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Chase The Fugitive Down on 4K for WB’s 100th Anniversary

Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. and IMDb Pro.

As part of the year-long centennial celebration for the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Studios, The Fugitive celebrated the 30th anniversary of its 1993 release with its first-ever edition on 4K-UHD disc and digital. The disc was released in November and Film Obsessive was granted a preview copy of the disc for our “Off the Shelf” series. With top-notch HDR picture range and improved sound, the edition is a must for fans looking for a solid home theater thriller experience. 


A man talks on a street payphone in The Fugitive.
Harrison Ford stars in The Fugitive. Image courtesy of Warner Bros and IMDB Pro.

The Fugitive was directed by Andrew Davis (Under Siege) and was inspired by the television series of the same name that ran from 1963 to 1967. Following great success at the box office, the Harrison Ford vehicle was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its biggest win was for Tommy Lee Jones’ driven performance as Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard for Best Supporting Actor. The titular man in his crosshairs was Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble, a doctor convicted of murdering his wife (Sela Ward) after his claims that a one-armed man did the deed could not be proven.

After an incredible bus vs. train and man vs. waterfall escape scene, The Fugitive follows Kimble on the run returning to Chicago to clear his name and outlast Gerard’s merciless pursuit. Leave it to a bona fide star like Harrison Ford and an emerging one then in Jones to put together one of the slickest cat and mouse movies of its era. Those action scenes and more leap off the 4K screen. Discovery’s Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) restoration was sourced from the original camera negative and overseen by director Andrew Davis.


The 4K disc cover art of The Fugitive
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Studios

As has too often been the case with these 100th anniversary 4K disc releases for the last year or so, it’s up to the movies to stand for themselves when it comes to the urge to buy this new disc. If you love the movie, that’s normally reason enough, and The Fugitive is one of those action classics. Still, this momentous studio anniversary would have been the perfect time to really boost the style and presentation.

Instead, the presentation is reduced to what has become the boxy and ordinary menu design Warner Bros. has leaned on for both new and classic releases. With little nostalgia for original poster/cover art showing a kinetic Harrison Ford, the 4K disc box art is also an underwhelming modernization which shrinks the original image to the corner, shades everything in washed out blue, and sticks familiar poses from the movie in an angled blacklined grid design that is overused by every studio in town for cover art. There wasn’t a need for that and it doesn’t increase its browsing appeal.

Another loss of style comes in the special features department. Sadly, there are no new components on the 4K-UHD disc of The Fugitive. Everything present was ported over from previously-released editions. Those items include the behind-the-scenes featurette “The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase,” “On the Run with the Fugitive” production diary, and “Derailed: Anatomy of a Train Wreck” focusing on the big first-act centerpiece. Those are nice nuggets, but there had to be more.

Luckily, two star-driven features remain complete keepers. The Fugitive has a nice, genial introduction from Andrew Davis and Harrison Ford. The latter can be a curmudgeon at times when it comes to publicity pushes for his films, but he showed up for this one. The best piece is the full-length commentary track with Davis and Tommy Lee Jones. The two really break down the ins and outs of intent and preparation. This is a rare commentary appearance for Jones, but he’s very gracious with his compliments and anecdotes from what became his star-making role.

All these 100th anniversary discs from Warner Bros. Pictures would have needed to put themselves over the top as more special than solely picture and sound is looking at these classic movie offerings from the present day. Films like The Fugitive were selected for this 4K rollouts not just because they were hits, but because they were watersheds that stood the test of time. For example, how sweet would it have been to bring those two legends like Ford and Jones back for a retrospective interview? Come on Discovery. Pay the agents and bookings, book 45 minutes of coach time, and bring the folks people want to see to talk. Make that happen for your next anniversary.

Written by Don Shanahan

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing here on Film Obsessive as the Editor-in-Chief and Content Supervisor for the film department. He also writes for his own website, Every Movie Has a Lesson. Don is one of the hosts of the Cinephile Hissy Fit Podcast on the Ruminations Radio Network and sponsored by Film Obsessive. As a school teacher by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Indie Critics and a voting member of the nationally-recognized Critics Choice Association, Online Film Critics Society, North American Film Critics Association, International Film Society Critics Association, Internet Film Critics Society, Online Film and TV Association, and the Celebrity Movie Awards.

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