The Fugitive 2: U.S. Marshals

One of my favourite kinds of movies are the ones in which the hero is wrongly accused and has to fight a powerful adversary to clear his/her name. What makes these movies work is the way in which innocence is established, given the seemingly overwhelming odds. In other words, the hero must win in the end, but it can't be too easily done, for that would undermine the credibility of the plot. The Fugitive 2: U.S. Marshals definitely pulls off this plot device convincingly, just as its predecessor, The Fugitive, did.

In both movies, Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), is a Deputy U. S. Marshal who is on the trail of an escaped suspect. This time, it is Mark Roberts/Sheridan (Wesley Snipes), who is falsely accused of murdering two agents of the State Department in cold blood. Sheridan is a former Special Forces Marine, ex-CIA operative who knows all the tricks of Gerard's trade, and that makes him more credible than the character of Richard Kimble (played by Harrison Ford) in The Fugitive. Gerard is assisted in his hunt for Sheridan by his team of Marshals as well as John Royce (Robert Downey Jr.), a Stage Department agent whose friends were the ones "murdered in cold blood" by Sheridan. From the beginning we know that Royce is up to no good, especially given the simmering hostility between himself and Gerard.

At first Gerard is led to believe that Sheridan is just another run-of-the-mill murderer. But he soon learns that Sheridan was a "kite", an agent of the U.S. Government in a position to perform jobs (read: dirty work) where the government can disavow responsibility if things go wrong. Gerard also learns that Sheridan killed the two State Department agents in self-defense. As the story progresses, more things don't add up. When Gerard sees one of his agents die, allegedly shot by Sheridan, he becomes irrational and, forgetting his brewing doubts, goes after Sheridan with a vengeance.

As I said above, in such movies, clearing one's name shouldn't come easily, and in this case it definitely doesn't. Sheridan never really manages to succeed in his attempt (people who can tell the truth are killed off one by one--which in itself makes for quite a bit of suspense). Gerard does finally put two and two together and baits the real criminal into revealing himself, thereby exonerating Sheridan.

The performances by the three main characters, Jones, Snipes, and Downey are excellent in terms of action-movie fare even though there is little character development. The script is witty at times and the action sequences are quite spectacular. The movie is being promoted as a sequel to The Fugitive, but it is not a sequel as much as a rehash of the original (read: clone). Still, The Fugitive 2: U.S. Marshals is worth watching on the big screen and I highly recommend it.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||