The Fugitive: Special Edition
Action movies don't get much better than this. The Oscar-nominated big screen version of Roy Huggins' "The Fugitive," one of television's most popular series, lives up to the show's reputation and then some. Not only does it have the requisite great chase sequences, close calls, one-armed man, falsely accused hero, and doggedly persistent lawman, but the acting is top-notch, the story is solid, and the direction never lets up. Square-jawed hero Harrison Ford stars as Dr. Richard Kimble, putting his trademark intensity to work as a Chicago surgeon wrongly convicted for murdering his wife (Sela Ward). Sentenced to die by lethal injection, Kimble is on his way to prison when his fellow convicts stage an escape attempt that leads to a spectacular collision between their bus and a freight train one of the best action sequences ever filmed. Kimble escapes into the woods and heads back to Chicago, determined to track down his wife's real killer, the mysterious one-armed man (Andreas Katsulas). Narrowly evading pursuit by U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones, in an Oscar-winning performance) time and again, Kimble soon realizes that there's even more to his wife's death than meets the eye. All the while, Andrew Davis's able direction keeps the suspense level high and the story fast-paced, while making time for moments of humor and humanity between Gerard and his crew, between Kimble and the people he encounters, between Kimble and Gerard. And it all works because the characters are worth caring about. Ford has a lock on the audience's sympathy from the moment the police accuse him of murdering his wife; his agony and frustration are almost palpable. And Jones, as the wily, tenacious Gerard, is a man who wants to do his job and do it right, something most people can understand and admire. Their relationship is the core of the film, and their tense game of cat and mouse is impossible not to see through to the end. Warner Home Video gives The Fugitive a top-notch treatment on its special edition DVD, which definitely trumps the prior release from 1997. Gone is that disc's alternate full-screen version of the film (a widescreen version was also available); in its place is a crisp new digital anamorphic transfer that looks as good as when the movie first hit theaters. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is stellar as well, and added to the special edition are a slew of brand-new extras. An odd little introduction featuring video clips of Jones (via phone) and Davis recording their commentary, intercut with footage of a spring 2001 interview with Ford, leads the list, which gets better further on. Two engaging featurettes "Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck" and "On the Run with The Fugitive" offer a combined 30 minutes' worth of behind-the-scenes footage and new and old interviews with Davis, Ford, Jones, the film's producers, and other crew members. Davis offers even more insight into the making of the film in his commentary with Jones (who doesn't have much to say) he sums up the movie by saying it's "really a chase movie with a lot of nuance and heart." Other extras include the original trailer, cast and crew bios, and an awards section. Snap-case.