There are some actors who I think are absolutely fascinating to watch, even if the rest of the movie is beyond horrible. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones both fall into that category. But fortunately for us, The Fugitive is not a bad movie at all. In fact, it’s a really, really good one, and the fact that Ford and Jones are in it makes it that much better.
Ford plays Richard Kimble, a doctor who’s been falsely convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his wife. When his fellow prisoners stage an escape from their police bus, Kimble goes on the run in an effort to prove his innocence. Jones plays Samuel Gerard, the U.S. Marshal hell-bent on bringing Kimble in.
What makes this movie so interesting is that while the two main characters have entirely opposing goals, they’re both essentially doing the right thing. As the audience we root for Kimble to solve the puzzle of his wife’s death, but at the same time it’s hard not to sympathize with Gerard for wanting to stop him.
Of course, the movie’s breakneck pace and well-done action setpieces don’t hurt its appeal either. While you may have to mildly suspend your disbelief when, early in the movie, Ford leaps from the side of an overturned bus just as a speeding train crashes into it, The Fugitive is entertaining throughout and never descends into the outright absurdity that’s present in so many action movies these days.
Jones and Ford are helped by a great supporting cast, which includes Julianne Moore and the always-amusing, multi-faceted Joe Pantoliano. The movie’s other characters go a long way toward adding a sense of realism to the story, making it more than just a game of cat and mouse between two larger-than-life figures. As an action movie, and even just as a movie in general, The Fugitive hits all the right beats and makes for a very satisfying two hours.