November 19, 2023

THE FUGITIVE (4K): Whatever Happened to Andrew Davis?

THE FUGITIVE 30th Anniversary Edition (4K UHD)
1993 / 130 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😻

Hey, whatever happened to Andrew Davis, anyway? This was the guy who managed to direct a good Chuck Norris movie (Code of Silence) and followed it with the only Steven Seagal vehicle anyone still cares about (Under Siege). Then there’s The Fugitive.

Not only one of the best movies of 1993, The Fugitive still ranks among the best thrillers of the entire decade and arguably one of the few times that an adaptation of a legendary TV show transcended its origins to become a classic unto itself. 30 years later, I’d be willing to wager that when most people think of The Fugitive, it’s the movie that comes to mind (and probably very fondly).

Not that Davis was emerging as some sort of action auteur. He’s always had help from strong casts and screenplays that paid special attention to supporting characters. Not only does The Fugitive feature career-best performances by Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (who won an Oscar), the other characters are engaging…and often pretty amusing. 

"Sorry, we don't validate parking here."
But it was Davis' acute sense of pacing, as well as a knack for putting together thrilling (and plausible) action sequences, that briefly had me paying more attention to him as a director. Alas, The Fugitive ended up being the high point of his career. Not counting a lone foray into family films (his agreeable adaptation of the best-selling YA book, Holes), he’s directed nothing noteworthy or memorable since. In fact, Davis hasn’t even done a feature film in nearly 20 years. What a waste.

But at least he has this one, which nobody can take away. I still believe that, in lesser hands, The Fugitive wouldn’t be considered a modern classic. The film remains a smart, nail-biting thriller that’s always worth revisiting from time to time. Ironically, the only aspect that hasn’t aged very well involves the iconic train wreck that sets the fugitive hunt in motion. While Davis & company destroyed an actual train and bus for the sequence, the special effects depicting Richard Kimble (Ford) leaping to safety just before impact are pretty wonky, exacerbated by this 4K restoration.

Speaking of which, the overall picture and sound quality of the 4K transfer is excellent and an improvement over previous Blu-rays. The disc also features two audio options…a 5.1 DTS-HD version and, more significantly, a new Dolby Atmos track. Elsewhere, this 30th Anniversary edition includes a solid batch of vintage bonus features (though I sure would've loved an update on what Andrew Davis has been up to lately).


INTRODUCTION - By director Andrew Davis, actors Harrison Ford & Tommy Lee Jones. Davis is on the phone with Jones, while Ford’s appearance looks to be from a separate interview.

FEATURETTES - The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase; Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck; On the Run with The Fugitive.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Andrew Davis and actor Tommy Lee Jones.



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