‘The Fugitive’ Could Have Been a Lot Shorter

There were so many times that Harrison Ford's character should have been apprehended.

by Kali Tuttle
The Fugitive

The Fugitive is a phenomenal action film starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. It follows Dr. Richard Kimble (Ford), who has been falsely accused of murdering his wife. After escaping from prison in a freak accident, Kimble sets out to prove his innocence, all the while being pursued by U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Jones).

In any action film, you have to suspend your disbelief to a certain point. This happens many times during The Fugitive. Kimble should have been caught at least a dozen times before he actually was. But, because it’s Harrison Ford, he gets away just in the nick of time.

What follows is a list of every time Kimble should have been caught but wasn’t.

The Initial Escape

  • Even though Harrison Ford is superhuman, there’s no way he could outrun a train in leg shackles for as long as he did. That train should have hit and killed him.
  • No one saw the haggard-looking man in prison clothes beneath the bridge?
  • How in the actual hell did that nurse not notice Kimble in the bathroom? She didn’t see the door moving on its own to open and close? She didn’t bother to look in the mirror and see the strange man behind the door? Does no one in this film have any situational awareness?
  • The most idiotic police officer in the world stares a runaway fugitive in the face and the only thing he notices is that the guy’s fly is down.
  • None of the paramedics bringing in the wounded prison guard thought it was strange when the prison guard recognized Kimble? And the prison guard didn’t immediately rip off his oxygen mask and say, “Hey, fellas, that guy is a runaway.” Inattentive police is one of the more prominent themes running through The Fugitive.

On the Run

  • U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard and Dr. Richard Kimble first meet in the drainage tunnels of a dam in the most iconic shot of The Fugitive. Gerard has the chance to shoot this guy then and there. He’s told Kimble is dangerous and yet he doesn’t take the shot, allowing Kimble to take a leap of faith down into the river below.
  • Also, Kimble should have died in that fall.
  • Kimble falls asleep in some leaves not that far from the dam. If the local police force was worth a damn, they would have found him.
  • No one on the highway finds it weird this guy is just walking out by the road? Does no one watch the news or read the papers?
  • The cop that orders Dr. Charles Nichols to keep moving when he stops to talk to Kimble doesn’t recognize a runaway fugitive? Do they not circulate that kind of information at the station?

Hiding in Plain Sight

  • Kimble visits Chicago Memorial Hospital several times. The first time he wanders through the prosthetics department. The second time he poses as a janitor. Everyone in the hospital just ignores the strange man wandering through restricted areas and pushing around patients, except for Julianne Moore, the only person with any sense.
  • Moore doesn’t have that much sense, though, as she tells Kimble to “stay there” while she calls for security. Not sure why she thought that would work.
  • When the police raid the apartment Kimble is staying in for the drug dealer living upstairs, I find it hard to believe they didn’t conduct a full search of the house immediately after. They could have caught Kimble no problem.
  • Kimble should have 100% been caught when he went to the jail. One of the guards should have recognized him. Even if they didn’t, they should have found it odd that Kimble asked to speak to someone and then didn’t actually say anything to that person and left.
  • Gerard should have caught up to Kimble and shot him as he escaped the jail.
  • At least one person in the St. Patrick’s Day parade should have recognized Kimble. Inattentive citizens is another theme of The Fugitive.

Wrapping It Up

  • The police officer outside the one-armed man’s apartment should have seen Kimble breaking in.
  • In The Fugitiveall of Dr. Kimble’s friends believe he is innocent and have no problem helping him. I find it hard to believe that none of them think he did it and that all of them are willing to help him. At least one person should have turned him in.
  • The transit cop could have taken the shot at Kimble and killed him.
  • Sykes should have taken the shot on the train and killed him. Kimble, a man with no combat training, was able to overpower Sykes, a veteran police officer. Very far-fetched.
  • Kimble only survives by luck at the end. He should have died multiple times in the final fight between him and Nichols.

Follow MovieBabble on Twitter @MovieBabble_ and Kali Tuttle @tuttle_kali2.

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Nick Kush August 17, 2023 - 8:39 am

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Pearl August 16, 2023 - 12:53 pm

Hello. It has been quite a few years since I last saw the movie version of The Fugitive. Mainly, what I remember is that because I was such a fan of the original TV series starring David Janssen, I was never able to get comfortable with either Harrison Ford in the Kimball role or with Tommy Lee Jones.

David Janssen will always be Dr Kimball for me, portrayed agonizingly by Janssen. It was truly an iconic character and I believe that the TV series was one of, if not the first, to actually bring a long running plot to a conclusion on TV.

I also occasionally include movie reviews on my WordPress blog. I most recently saw and reviewed Oppenheimer.


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