Having worked a certain magic on Steven Seagal the previous year – in the unexpectedly excellent Under Siege – director Andrew Davis scored his other biggest hit with this mile-a-minute reworking of the popular 1960s series. Reputedly based on – though always denied – a very similar, real-life murder case (that of American neurosurgeon Sam Sheppard), the TV hit came sandwiched between all those great paranoia thrillers of the 1950s and the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s. With its Hitchcockian themes, it embodied a nation’s fears – yet it’s a formula that is ripe forfo an update in any ddecade... HaHarrison Ford (w (who, thanks to an impressive ar array of disguises, is virtually unr unrecognisable for muc much of the film) leaves thet cartoonish hheroics,i if nott theth physicality,h i of the Indiana Jones franchise behind him as Richard Kimble, the everyman hero of this David and Goliath tale.
An upstanding doctor, Kimble is sentenced to death after being wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder, but seizes the chance to make his escape, and sets about trying to track down the real guilty party. Tommy Lee Jones – who won an Oscar for his performance here, and would return five years later for a serviceable spin-off film all of his own (US Marshals) – is Sam Gerard, the Deputy Marshal instructing his team to search every ‘gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse’ in pursuit of the wanted man.