Best Movies of All Time + Tommy Lee Jones



The Fugitive is a 1993 action film directed by Andrew Davis. It follows the story of Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), a renowned surgeon who is wrongfully accused and imprisoned for the murder of his wife Helen (Sela Ward). While being transferred to another penitentiary, Kimble's bus tumbles down a hill before being struck by an oncoming train. He survives the crash and makes his escape. Shortly after, U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) is called to the scene in the hopes that he will be able to find the missing fugitive. As the two men play their cat-and-mouse game, Kimble also strives to find the real culprit behind his wife's untimely death: a one-armed man with whom he fought on that fateful night. As both men do their best to apprehend their respective quarry, they fall deeper and deeper into an ever-thickening plot that includes some of Kimble's physician colleagues as well as a major pharmaceutical company.

Now, The Fugitive is an Oscar-winning film that also garnered a nomination for Best Picture back in 1994. It ultimately lost to Schindler's List but was also running against In the Name of the Father, The Piano and The Remains of the Day. I've only seen the first two of those films mentioned, but based on those, I don't quite think The Fugitive is really anywhere close to the same wavelength. Schindler's currently sits at #17 on my list of all-time greatest movies, and In the Name of the Father rests at #73. The Fugitive couldn't even make it onto my list of the top 50 action/adventure films. But that's not to say that it's a bad movie.

I'm going to start with acting this time around because I have less negative to say about all that. Harrison Ford is effective as our emotional lead, and he actually has a couple of moments of near-greatness. Ford has never been the most stellar actor, riding more on the bravado of his characters (see: Han Solo and Indiana Jones) more than anything else. When it comes to dramatic acting, however, I doubt Ford would be your first, second, or tenth choice. He does have a couple of good, emotional scenes early in the film, but he quickly turns into the man who has to run and hide (which makes sense, considering he IS a fugitive...). Jones provides much of the bravado - and the comic relief - in the movie, which helps to lighten the mood a little bit. He scored an Oscar statuette for his supporting performance, but I'm not entirely sure he should've beaten the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape), Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List), John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire), and Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father). There are a couple recognizable faces that have smaller roles in The Fugitive: be on the lookout for Joe Pantoliano, Julianne Moore, Jane Lynch and Neil Flynn.

The actual storyline isn't all that terrible. We're given a number of plot twists as we go through the motions, so the film does enough to keep the audience's interest. However, it seemed as though the film was a little too rote and conventional for my personal tastes. I never once felt like Kimble was in any real danger of having to go back to prison. Yeah, I guess there's gotta be a little bit of a happy ending, but even in the early going, I always knew that Kimble was going to figure everything out. Also, from the moment we see the film's villain for the first time (I won't say who it is, just to keep a little bit of mystery), I knew that he would be the villain even though you technically don't know until late in the story. It just all seemed a little too predictable for me. The review aggregate website - which lists that The Fugitive has a 94% "fresh" rating - gives the following critique synopsis: "Exhilarating and intense, this high-impact chase thriller is a model of taught and efficient formula film making." While it has moments of exhilaration, I just think that it had a little too much formula for its own good. I wanted a little bit of suspense, but it just didn't deliver on that point for me.

Overall, The Fugitive is not a bad film, but I personally can't see why it was given so many accolades upon its release in the early '90s. Maybe it's just been copied so much in the past eighteen years that I feel like I've seen it all before when this was the original standard. Or maybe I'm just missing something. It's not a bad film, and it's probably worth a watch, but I can't recommend it with flying colors.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B
1 Thumb Up

1993, Andrew Davis, drama, Fugitive, Harrison Ford, Jane Lynch, Joe Pantoliano, Julianne Moore, movie review, Neil Flynn, Oscar win, Sela Ward, thriller, and more:

Relevant to: THE FUGITIVE + Tommy Lee Jones