U.S. Marshals

1998, Movie, R, 133 mins


To every hit there is a season, and a time for every sequel under heaven -- no matter what narrative contortions it takes. Take THE FUGITIVE: Once runaway Dr. Kimble (Harrison Ford) is cleared of murdering his wife, it's hard to imagine sending him on the lam again. But then...(cue the lightbulb over someone's head), if it was the chase audiences liked, then why not build the sequel around implacable U.S. Marshall Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), who nearly hunted the good doctor to his death? He can chase people into the next century. And hey: The good Terminator thing worked, and FRIDAY THE 13TH director Sean Cunningham is still living down his opinion that it was stupid to revive Jason because Jason was dead. So now Gerard is hard on the heels of Mark Sheridan (Wesley Snipes), apparent killer of two government agents. Since the first rule of blockbuster sequels is that they must follow the first film as closely possible, Sheridan escapes during a spectacular airplane crash; Gerard barks orders, sets perimeters and chases him over hill and dale; Sheridan does an apparently suicidal dive off a rooftop and lives to run again. To make the package look fresh, there's a pile of complications involving international espionage, mysterious government agents and Gerard's colorful backup team (Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck, Tom Wood and newcomer LaTanya Richardson), who are joined by altogether too smooth and cocky government agent John Royce (Robert Downey Jr.) despite Gerard's protests. The minute Gerard mocks Royce's "nickel-plated sissy pistol," it's clear they're headed for a cathartic showdown, and anyone who can't see which member of Gerard's merry band might as well be wearing a "Dead Meat Walking" T-shirt really shouldn't be allowed to operate complicated machinery. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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