Like a broken clock or a blind squirrel, the huge, groaning Hollywood blockbuster apparatus occasionally gets something right: a movie where all the parts work magnificently. The Fugitive (1993, 2 hrs., 10 mins., PG-13) is one of those films. While director Andrew Davis never came close to reproducing this level of filmmaking in his subsequent work (which includes 2002’s Collateral Damage), his high-adrenaline wrong-man thriller is a perfect study in how to make a big-budget action flick that stays grounded in character without ever letting up on the throttle. Now, 20 years after its initial release, the film is back with a special-edition Blu-ray.
Harrison Ford has always been more of a physical actor than an emotional one, but here he gives one of his career-best turns as Richard Kimble, a doctor framed for the murder of his wife, which was actually perpetrated by a one-armed man. The Fugitive is really two chase films in one: Kimble’s escape attempt is twinned with the manhunt to catch him, led by Tommy Lee Jones’ no-nonsense, motormouthed federal agent, a Javert propelled not by personal grievance but by an unwavering hyper-professionalism. The performance is a distillation of Jones’ archetype, and he won an Oscar for his work. There’s something deeply gripping about his and Ford’s Tom and Jerry routine, a cat-and-mouse game in which you’re rooting for both sides even as they’re at odds with each other. The Blu-ray’s EXTRAS include a new half-hour documentary — with interviews from the cast’s big guns — that is enjoyable if not revelatory. No matter. The film itself is still a locomotive wonder. Once it starts running, the audience can’t help but give chase. A-