When Mark gets in an accident,
His arm is hurt to some extent.
Police find that he had a gun
And is a killer on the run.
He must have killed two agents since
He has the culprit’s fingerprints.
Arrested and put on a plane
Of criminals (there is no train),
At last Mark’s captured by his past,
That is, till problems happen fast.
A shot at Mark flies past its goal
And opens up a gaping hole.
The pilots land, or rather crash
The plane, which settles with a splash.
As U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard
Removes the convicts under guard,
Mark sees his chance and swims away
Amid the messy disarray.
We know, as Richard Kimble lives,
That Sam Gerard loves fugitives.
Because he doesn’t have a choice,
He’s joined by Special Agent Royce
To find Mark quickly on a romp
Through some Louisiana swamp.
Gerard confronts their target guy,
Who doesn’t kill him (wonder why?),
But Mark escapes to New York City,
Where he soon is sitting pretty,
Spying on a diplomat
From China he is angry at.
Gerard and company explore
What Mark is being hounded for,
And soon they think that Mark’s offense
Just may have been in self-defense.
Though as a mole this man is blamed,
Sam thinks perhaps that he was framed.
A cemetery visit ends
With Mark pursued by Sam and friends.
When he’s alone with Mark, Royce shoots
A member of Gerard’s recruits.
Royce blames his death on Mark, their prey,
Who hops a train to get away.
When fleeing Mark makes one small slip,
Gerard tracks him back to a ship.
Sam nearly kills the fugitive
In vengeance, but he lets him live.
A shot from Royce, though, injures Mark
Before the ship can disembark.
As Mark recovers, caught, in bed,
Royce sneaks in his room to kill him dead,
But Sam prevents the agent’s goal;
He knows Royce is the secret mole.
Sam shoots Royce down with deadly aim,
And Mark is freed and cleared of blame.

While not as good as the original The Fugitive from 1993, U. S. Marshals is a worthy follow-up with some great action set pieces. Tommy Lee Jones’s Samuel Gerard is as lovably stoic as ever, and it was interesting to see Robert Downey, Jr. as the villain Royce, in light of his more recent heroic roles in Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. Wesley Snipes as Mark Warren/Roberts/Sheridan does his best as the new fugitive, and the question of whether he’s guilty or not keeps the audience guessing, though following in the footsteps of Harrison Ford as Richard Kimble, Snipes lacks something. Irene Jacob as Marie, his girlfriend who helps him, does a credible job too, but ultimately the movie is called U. S. Marshals for a reason: Sam and his crew are the stars.

Unlike many of the recent films on my list, U. S. Marshals was not universally lauded by critics upon its release. Many felt it lacked character development, while others thought the plot was unnecessarily tortuous. One even claimed that he and any smart person could have seen the death of one of Sam’s men from a mile away, but the event truly came out of nowhere for me and heightened the tension and Sam’s resolve to catch this guy. Plus, the audience may suspect Royce for something at that point, but who could have foreseen that kind of betrayal happening so quickly? Yes, the plot is so convoluted that I probably couldn’t repeat what Mark was accused of and who accused him and why, and I was honestly lost during a mid-film sequence where Mark is incognito, but the film’s good points mostly make up for these faults.

The opening plane crash, which I tend to think inspired a similar-looking one in World War Z, is truly spectacular, one of the best and biggest-looking set pieces in which Tommy Lee Jones hangs upside down. Mark’s daring swing from a building to a nearby moving train also has that wow factor that other hero-on-the-run films often lack, like the Bourne films (they’re good but repetitive, and the car chase at the end of The Bourne Supremacy was the only scene that actually stuck out as impressive). As for the end, it’s not nearly as tense as that of The Fugitive and seems rather small for the climax of the whole movie.

The requisite foul language is unfortunately present, as usual, but U. S. Marshals serves up thrills and some well-paced and well-edited chase scenes. It may not be the best thriller, but it’s still pretty darn exciting.

Best line: (Royce, as Sam is cuffing him) “Is this guy crazy?” (Cosmo) “No, but he’s a carrier.”

Artistry: 4
Characters/Actors: 6
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: 9
Originality: 5
Watchability: 8
Other (language): -6
TOTAL: 34 out of 60

Next: #271 – The Rocketeer

© 2014 S. G. Liput