Even people who have never seen it — shame on you — tend to know what it’s about: Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford, never better) is accused of murdering his wife. The cops don’t believe his story of the real culprit being a one-armed man … and neither does the jury that sentences him to prison. When Kimble is given the opportunity to escape, he does, and as he runs, runs and runs to clear his name, Lt. Gerard of the U.S. Marshals (Tommy Lee Jones, in his Oscar-winning role) is right behind him, nipping at heels.
So how’s it hold up? Remarkably. In fact, perfectly. I rank The Fugitive alongside Die Hard as the genre’s finest offerings (incidentally, the two share a screenwriter in Jeb Stuart); it’s a picture that just plain works, where all its parts clinked into place as they were supposed to — with precision, but without a hitch.
A new retrospective piece on the Blu-ray reveals the set was far from tidy; the script was being written and rewritten as they went along. Lucky for director Andrew Davis (who has yet to approach greatness in his follow-up projects), however, it is what it is: still crazy-good after all these years.
If you like The Fugitive, try its Ford-less sequel, 1998’s U.S. Marshals, which isn’t bad. It’s a more satisfying use of your time than the 2000 Fugitive TV reboot. That series’ pilot — essentially a condensed version of the movie, but with Tim Daly and Mykelti Williamson subbing for Ford and Jones — appears as an extra on this Blu-ray, and it’s as awful as its source material is excellent. —Rod Lott