Written by: David Twohy
Starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Joe Pantoliano, Andreas Katsulas
Losing the love of one’s life alone could be one of the most devastating experiences in anyone’s time on Earth. It cannot be quantified the amount of pain of losing someone you have dedicated the rest of your life to vanishing from existence. A horrible situation the protagonist of this feature finds himself in only further made worse by him being accused of actually being the killer. Serving as a manhunt for the ages, The Fugitive puts together two incredible actors to tell a tense and entertaining affair.
After returning from a last-minute operation, vascular surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) comes home to find his wife dead at the hands of a one-armed man. Convicted for her murder, a freak accident in transport to prison sees him out on the run trying to clear his name just as the efficient U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) is on the hunt for the fugitive.
Simple in its structure but wildly entertaining in execution from beginning to end, The Fugitive fires on all cylinders. This does not come down to the concept being particularly invigorating but rather how it all comes together to tell an emotional story and a protagonist worth rooting for in an unwavering manner. Kimble’s situation would not be the envy of anyone losing his wife and then being wrongfully accused of the murder. He gets sentenced to lethal injection for it nonetheless. When the bus accident occurs, he has the golden opportunity to prove his innocence but it certainly will not come with any relative level of ease.
The one unbelievable aspect this film possibly features comes in the plausibility of any regular person having the evasive ability of Kimble throughout. Being chased by someone like Gerard certainly makes the act of dodging police while proving his innocence that much more difficult. As we see the story through Gerard’s perspective at times, it’s quite evident this man excels at his job and has caught his fair share of fugitives. He has most likely caught the worst of the worst, which makes it a bit comical Kimble proves to be his most slippery assignment. However, with the level of determination Kimble has to clear his name and shift blame on the real perpetrators sees this film become an exhilarating chase filled to the brim with close calls and shocking revelations.
Much of the fun this film has to offer comes from the duo of Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. Two actors who have proven they can play hardened men, face off as worthy adversaries in this cat and mouse game in the name of justice. Ford provides the typical brash charm he utilizes in all of his roles to maintain the protagonist’s support from the audience while Jones provides his typical spiky demeanor in a role made for him. Jones takes on the seriousness of this character and equally harnesses the sarcasm and banter with the other U.S. Marshals. That along with several iconic lines, including “I don’t care” make it clear why he won his Academy Award for this role. It becomes easy to enjoy both of these characters even as adversaries because they’re both doing the right things within their purview.
The Fugitive runs with no ambiguity through its narrative. From the very beginning, it shows what occurs as the one-armed man kills Kimble’s wife, which makes it clear throughout that the fugitive is certainly innocent of the crimes charged against him. The clarity of their positions allows for a more straightforward story in knowing definitively of Kimble’s innocence, which turns the attention more so on Gerard to figure out what the audience knows and seeing beyond the assignment given to him. Thus the story then becomes a race against the clock of Kimble clearing his name definitively, Gerard finding out the truth or some seriously tragic events occurring, especially when the revelation of the true murderer becomes apparent.
Thrilling in every sense with a very satisfying conclusion, The Fugitive takes its straightforward premise and creates a fantastic viewing experience filled with memorable moments. It allows two incredible actors to have their fun in a race to arrive at the truth of this unfortunate ordeal for Kimble. Once the overall scheme gets revealed it makes for a great statement regarding the medical field and pharmaceuticals that definitely deserved more exploration then and certainly now.