FUGITIVE, THE: DVD
Prominent heart surgeon Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is wrongly sentenced to death for the brutal murder of his wife Helen (Sela Ward). When the prison bus overturns on route to his execution, he makes a lucky escape and goes on the run. Kimble’s hunt for his wife’s killer – which leads him to a former colleague (Joeroen Krabbe), an experimental drug, and a mysterious one-armed man (Andreas Katsulas). US Marshall Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) sets off to hunt down the elusive fugitive.
Reviewed by Shannon J. Harvey:
Nominated for seven Oscars in 1993 and netting a Best Supporting Actor gong for Tommy Lee Jones, this swiftly paced who-dunnit is about as good as Hollywood action-thrillers get.
The Fugitive’s success can be put down to Kimble and Gerard being such wonderful adversaries. Jones basically made his career playing this lovable hangdog lawman. He’s so addicted to the chase that when Kimble swan dives over a gigantic dam and his officers urge him to give up because Kimble is undoubtedly dead, Gerard simply barks, “That ought to make him easy to catch.” As for the fugitive who’s as driven for the truth as Gerard is to catch him, Harrison Ford brings a quietly intelligent, physically robust persona to the role embodied by David Janssen 26 years ago - the final episode of which was the highest rating show in television history until Dallas revealed Who Shot J.R.? 13 years later.
This newly done DVD does The Fugitive justice with just enough special features to reveal the secrets of its success. In the featurette On the Run, for instance, director Andrew Davis and writer Stuart Jeb discuss how it took five years, nine writers, 25 screenplays and, finally, the clout of Harrison Ford to get the green light. In fact Ford brought the director on board after seeing Davis’s Under Siege at the movies. Ford admits, “We were essentially making it up as we went along,” though you get the feeling he was taking the reigns himself, suggesting ideas during the shooting to make things quicker or easier. Jones was much more relaxed and ad-libbed much of his lines – not a bad way to win an Oscar. The second featurette is Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck, a more technical look at the thrilling live-action derailment. And yes, that is Ford doing his own stunts.
Curiously, the DVD lacks any input from co-writer David Twohy, who also lent his ink to Waterworld, The Arrival and G.I. Jane before writing-directing Pitch Black in Coober Pedy. DTS sound would also have been a nice bonus to the heart-pounding action.
The Fugitive loses a little momentum in the last quarter as the bad guys are slowly revealed. But you know a film is doing well when it can fit a murder, a police investigation, a wrongful conviction and the opening credits into a taut prologue. It all combines to make this top notch DVD well worth the investment.
Published August 1, 2002
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FUGITIVE, THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Joeroen Krabbe, Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck, Tom Wood, Sela Ward, Julianne Moore, Andreas Katsulas.
DIRECTOR: Andrew Davis
RUNNING TIME: 12 7 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by director Andrew Davis & Tommy Lee Jones, theatrical trailer, new digital transfer, introduction by the film's stars & director, two featurettes: Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck & On the Run,
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: Agust 5, 2002