In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “As fun as The Fugitive is, there’s no real substance beneath its thrill ride style.”
“So he showed up not dead yet. Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don’t ever argue with the big dog, because the big dog is always right.”
It’s been a long, long time since the name Harrison Ford has been able to sell a movie to a wide audience. Even updates of Indiana Jones and Star Wars are more about the franchises and less about the bloke starring in them. But in the early 90s, before he was some old crank who slept walked through cookie cutter crap, he was a middle aged almost-crank, who put in some effort when starring in cookie cutter mediocrity, like The Fugitive.
One night, doctor Rickard Kimble (Harrison Ford) comes home to find his wife being attacked and killed by a one armed man. They fight, but the killer gets away and Kimble is tried and convicted for the murder. Being transported in a prison bus, another inmate shivs a guard and the ensuing chaos causes an accident the gives Kimble the chance to run. Hot on his tail, is Deputy US Marshall, Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones).
Instead of running, Kimble is determined to use his freedom to prove his innocence. The only problem, Gerard is the best in the business at tracking down fugitives, and he’s never far from Kimble’s heels, no matter how quick Kimble’s thinking may be. Gerard doesn’t care if Kimble is guilty or innocent of killing his wife. All he knows is, Kimble was convicted of the crime, and it’s his job to bring him to justice.
The world certainly was a different place in 1993. A world where The Fugitive was the kind of movie that could get nominated for seven Oscars, including a Best Supporting Actor win for Jones. What’s up with that? The Fugitive is a perfectly fun thriller, with great twists and turns, several nice actions et pieces and well executed cat and mouse tension. But it’s not the kind of thing that should be talked about at Oscar time. It’s the kind of movie that you stumble across on telly, and end up watching it, whether you intended to or not.
But I guess, the fact that I has never actually seen this 20+ year old movie, but knew the story well enough, and was aware of several key scenes and lines of dialogue, says something about the impact of The Fugitive on pop culture. And maybe it’s a little snooty to think that something being supremely entertaining isn’t enough to warrant awards recognition. But as fun as The Fugitive is, there’s no real substance beneath its thrill ride style.