“The Fugitive” 4K UHD Review

The Fugitive

The Fugitive

Rated PG-13 – for a murder and other action sequences in an adventure setting.
Director: Andrew Davis
Starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck, L. Scott Caldwell, Julianne Moore
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: August 6, 1993
4K UHD Release Date: November 21, 2023 (Amazon.com)

Plot Summary

Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt led by a seasoned U.S. Marshal. (from IMDB.com)

Film Review

It’s kind of crazy to realize it’s been 30 years now since the release of the modern classic, The Fugitive. Based on the 1960’s TV series by the same name, The Fugitive boasted box office star Harrison Ford in the title role of Dr. Richard Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones as Sam Gerard, the U.S. Marshal pursuing Kimble. In fact, Jones’ performance was so dang good in this movie that he took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. To date, this is still probably Jones’ best – if not at least most memorable – performance.

Right off the bat, I have to say Harrison Ford is often overlooked for how great his performance was in this movie, too. He actually gave a pretty nuanced performance as a lot of times he’s shown acting and reacting without any dialog at all. It’s one of his most emotional performances, too; he definitely put more into this film than you might expect for a movie based on a 60’s television show.

Director Andrew Davis (who would go on to give us Chain Reaction and Holes, among a few others) gives us an expert thriller that offers a hint of humor from Jones and his Marshals team, and plenty of tension throughout. The recapped murder sequences are spread through the course of the film, and they’re pretty intense, if not altogether disturbing. Sela Ward deserves props for giving us a memorable and impactful dying performance. But thanks to Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck, and the rest of Sam Gerard’s faithfuls, there’s an odd element of fun to the movie, too. You love these guys and this team, and ironically you find yourself rooting for them, even though they’re chasing our wrongly accused hero. (It’s no wonder at all that this movie earned a spin-off film five years later centered entirely on Gerard and his team, aptly – if not uninterestingly – titled U.S. Marshals.) There are a few standout action sequences, too, specifically the iconic train accident, the dramatic sewer chase, and a slam-bang finish that moves from a rooftop to a spooky laundry floor in a Chicago high rise. Davis keeps the movie interesting from start to finish, without a lull or any drag.

Honestly, I’ve seen The Fugitive many times since the late 90’s and it’s always a thrilling watch. In fact, I’d say it’s basically the perfect action / thriller / murder mystery, save for there being too much language and bloody imagery throughout. There is at least 15 uses of the “S” word and quite a few uses of God and Jesus’ names in vain, as well as plenty of other cuss words. That brutal murder imagery aside, we briefly see two quick shots of a surgery in progress, without too much detail, but we see the bloody open area on the patient. We also briefly see a bloody wound on Kimble’s side as he stitches himself up. There is plenty of other action violence, too, which feels gritty in this particular movie due to its overall serious tone. If they could have at least dropped the blasphemy and toned down the language, again, it would have been closer to being a perfect movie.

This 4K release is the first time The Fugitive has been given a proper high definition treatment. It’s the clearest it’s ever been – even if not crystal clear because of the grain of the film itself – but the color pops for the first time ever (that green river!). This 4K resolution is excellent and really breathes new life into a movie now three decades old. If you’re a fan of The Fugitive – and have 4K viewing capabilities – you will want this release for sure. It’s a must.

Even at 30 years old now, The Fugitive still stands as a huge highlight in both Ford and Jones’ storied careers — which says a lot especially for an actor who has given us such iconic characters as Han Solo and Indiana Jones. If it weren’t for Jurassic Park releasing the same year, The Fugitive would easily be the best of 1993. If you like any of the actors, or the murder mystery/thriller genre, The Fugitive is almost as good as it gets.

– John DiBiase (reviewed: 11/22/23)

4K UHD Special Features

The Fugitive Ultra HD Blu-ray disc contains the following previously released special features:

  • Introduction by Andrew Davis and Harrison Ford
  • Commentary by Andrew Davis and Tommy Lee Jones
  • “The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase”
  • “On the Run with the Fugitive”
  • “Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck”
  • Theatrical Trailer


Parental Guide: Content Summary

. Sex/Nudity: We see Women in bikinis at a banquet as they strut a runway; We briefly see Richard stitching up a wound on his own side, and the side of his bare butt is visible; Richard dreams of being in bed with Helen. We just see her wrapped in a robe as his hands come into frame touching her face. We then see her lying down and he comes into frame on top of her and kisses her. This then cuts to him giving her mouth-to-mouth and cradling her dead body the night of the murder; We see Helen in a nightie/slip prepping for bed.
. Vulgarity/Language: 15 “S” words, 1 “Oh J-sus,” 5 “J-sus,” 2 “G-d,” 1 “Oh G-d,” 17 “h*ll,” 4 “a” word, 3 “d*mn,” 2 “S.O.B”, 2 “Oh my G-d”
. Alcohol/Drugs: As a man is being arrested, the cop makes a comment about the crook “stringing out 12 year old girls.” He then tells an older woman who is the mother of this man that her son is a drug dealer; Kimble is shown drinking a beer in a bar.
. Blood/Gore: Richard’s shirt has blood on it; We get a brief look at a very bloody, somewhat obscure abdomen during an operation; Helen has blood on her mouth and ear in flashback; Helen has blood on her neck and mouth as she lies dying, trying to make a phone call for help; We see blood on a man’s prison uniform during the bus accident scene. After the bus rolls off the road, we see blood on a couple people’s faces. A man holds his side with blood on his clothes; Copeland has some blood on his cheek; Richard has blood on his forehead and on his clothed side; A guard has dried blood on his head; Richard pulls his prison uniform down and exposes his very bloody wound. We then briefly see him stitching it up himself; There’s some blood on a train victim’s face; We see blood on Helen as Richard dreams of the night of the murder; We briefly see a random hospital patient being wheeled into a room on a gurney with blood on his clothes; While not bloody or gory, we see a prosthetics lab room with many fake limbs hanging on display (A man missing part of his arm is shown working with a technician to fit him with a prosthetic); We see a boy in the hospital with scrapes on his face and chest; A young boy lying on a gurney in pain has a pink/discolored bare chest; There is some blood on hospital scrubs during a flashback of a surgery in progress. We briefly see the bloody area of the body as it’s being operated on; Richard has blood on his mouth after a fight. A murdered cop has blood on his shirt where he was shot in a couple places. A bad guy has blood on his head, mouth and coat; Richard has blood on his hands and more on his lower lip; A villain has blood all over his head, mouth and shirt; There’s more noticeable blood on Richard’s head.
. Violence: During the movie’s opening, we see a black and white slow motion flashback of a woman struggling with a man and being thrown around. They struggle with gun. It goes off and we see her face reacting to it in shock. We then see photos of her lying dead in black-and-white negative imagery; We see a flashback of Helen being thrown into the wall; A man crushes a woman’s skull with a spherical paper weight or statue. We see her dying as she places a call; On a prison transport bus, a prisoner convulses and foams at the mouth. He then stabs a guard with a pen and is then shot with a shotgun. We see the driver accidentally shot from behind; The prison bus rolls down a hill; A train barrels towards the bus and collides with it as Richard jumps off. A train car disconnects and slides towards him as he runs away. There’s an even bigger train crash afterwards; Gerard slips and slides in the rushing sewer water, dropping his gun. Kimble picks it up and points it at Gerard. He then runs away; We see Gerard pull out a hidden gun and he corners Kimble at the edge of a dam. Kimble ends up jumping from the dam into the rough waters below; Richard dreams of making love to his wife. This then cuts to him giving her mouth-to-mouth and cradling her dead body the night of the murder. We then see him struggling with the murderer as he pulls the man’s fake arm out of his sleeve. The man then falls down the stairs as Richard falls down at the top of the stairs; The Marshal team raid a house. Copeland grabs Newman and holds a gun on him. Gerard pops around the corner and shoots Copeland. Hearing the shot, Biggs kicks the door open; Gerard looks at a photo of Helen lying dead on the floor, but the image is distorted because it’s hung on a window and we’re looking at it at an angle; In another flashback, a man tackles Helen. Kimble jumps the one armed man; We see a bunch of kids in the hospital after an unseen bus accident; Gerard chases Kimble through a prison and shoots at the bulletproof glass exit doors as Kimble gets his foot stuck in the doors as they’re closing and falls over; Richard kicks out a window to break into a house; Richard has flashbacks to struggling with the one-armed-man again; A bad guy shoots a cop, killing him. He and Kimble fight over a gun. Kimble cuffs the bad guy to a pole on a subway and hits the man’s head into the metal door; The villain breaks a chair over Richard’s back and they push and fight and punch each other. The villain is knocked down a flight of stairs; A police helicopter shoots at Richard who takes cover; Richard punches the villain and tackles him onto a rooftop skylight. They then crash through it and onto (and into) an elevator; One of the Marshals is hit in face with a large steel beam; Richard hits the villain with a pipe several times to prevent him from shooting someone.

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