVE (1993)

When he's mistakenly convicted for the murder of his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble is sent to prison.  Along the way, however, he escapes, and in his fugitive state, resolves to uncover the truth behind the mystery of his wife's murder.  In the meantime, U.S. Marshal, Samuel Gerard, is in hot pursuit of Kimble, following his every move and familial contact.  Can Kimble unravel the mystery before he is caught by Gerard and the truth remain forever buried?

The sparkling cast includes: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Julianne Moore, Joe Pantoliano, Jeroen Krabbe, Andreas Katsulas, Daniel Roebuck, and L. Scott Caldwell.

THE FUGITIVE was nominated for the Best Picture award.

Director Andrew Davis "The Fugitive" is a tight, exciting, well paced suspense yarn.

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Tag line: "A murdered wife. A one-armed man. An obsessed detective. The chase begins."

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The basic story starts with a well-known and respected vascular neurosurgeon, Dr. Richard Kimble, being wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, and sentenced to death. On the way to the prison, a fight and the following chaos on the bus causes the bus to roll down an embankment onto train tracks, with a locomotive bearing down on them. Following this freak bus/train wreck, the doctor escapes, pursued relentlessly by a U.S. Marshal, Samuel Gerard, always just a half a step behind him. Dr. Kimble returns home to Chicago, putting his life and his freedom at risk, to be on a fishing expedition to find the real killer, and who was behind this murder of his wife, and why.

The excellent screenplay was by Jeb Stuart and David Twohy, story by Twohy. An example of excellent plot and character development, is how the screenplay followed the adventures of Dr. Kimble. I loved how Dr. Kimble methodically went about figuring out who the correct one-arm man was, his connections, and why his wife was killed, with the added bonus of finding out who else was involved. A favorite line of Dr. Kimble's, that he hisses through a phone at Sam Gerard: "Well, I've been trying to solve a puzzle here, and I just found a big piece!!!"

Throughout the storyline, Kimble shows his true character along the way, as being a caring human being, not the vicious killer a jury proclaimed him to be. Even when extremely angry, while involved in fisty-cuff fights with the bad guys, he shows restraint.

Almost as interesting, is how the gifted man hunter, Deputy Gerard, goes about trying to find Kimble, and what he does with the clues Kimble gives him, that eventually point to the real killers.

The suspense in this movie is even better than Hitchock's "39 Steps," which apparently influenced this movie, as well as the original TV series. One example of this, can be seen in the last twenty minutes of the film, which can be described as high drama, suspenseful, and very satisfying to audiences.

However, there are many favorite scenes that showcase the suspenseful, fine writing, directing, and production values, that give this talented cast plenty of material to shine with. One of my favorite action sequences is the train wreck which frees Ford. Utilizing a full size train, as well as great FX, it really looks like Ford is just a few heartbeats away from being crushed by the runaway train.

Two other well written and directed, very suspenseful, exciting sequences happen, when the Marshall and his crew nearly catch Dr. Kimble, keeping one at the edge of the seat. Check out the dam chase sequence, and the Cook County Court House sequences, that end in a close foot race. Kimble keeps his cool, uses his head and barely escapes the then frosted and frustrated Gerard and co-horts.

Tommy Lee Jones is very impressive as the U.S. Marshall. With his hang dog, unhandsome mug, Jones convinces as a man who does not know how to give up. His motto: "Never give up 'till the big dog howls. The big dog is always right!" Tommy Lee won the Oscar for his performance here.

Harrison Ford is perfectly cast as the innocent man on the run. In a character similar to that in many Alfred Hitchcock movies, Ford fully holds the audience's sympathy, one of his greater screen strengths.

Andreas Katsulas, as the nasty, cold-hearted Sykes, and Jeroen Krabbé, as the smooth-talking, clever, but back stabbing Dr. Charles Nichols, make great villains, and add a lot to the film.

If you enjoyed THE FUGITIVE, you may enjoy UNDER SIEGE ,
and/or INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.