“I don’t care.” It’s the line that further cemented Tommy Lee Jones’ star power in Hollywood and his knack for playing grumpy, dogged government pawns. Andrew Davis’ The Fugitive finally arrives in stunning 4K Ultra HD with a terrific 4K Blu-ray release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Although no new special features have been added, the new 2160p presentation aided by HDR10 is nothing short of a major upgrade over previous transfers. The one-armed man is still on the loose, and Dr. Richard Kimble will find him with this Highly Recommended release!
“I thought you didn’t care?”
“I don’t. Don’t tell anybody, okay?”
My history with The Fugitive is probably similar to those who grew up in the early-to-mid aughts like I did. It played on TNT so many times that it was hard to imagine any other film playing more on the channel. But every single time I tuned in, I was always drawn to Harrison Ford’s grounded, earthy performance in a movie that’s about as silly as a trashy paperback you buy at the airport. As with many of the films that Ford is in, he tends to lend much more gravitas than the scripts can support. Having him in your movie is like having a secret weapon in the form of one of the biggest Hollywood stars to ever live.
Chicago vascular surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble (Ford) has the ideal life. In addition to a beautiful wife named Helen (Sela Ward), he’s a well-respected individual making a huge impact on people’s lives daily. Tragedy strikes, though, when a one-armed assailant sneaks into Dr. Kimble’s home, murders his wife, and frames the good doctor for her murder. Kimble is soon convicted and sentenced to death, but on the way to death row, a group of inmates revolt against the guards. This sends their bus careening into a ravine, landing right on top of train tracks. Kimble escapes before an oncoming train hits the bus and derails, resulting in a huge explosion. Now, Deputy US Marshal Sam Gerard (Jones) is on the case and will track down Kimble if it’s the last thing he does.
Once again, I was pretty taken on this umpteenth rewatch with just how silly the entire film is. I know it’s based upon a TV series that was also very pulpy and fun, but I kept forgetting just how much the film threatens to derail itself because of all the incredible incidents within. That’s why Harrison Ford is the anchor to this whole thing. With Tommy Lee Jones and his dry, ornery line delivery chewing through everything, I’m comfortable with stating that without Ford there isn’t a moral center or reason to get invested emotionally.
Andrew Davis’ direction proves to be a good fit for the material, with that opening sequence of flashbacks and flash-forwards dropping the audience right into the action without much warning. The film enters violently and exits peacefully, playing in contrast to many thrillers of the same era. And all those practical stunts? My lord, that train sequence is really a marvel, especially since you can only imagine it being recreated today totally with digital effects. Coupled with David Twohy’s excessively pulpy script, the domino effect caused by such a brash, explosive incident only makes your heart beat faster.
This is taut, efficient filmmaking of the highest order. Funded by Hollywood and sporting a clear-eyed thirst for thrills, The Fugitive will never escape the hearts and minds of American audiences. And hell, it’s not out of the ordinary to think of a pharmaceutical company as being run by sociopathic capitalists.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Fugitive can’t escape your home’s 4K Blu-ray player, as it arrives here with a one-disc (BD-100) release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The disc is housed in a standard black amaray case, and a slipcover with the same art as the sleeve is included as well. The disc boots up to a standard menu screen with options to play the film, select audio options, turn on subtitles, choose chapters and explore special features.
The Fugitive makes the jump to stunning 4K Ultra HD with an HEVC-encoded 2160p presentation aided by HDR10. Although the lack of Dolby Vision HDR is a bit odd on these Warner Bros. releases, that doesn’t hold this presentation back from being absolutely gorgeous. I could tell from the opening credits that this looks very, very close to how film stock looked back in the early 90s. Film grain is present, but it is very fine and distributed well. You’ll notice the opening credit cards to be a bit less clear, but wait for the film to start and you’ll be treated a beautifully natural image, pulling out those early 90s steely colors without pushing everything too blue or teal. Textures have gained a big upgrade over previous transfers, and flesh tones are tuned in just right and don’t look too rosy. The HDR10 layer isn’t too overpowering, avoiding clipping highlights from bright light sources. This is truly the best the film has ever looked at home.
As for audio, Warner Bros. provides a new Dolby Atmos track as well as the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that was included on previous releases. The surround effects for this film have always been terrific, making good use of discrete effects in the rear channels. Additional height is given by the upfiring Atmos speakers this time around, which you can really tell during the big train crash sequence. Dialogue and music are mixed well in both tracks, but I prefer the Atmos track now since it makes good use of the additional height allowed by the upfiring speakers. Source is in terrific condition, with no damage to hear throughout.
Alright, time for some disappointing news. No new special features have been added for this release of The Fugitive. Even more disappointing, the pilot episode of the reboot TV show that was included in previous Blu-ray releases is not present here. That being said, some fun but flighty EPK featurettes can be found here.
Dr. Richard Kimble is on the run and trying to prove his innocence in The Fugitive, now available on 4K Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. With a stunning 2160p presentation aided by HDR10 and a new Dolby Atmos track that pulls out all the stops for this slam-bang thriller, this release belongs in your collection this holiday season. Pick up this Highly Recommended release posthaste!
Order Your Copy of The Fugitive on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray