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U.S. Marshals

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: U.S. Marshals

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes
Director: Stuart Baird
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 128 Minutes
Release Date: March 1998
Genres: Action, Suspense, Thriller

*Also starring: Robert Downey Jr., Lorenzo Clemons, Irene Jacob, Joe Pantoliano, Latanya Richardson, Ray Toler, Kate Nelligan

Review by David Wilcock
1 star out of 4

The sequel to The Fugitive (1993), U.S Marshals is an average thriller using it's association with The Fugitive just so it can make a few extra bucks. Tommy Lee Jones returns to his role as Chief Deputy Samuel Gerard, the grizzly cop who was after Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. This time, he's after fugitive Mark Sheridan (Snipes) who the police think killed two FBI agents, but of course he's been set up, and when the police plane escort he (and Gerard) are riding crashes, he makes a run for it, Gerard not so hot on his tail. What follows is about 2 hours of action, brought to us by the director of Executive Decision (1995), another film curiously involving a plane. When comparing this movie to The Fugitive, the prequel is far superior. But even on it's own, U.S Marshals is a pretty lousy movie. While the original was reasonably intelligent, and had a fugitive to root for, the audience feels strangely distanced from Snipes fugitive, mainly because we know so little about him until way into the film's overlong running time. While The Fugitive gave a little time to develop Harrison Fords character, U.S Marshals is straight in there, pulling it's trump card (the place crash) almost immediately. To be honest, I couldn't care less if Snipe's character got captured or not. Snipes performance is average, and his character gets surprisingly little screen time (considering he is the fugitive) for reasons I'll explain later. Tommy Lee Jones is as fine as ever, although his role is hardly a challenge. The sense of deja vu was overwhelming. I know it's the same role from The Fugitive, but there is seemingly no attempt to develop his character from the last film. There's a few 'nudge nudge' references from the first film, but apart from that, nothing. Nobody even mentions Harrison Ford in this movie. Downey Jnr is OK as FBI agent John Royce who's roped into the chase, and sexy french actress Irene Jacob wanders in and out of the movie as Snipes wife. Nobody looks as if their having a good time, and all the performers are on autopilot. The supporting cast are O.K, but when it comes to performances, U.S Marshals falls flat on it's face. It doesn't fare any better plot-wise, either. The film starts off with Gerard trying to capture Snipes, but then veers off into terrorists territory. As said above, the film is an normal, average terrorist thriller, seen a million times before, but is using The Fugitive reputation to make it sound more professional. If this film wasn't the 'sequel' to The Fugitive, this would probably go straight to video, or not even been made at all, because it's so average. And because of the film's plot changing it's course, Snipes is almost forgotten apart, and hardly features in the movie. Stuart Baird, the director, is all right, but there's no particular scene that stands out. It's director is the usual action movie style. Even the plane crash is sorely lacking in tension. The special effects are nice, especially the plane crash, and there's a good (if very loud) soundtrack by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith. But in the end, U.S Marshals suffers from an overwhelmingly lack of excitement. Sure, it's loud and dumb, but in the end U.S Marshals just ain't fun. Bored performers and a lackluster plot and script, do not make a good action movie.

Copyright 1998 David Wilcock

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