30 years ago, the running came to an end. Again. This time, on the silver screen, not the TV one. It was Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars) vs. Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black, No Country for Old Men). The search for the one-armed man, the train crash, the chase. The Fugitive (1993). Newly restored by Warner Brothers and supervised by director Andrew Davies (Holes, Under Siege), The Fugitive is coming home in 4K UHD.
It’s been a tough year for WB releases. Their WB100 initiative has been largely feature-less with terrible key art, and they’ve begun to release their 4K discs and 2K Blu-ray packs separately instead of in combo packs. Unfortunately, that second change seems to be the industry standard moving forward, and it holds here, but — shout it from the rooftops — they put extras in this release. They’re great, even if they aren’t new.
The Fugitive still feels of our moment. The key to its mystery has only aged better in the wake of the opioid epidemic, and its portrayal of the police as reckless, willfully inept, and vindictive still hits like a solid right hook. Tommy Lee Jones’s refusal to de-escalate with any convict in the film until Ford’s earnest search for justice forces him to is particularly frightening today. It’s also a masterclass in screen presence. When Harrison Ford shaves his glorious beard, Dr. Richard Kimble, who has been living life asleep, awakens a movie star, and we love him for it.
“Well shit Sherrif, I’d hate for that to happen, so I guess I’ll have to take over your investigation.”
The film looks excellent in 4K UHD, the night-time train wreck looking particularly strong compared to the gray mush of modern movie nights. Jones’s red sweater vest pops with the rest of the vibrant colors, and everything looks crisp and clean. It’s an impeccable scan. Here’s what else you’re getting:
The film comes in a WB100 slipcase with a single disc, no additional Blu-ray. It does include a Movies Anywhere digital code. Given that it’s a new restoration, the blue-tinted box might cause one to worry that the film will have a new color grade, but no worry, the so-so box art is as far as it goes. Ultimately, while previous releases based on the poster make for better shelf items, the new design gives more room to Tommy Lee Jones, so it’s fine. He did win the Oscar after all.
The menu keeps the spare WB 100 UI good “resume” feature but replaces the previous release’s photoshopped monstrosities with a still from the film. Thank god.
All of the extras are archival, collecting the special features produced for the special edition DVD, 2006 Blu-ray release, and 20th-anniversary release. The only special feature not carried over is the TV Pilot for the reboot in 2000. Seeing something new would have been nice, but we take what we can get here.
- Introduction by Director Andrew Davis, Harrison Ford, and Tommy Lee Jones – 1 min 52 sec
- Andrew Davis calls Tommy Lee Jones from what appears to be the screening room he’ll be recording the commentary from. Harrison Ford’s comments are cut in from a separate talking-head interview.
- Feature Commentary with Director Andrew Davies and Tommy Lee Jones
- Jones is literally phoning in here, as you can see in the introduction for the film. He rarely speaks up during the commentary but every comment is gold.
- Topics included the studio’s negative feelings towards Ford’s beard, on-set improvisation, poorly aged names for ethnicities, and Jones praising camera operator Steve St. John (Matrix: Reloaded, Mission Impossible III), with whom he collaborated frequently.
- The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase – 28 min 21 sec
- A retrospective documentary. Topics include parallels to Les Misérables, Joey Pantoliano’s (The Matrix, Memento) fight to stay alive for the sequel, and cutting out the love interest storyline.
- On the Run with The Fugitive – 23 min 6 sec
- A talking-heads behind-the-scenes documentary. Topics include the development of the film, Harrison Ford’s active hand in the story, and shooting on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.
- Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck – 8 min 55 sec
- A talking-heads behind-the-scenes documentary on the train wreck sequence. Topics include budget, doing it practical, and Davis’s love of train crashes in movies as a child.
- Theatrical Trailer
- Built around the henhouse speech from the film, it’s still an all-timer.
The Fugitive is one of the great American thrillers, and an essential for any cinephile. This is the best edition available.
For more information, head to the official Warner Bros. Pictures The Fugitive webpage.