by Theo Sloan
February 22, 2021
The Fugitive is a 1993 action thriller film starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, directed by Andrew Davis, and written by Jeb Stuart and David Twohy. I saw this movie recently, and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. But what makes this movie both so effortlessly fun to watch and indescribably tense? I will explore that in this review.
First, a brief summary of the plot: Dr. Richard Kimble, played by Harrison Ford, is falsely accused of murdering his wife, wrongly convicted, and sentenced to death. However, on his way from the police station to death row, the bus he’s in crashes. He escapes the crash and attempts to track down the real murderer and prove his own innocence, all while being tracked down by Samuel Gerard, a seasoned U.S. Marshal played by Tommy Lee Jones.
The first things that come to my mind when I think about this movie are the incredible performances given by Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. This entire movie is an intense battle of wills between Kimble and Gerard, and Ford’s desperate, broken performance clashes brilliantly with Jones’ intense, brutal performance as Marshal Gerard. This conflict of personalities and motivations generates a lot of natural tension on its own. And the viewer feels torn because it’s very easy to see and understand both sides of the conflict. Ford and Jones are both tremendously entertaining to watch. Besides the performances, the other major contributor to the tension is the brutal, gritty, fantastic action. Now, I won’t lie and pretend that I’m particularly difficult to please when it comes to action, but I do think I can tell the difference between purely entertaining action and action that has substance. The Fugitive’s action scenes decisively fall into the latter category, which can be subdivided into two further distinct categories: chase scenes and gritty bursts of hand-to-hand combat. I find the chase scenes to be more tense than the action scenes because of how long and drawn out they are, but some of the grittier, more conventional action sequences are very effective too. I also really like the ending — it’s open-ended but very satisfying, leaving the audience with a fairly good idea as to what will happen next.
The Fugitive is a truly fantastic action thriller that will have you digging your nails into the palms of your hands for the entirety of its runtime. Normally, I’d offer some critiques as well as just praise, but this movie offers a very complete experience — it is so satisfying in so many ways that any critiques I could make are overshadowed. I’d say it’s just the right length, and every scene in the movie serves a purpose. This movie perfectly succeeds at being a very fun, mildly thought-provoking thriller, and that’s exactly what it’s trying to be. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s great. If I were to score it, I’d give it around a 9/10.