Saturday, February 29, 2020
"The Fugitive" (1993)
But why did this movie grab me so hard when I was in my early teens and never let go? Or maybe the more accurate question would be, what inside me grabbed this movie and wouldn't let go?
A lot of it is Harrison Ford, of course. My word, that man is handsome. As a young teen when I first saw this, I was just starting to get interested in menfolks, and I seem to have kind of skipped that stage where girls get all giggly about "cute boys" and gone straight for the meat-and-potatoes aisle where they stock Real Men. This is probably because I was homeschooled (and didn't have many close girl friends right at that time) AND because my parents raised me on movies with Real Men in them, like John Wayne and Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone and Clint Eastwood.
My parents tended to watch movies WITH us, you see. Our TV was not a babysitter, and we did not have cable or satellite -- our TV got the regular broadcast channels, which we watched very little of, and we had a VCR. My family would rent one movie every Friday to watch together, back when you had to drive to a store to rent a movie, not just click on it with your mouse or remote or phone or whatever. My parents already liked Harrison Ford, and they remembered the '60s TV show The Fugitive that this movie is based on, so they rented this when it first came out. Pretty sure they watched it without us first, since it's rated PG-13, and then they decided my brother and I could handle it, so we all watched it together. And then, the next week, we rented it again. And again. For months. (Back then, a movie would sometimes come to rental stores six or more MONTHS before you could buy it. Be so happy you live today, kids.)
So I probably watched this twenty times in six months. I got very, very well acquainted with it. Now, by that time, I was already a firm fan of escaping-from-prison and wrongful-imprisonment-proved-innocent stories (The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas had been a favorite book of mine for a couple years already by then). Plus, I loved mysteries and detective stories already. So I was absolutely primed to love both sides of the story.
It all starts when Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is accused of killing his wife Helen (Sela Ward).
He escapes prison custody during a marvelous action sequence involving first a bus wreck, then a train wreck. Unlike most train wrecks in movies, which are shot with models, this one used a real train hitting a real bus, which is highly cool.
Once he escapes, Kimble dedicates himself to finding out who really murdered his wife. Meanwhile, a dogged deputy U.S. Marshal named Sammy Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) leads a team in pursuit of Kimble. I also love run-and-chase movies, and this has two chases, Kimble chasing the bad guy and Gerard chasing Kimble.
Anyway. Young teen me loved the story. And loved Harrison Ford. Yes, he was handsome, but he also exuded this niceness that I appreciated right away. Richard Kimble is nice, kind, helpful, and intelligent -- there's no way I wouldn't love him, as he's everything I still look for in a fictional character.
And I loved Tommy Lee Jones and his character too. Though he insists he's tough and uncaring, he's also that mix of nice, kind, helpful, and intelligent that I so value. I might sometimes even find him a teeny bit more attractive than Harrison Ford in this movie, believe it or not.
It's hard to believe this movie is nearly 30 years old. It holds up SO incredibly well. The taut pacing and the smart, banter-filled dialog are especially awesome, and the acting is so enjoyably on point. Ford and Jones are both at the top of their game here, and the few scenes they share just rock my world.
This is my contribution to the Harrison Ford Blogathon hosted this weekend by Sat in Your Lap. Go check out the rest of the entries for more Ford-related goodness!