The Fugitive remains one of the best action-thrillers I’ve seen in many years and easily a standout of TV to screen adaptations. Despite being 130-minutes long, the film flies by and utilizes each minute with little filler. The performances from Ford and Jones are phenomenal even though neither of them shared more than a few minutes of screen time together.
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 130 min. – $19.98 | September 3, 2013
Directed by: Andrew Davis
Writer(s): Roy Huggins (characters); David Twohy (story), Jeb Stuart and David Twohy (screenplay)
Cast: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Joe Pantoliano, Andreas Katshlas, Jerden Krabbe, Julianne Moore
Theatrical Release Date: August 6, 1993
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, 2000 TV Series Pilot Episode, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 45.1 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Kimble: “I didn’t kill my wife!”
Gerard: “I don’t care.”
Plot Outline: Dr. Richard Kimble (HARRISON FORD) is wrongfully convicted of killing his wife (SELA WARD). After a spectacular bus-train crash, Kimble manages to escape and goes on the run as a fugitive with plans to clear his name and find his wife’s killer. On the hunt is tenacious Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (TOMMY LEE JONES) as he, and his team (including JOE PANTOLIANO) tracks Kimble through Chicago.
Quick Hit Review: 20 years later, The Fugitive remains to be one of the best action-thrillers of the 20th century providing two incredible performances from Harrison Ford and Academy Award-winner Tommy Lee Jones, an amazing score from James Newton Howard (which I recommend buying as its well worth listening on its own) and clear-cut direction by Andrew Davis. It’s also a rare gem of a film that, from all interviews, did not have a completed script relying somewhat on improv (for the lack of a better word) on set.
Having seen The Fugitive now at least a dozen times, the film remains one of the best and a film that has stood the test of time and never gets old. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones are great despite sharing only a couple of minutes of screen time together and the supporting cast is top notch from Joe Pantoliano to smaller roles by Julianne Moore (whose role was supposed to be much more), Jane Lynch and Daniel Roebuck whom fans of “Matlock” will recognize. It’s an amazing film that is well worth watching and a testament to the magic of filmmaking.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
Introduction by Andrew Davis and Harrison Ford (1:52; SD) is a short intro recorded in March 2001 where, via phone, David, Ford and Jones chat about the special edition DVD release.
Audio Commentary – Director Andrew Davis, who does most of the talking, and Star Tommy Lee Jones sit down for a low-key commentary track recounting memories of working on the film. Admittedly, this is not the liveliest track and Davis spends the bulk time with “This is” so and so.
The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase (28:21; HD) – This is a new retrospective featurette and has new interviews with Davis, Ford, Jones and others – including Joe Pantoliano and Jane Lynch – as they discuss the film now 30 years later and even touch upon casting Julianne Moore’s tiny role which was drastically cut down. It’s a well done, providing some behind-the-scenes footage, and welcome addition to this Blu-ray release. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
On the Run with The Fugitive (23:06; SD) is a half-decent archive featurette with interviews by the cast and crew. It’s nothing profound, but for an old feature, I think made for the special edition DVD, it’s not bad.
Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck (8:55; SD) – The featurette breaks down how the sequence was filmed.
“The Fugitive” TV Pilot (45:28; HD) – Available for the first time on any medium, the 2000 TV series pilot, starring Tim Daly and Mykelti Williamson can be seen. It’s not bad as a show, though a bit corny at times, and a shame it didn’t get better ratings. Hopefully Warner, through their On Demand service, will make the entire series available on DVD.
Theatrical Trailer (2:02; HD)
VIDEO – 4.0/5
The Fugitive makes its second appearance on Blu-ray following a semi-disastrous release back in 2006 with a drab and lifeless transfer. I can tell you that this is a new master now presented with a MPEG-4 AVC codec (previous one was MPEG-2) and, as brought up on a forum, the goof of a crew person’s head in one shot has now been digitally removed. As for the picture itself, I can’t say it’s an amazing transfer or anything but it’s still a step above the previous release. Detail levels look good and although there is a fine amount of noise, it’s nothing overbearing or distracting. I didn’t notice any signs of edge enhancements while the video looks pretty clean with no obvious dust marks or scratches.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
Like the video, the audio has also gotten an upgrade. The original release received a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track while this new is up to a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track. As with the picture, though, there is some limitation with what can be done. Dialogue levels are decent yet not boisterous but James Newton Howard’s wonderful score shines through each channel quite nicely. Where the track really comes to life is the various action sequences, especially the bus-train crash which helps show off the front and rear speakers while the LFE channel clicks on to provide some extra depth.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, The Fugitive remains one of the best action-thrillers I’ve seen in many years and easily a standout of TV to screen adaptations. Despite being 130-minutes long, the film flies by and utilizes each minute with little filler. The performances from Ford and Jones are phenomenal even though neither of them shared more than a few minutes of screen time together. This 20th anniversary Blu-ray offers a great new retrospective featurette but better yet, has an upgrade for both the video and audio transfers making this a worthwhile purchase even if you own the old 2006 BD release…