Like the 1960’s television series that inspired it, The Fugitive offers a distorted view of the world and a sense of impending danger. However, director Andrew Davis has taken the story of a man accused fighting to prove his innocence and made it bigger and all-encompassing. Released in 1993, The Fugitive impressed moviegoers and critics alike, earning $368,875,760 at the box office worldwide and receiving seven Oscar nominations, including a Best Supporting Actor win for Tommy Lee Jones.
Returning home from a swanky party, Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) discovers his wife (Sela Ward) has been shot and is dying on the bedroom floor while an unknown one-armed man is fleeing the scene (Andreas Katsulas). Kimble has little time to mourn the loss, as he is tried and wrongly convicted of her murder. On the bus ride to the prison, Kimble is accompanied by three other prisoners. When they attempt an escape, the driver of the bus loses control and it plunges down an embankment. Kimble finds himself free. Ninety minutes later, Federal Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) arrives on the scene to coordinate the search for the fugitive. While Kimble evades Gerard and his men, he also begins the hunt for the one-armed man.
Unlike the television series, which had David Jansen’s Kimble engaging in a secondary story each week, the film is solely about the chase and catching the criminal. Oddly though, even though this is a chase movie, the scenes before the chase begins are some of the best. In a well edited fifteen-minute prologue we are given a look at the circumstances surrounding the murder and the trial. While we don’t get a lot of information regarding Kimble’s relationship with his wife, it’s clear that they loved each other. By the time he’s convicted of killing her and the sentence had been read, we understand the double tragedy Kimble is dealing with.
After the prologue, we are treated to non-stop action as Gerard and his men track down Kimble. Directed and photographed with a sense of urgency, viewers are on edge as Kimble attempts to stay ahead of his would be captors. Kimble and the lawmen are all intelligent people, which makes the chase even more intriguing. That isn’t to say that the plot is airtight. A few things are contrived to bring about a tidy resolution.
Kimble’s pursuit of the one-armed man often seems a little too pat. Clues are just a little too easy. The murder mystery just isn’t as well constructed as it could be. If it had been, the plot would have been a little tighter and we would have had a better understanding of some of the motivations of secondary characters. Despite these issues, The Fugitive is still a solid murder mystery.
While Harrison Ford does a fine job as Dr. Richard Kimble, this film really belongs to Tommy Lee Jones. His character has undeniable charisma and palpable energy. Gerard’s growing respect for Kimble is obvious. Jones deserves a lot of credit for making a seemingly straightforward character into something special.
Presented in its original 1.85:1 ratio, Warner Brothers has delivered a strong 2160 transfer. When compared to the 2013 Blu-ray, detail is stronger across the board. The rather grayish, older looking appearance has been replaced by darker blacks and more vivid colors. This is likely due to the addition of HDR. A nice level of grain gives the proceedings a welcome filmic appearance. There are no scratches or other anomalies present. This represents a welcome upgrade for fans of the film.
The Dolby Atmos track is a welcome upgrade from the previous Blu-ray. Increased depth is immediately in evidence. All speakers are in play during the countless action scenes. James Newton Howard’s score floods the front and rear channels. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout. The track is devoid of crackles, pops, or any other anomalies.
English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras have been ported over from previous releases:
- Audio Commentary with Director Andrew Davis and Actor Tommy Lee Jones
- Introduction by Andrew Davis and Harrison Ford (HD, 1:52)
- The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase (HD, 28:21)
- On the Run with The Fugitive (HD, 23:06)
- Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck (HD, 8:55)
- Trailer (HD, 2:02)
- Wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) escapes from the law in an attempt to find her killer and clear his name
- Pursuing him is a team of U
- marshals led by Deputy Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), a determined detective who will not rest until Richard is captured
- As Richard leads the team through a series of intricate chases, he discovers the secrets behind his wife's death and struggles to expose the killer before it is too late