Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#29 - The Fugitive - 1993

Its Action/Adventure week for me and that means seven new movies in this particular category. I'm looking forward to this week of films but they are a bit more lengthy, all movies with a run time of more than 2 hours. The Con Air version I have is the extended cut so that takes it past the 2 hour mark and makes all seven go longer than 120 minutes. The first film I started with is one of my favorites, The Fugitive. I remember seeing this film when it opened in 1993 at the Highway 39 Drive in Movie Theater right behind my house, ahhhh good times!! Below is my detailed review of this film.

Everyone knows that Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones are the main two stars of this film but what they might now know is that they were not the original actors offered the roles. Dr. Richard Kimble's role was considered for several actors including Michael Douglas, Alec Baldwin, Andy Garcia, and Kevin Costner. For Sam Gerard's role both Gene Hackman and Jon Voight were considered but turned it down. Personally this film would not have been the same without either of these two actors in it, especially Jones since his sarcastic style and dry humor would not have been matched by either Hackman or Voight. I could have seen Michael Douglas in the role of Dr. Richard Kimble yet I still think Ford was an excellent choice! I was surprised to again see Nick Searcy in this movie in a small role as Sheriff Rawlins and also Jane Lynch as Dr. Kathy Wahlund. Its kinda cool to see who starred in some of these older (17 years ago) movies. Needless to say the acting in this film was brilliant and Jones was by far my favorite!

Most everybody knows the story of the Fugitive and its a good one. Dr. Richard Kimble is falsely accused of murdering his wife and after being found guilty of her murder and sentenced to the death penalty he is on board a transport bus that crashes and he escapes to find his wife's real killer. US Marshal Sam Gerard is placed as the lead on the case to find Kimble and a classic cat and mouse chase is on. There are a lot of things about this film that I just loved. The acting was awesome as I mentioned before but the continuous chase between Kimble and Gerard's team, the humor and sarcastic style of Gerard, and Kimble's dedication and cleverness to stay under the radar while investigating his wife's murder is all captured in dramatic fashion with an excellent score behind it and some pretty cool scenery and cityscapes as background settings.

Lets start with the acting. Ford's acting in the first 10 minutes of the film, especially during the interrogation scene was downright amazing! He's a great actor we know this but to actually play someone in shock and do it to that extent was a true testament to his skills. I really felt as though I was watching someone who just witnessed his wife's murder. His demeanor, dazed look, and sheer shock were all in plain view and expressed ever so wonderfully. Gerard was great as well and it was his short quips and comments that made him my favorite. "ok go find the fish that ate him and bring him to me", "would you like to change your bullshit story", "go get me a coffee and a donut with some of those sprinkle things on it" are just a few of the lines I loved. Jones also has a very contagious smile and since he doesn't smile all that often it is so funny to me when he does and you cant help but enjoy it. I remember enjoying several of these type of scenes in Man of the House with him too. Basically these two actors were the main two in the film and they were excellent.

The action/chase scenes in this film are quite cool. The producers even went as far to actually crash a train for that scene and the only part of that scene that was not real was Kimble jumping out of the way of the train. The scene itself was shot in North Carolina and the chase and the dam scenes were also filmed there as well. I knew it looked quite picturesque. The action throughout this film was spaced out perfectly and there were a couple of scenes where it looked as though Kimble was surely caught but he narrowly escaped the police. With a run time of 127 minutes this movie really never lagged or became dull and although that might seem normal for an "action/adventure" flick it is not always the case. From the train wreckage scene to the St Patrick's Day march escape I always felt like Kimble was getting closer and closer to solving the case and finding out who killed his wife.

There were a few flaws that I could have done without mainly speaking of the interrogation scene at the beginning. After realizing some of the questions were hinting to the suggestion of Kimble killing his own wife Kimble becomes agitated and after asking "are you suggesting I killed my wife, I cracked open her skull" one of the officers is heard asking 4 quick questions in a row in the most irritating and pompous manner. "How tall was he?, How much did he weight? What color was his hair? What color were his eyes"? To me personally I cant imagine this happening in a real life situation with a character of Kimble's nature. I just cant see it happening. After investigating this scene it was noted that this scene was actually improved by the characters and although some of the best scenes in movies are due to improvisation this was not one of them. They maybe should have stuck to a more realistic type interrogation scene which showed the officers as more sympathetic at least from the onset rather than their "out to get him" type attitude.

Overall I felt this was a great movie. Very entertaining and filled with action and suspense and even a little humor thanks to Jones. Its hard for me to think that this film was released 17 years ago and it makes me feel quite old. I mean I saw this in high school when I was a sophomore so that means I graduated 15 years ago. WOW, feeling like an old timer! This was a perfect film to start the week off and I would easily give this film an A!

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