The Fugitive 4K Review: A Glorious Update for the ’90s Classic

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Written By Sedoso Feb

I loved The Fugitive when it stormed into theaters in 1993. At the time, it was one of those rare movies you knew you would watch a million times over. As the years have passed, I enjoy the Andrew Davis action thriller even more than I did as a kid. And why shouldn’t I? The Fugitive is a taut, superbly acted, impeccably directed motion picture that grabs you from those kick-ass opening credits (amidst James Newton Howard’s incredible score) and doesn’t let go until Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) and Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) drive away together in a squad car towards an uncertain future.

The Academy Award-nominated film landed on VHS and Laserdisc on March 10, 1994, and eventually found its way to DVD in 1997. I owned the VHS and DVD, which were essentially the same, quality-wise. For years, I endured this version. Then, in 2006, Warner Bros. saw fit to release the pic on Blu-ray, replete with a few snazzy special features, namely a commentary by Davis and Jones. Negative reviews forced WB to repackage the picture in time for its 20th anniversary, this time with a more refined 1080p transfer and a few nifty audio features.

This version removed artifacts and provided stronger detail, particularly in close-ups. Now, The Fugitive doesn’t boast stunning cinematography. Instead, cinematographer Michael Chapman opts for a more realistic approach, capturing the grime and grit of Chicago’s wintry streets. The 20th-anniversary Blu-ray did a fine job presenting the film in crisp detail; honestly, I was happy with that version.

Jump ahead another decade, and behold The Fugitive’s 30th Anniversary Ultra-HD Blu-ray, crafted from an 8K scan of the original 35mm camera negative, boasting a cinematic 1.85:1 aspect ratio—now the de facto version of this legendary feature film.

The visuals are sharp, immaculate, and exquisitely polished. Shadows and darkness are strikingly contrasted, especially in iconic scenes like the classic train sequence and the grand finale. Furthermore, the overall appearance is remarkably natural. Unlike earlier versions that leaned towards a colder tone with desaturated colors, this 4K rendition of The Fugitive radiates a vibrancy that makes it appear as if crafted just yesterday.

The 30th-anniversary edition comes packaged with a new eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtrack powerful enough to shuffle the furniture in your house during action sequences. James Newton Howard’s score rumbles across the bass, while dialogue is easily distinguishable from the raucous sound effects.

Special features are, unfortunately, thin, but that’s expected in this day and age. Featurettes are carryovers from previous packages. There is a commentary by Davis or Jones, but it’s the same as before.

No matter. The Fugitive remains the best example of a big-screen adaptation of a TV show and perhaps the greatest cat-and-mouse thriller ever conceived. All these years later, the hunt still thrills.

SCORE: 9/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 9 equates to “Excellent.” Entertainment that reaches this level is at the top of its type. The gold standard that every creator aims to reach.


Disclosure: ComingSoon was sent a review copy for our The Fugitive 4K review.

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