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HARRISON FORD & TOMMY LEE JONES STAR IN 'THE FUGITIVE'

Harrison Ford lays low in THE FUGITIVE Year: 1993
The coolest scene of this popular and successful, multi Oscar nominated and in one case, Oscar winning big screen adaptation of the classic David Janssen TV-series is when supporting actor champ Tommy Lee Jones is by himself, looking straight ahead but at nothing, really — then cutting to where Harrison Ford's title character is seeking refuge.

Tommy Lee Jones, practically a veteran actor who hadn't reached mainstream success, is downright fantastic: he deserved the A-list promotion but should not have won the award far more deserving of Ralph Fiennes, who turned in a more difficult and less natural performance as a loathsome Nazi's Nazi in SCHINDLER'S LIST, and his was actually a Supporting Role, and not one of two equal co-leads: Which is what Ford and Jones are... In fact, the latter has even more scenes, overall input, and, obviously, dialogue...

The Fugitive Rates: ***1/2
Meaning little to Harrison Ford, doing some of what made his legendarily pursued-heroes Han Solo and Indiana Jones so great: Running in a human manner with an off-beat cadence that's even a tad clumsy: as if he could be caught at any moment while providing a built-in element of suspense — especially here, where running and hiding are pretty much everything: Unless you're searching and sweating like Jones's U.S. Marshall, Samuel Gerard, who wields the same type of perfectly cast Solo/Jones sarcasm that keeps the exposition rolling...

Following the initial prison bus escape leading to perhaps the greatest train derailment scene in cinematic history, it might have been tough living up to this early a peak (of peaks) — after all, it takes more than machines to carry a 130-minute motion picture...

Jones in a rare moment of surrounding silence
So it's both annoying and distracting when Gerard's forced comic-relief cohorts chime in every time "The Big Dog" speaks; making Ford's once-dignified surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble (with a pretty wife killed by a one-armed man) the real partner here: and that's with only one quick scene shared between them...

You can thank director (and OVER THE EDGE cinematographer) Andrew Davis for that: making THE FUGITIVE — after a rushed and melodramatic interrogation-to-courtroom prologue — the kind of action movie that flows like a glorious epic adventure, updating a simple story with precision, style and substance, and, whether influenced or not, Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS borrowed similar above-ground/sky-high, slow-pan establishing shots. Proving very big things can have comparatively small, humble beginnings.
Harrison Ford on the quick jog before shaving his Ewok beard and moving further along as THE FUGITIVE
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