The Fugitive or Harrison Ford: The Solo Years

Ash Isaac

Richard Kimble, (Harrison Ford), has got it all. He’s a successful cardiac surgeon at a prestigious hospital. He’s got a hot wife. His beard is home to a family of endangered starlings. What else could a man want or need? Kimble’s tranquillity is shattered one night however by an intruder who kills his wife and engages Kimble in a spot of Greco-Roman wrestling. The mystery man manages to make his escape, despite having only one arm, and when the police arrive they find a bloodied Kimble, a dead wife and well, that’s about it.

The police do the seemingly obvious maths and charge Kimble with murder one. Kimble tries to tell them about the one-armed bandit, but surprisingly enough they don’t seem keen on this particular conspiracy theory. Perhaps because you would think that only having one arm would be a barrier for a professional assassin, maybe a bit like only having one arm and trying to be a successful…oooh, I don’t know, cardiac surgeon?

Quicker than you can say ‘miscarriage of justice’, Kimble is tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. The authorities slap him in a fetching yellow jump suit/onesie and place him aboard the Death Row shuttle bus. Thankfully the other passengers are all real criminals unlike our hero and they stage an escape attempt which results in the bus careening out of control and onto some rail tracks. Kimble just about avoids being crushed by an oncoming train and still finds time to save an injured prison guard, thus ensuring he fulfils his Hippocratic oath.

The chase is now on. Enter Tommy Lee Jones as US Marshal Gerard, a laconic lawman with the type of craggy, impassive face that could double-up as a snow plough. Gerard is Kimble’s worst nightmare – a legally sanctioned super-stalker with an insatiable, Mountie-like obsession for getting his man. Kimble buys some time by disguising himself using the highly elaborate technique of shaving his beard and dyeing his hair with Just For Men, also known as the ‘Bin Laden’ method of evading detection. It seems to work as he flaunts past several flatfoots, one of whom even asks Kimble if he has seen…well…Kimble.

In one of the film’s many memorable scenes, Gerard tracks Kimble down to a giant dam and seemingly has him cornered. Rather than just giving himself up, Kimble decides to do a huge belly-flop off the 200 foot high dam to what surely must be certain death. Fortunately, Hollywood physics intervenes and Kimble is able to paddle to temporary safety before the chase starts again. Any normal man would be broken by this never-ending chain of traumatic events. Not Kimble though, possibly because he keeps having disturbing flashbacks of his dead wife and all the sexy times they used to have. Oh, Richard, the things you do with that beard. He decides to channel these memories to do the cops’ job for them and track down the one-armed man himself despite having no money, no leads, being the most wanted fugitive in the state of Illinois and having his face plastered across every populated area.

He’s somehow able to get a job as a janitor in a hospital and, in between washing windows and oiling squeaky doors, manages to secure a list of one armed suspects. He also saves yet another person by correcting some incompetent doctor’s shoddy diagnosis! Who says men can’t multi-task? Kimble follows up his illegal impersonation of hospital staff and illegal profiling of one-armed people by illegally entering the residence of a suspect. He’s got his man! An ex-cop by the name of Sykes. It turns out that Sykes was hired by a huge multi-national drugs company to kill Kimble because he found out that a new wonder drug they produce is actually causing lethal liver damage. The blighters. Kimble thrashes Sykes about for a few minutes. Yes, he may have killed your wife and yes, he may be holding a gun on you, but at the end of the day he parks up with that little blue badge in his windshield and probably uses a spork. Go easy!

Armed, (ho-ho), with the evidence he needs, Kimble interrupts a black tie dinner to snare the real mastermind behind the plot to kill him: his old med school buddy, Dr Nichols! Thus ensues another high altitude confrontation on the roof of the hotel which sees Kimble triumph. Gerard turns up and they engage in some mutual back-slapping. The real killer has been found, big business is once again conquered and Tommy Lee Jones uses his neuralyser to restore everyone’s memories to a happier time.

About Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.