Martin Carr reviews The Fugitive…
Mike Ferro (Boyd Holbrook) is a convicted felon who had a fresh start. Detective Clay Bryce (Kiefer Sutherland) a police officer of long standing across town. Soon their two lives will converge as mistaken identity and a series of unfortunate events brings them together. Mike Ferro is one bad day away from becoming The Fugitive.
This reimagining of a classic television show, Harrison Ford headliner and man on the run caper is slick. Creator, writer and driving force Nick Santora has turned the premise on its head to deliver a grounded thriller that keeps our everyman Mike Ferro on his toes throughout. From the outset this stylish slice of entertainment is highly polished, concisely constructed and never less than riveting.
Boyd Holbrook plays The Fugitive who is a victim of circumstance rather than someone hunted for perceived misdemeanours. Mistaken identity, past transgressions and one big slice of bad luck land him in the centre of a city wide man hunt. Separated from his daughter, devoid of alibis or any safe haven Mike Ferro is cut loose with few options.
Coming in with all the big screen baggage, Jack Bauer expectations and Hollywood lineage strides Kiefer Sutherland as Holbrook’s opposite number. A grizzled detective who commands his team with gravitas, bravado and an authority which is unspoken. Sutherland fits his role of Detective Clay Bryce like a glove and is clearly having fun embracing genre expectations. As a result this does feel like a protracted episode of 24 in parts, but that is not without some benefits. Dialogue throughout is informative but rarely expositional and Santora does well to give his characters a sense of reality without spoon feeding.
Quibi as a platform makes the action feel intimate and any drama more impactful while director Stephen Hopkins does well with staging. For all the thematic undertones which Santora denies exist, there is no denying that our present predicament around COVID-19 feels prescient. Paranoia, fear and presumption play a large part in making The Fugitive work as a thriller, from the involvement of world-wide media through public perception.
Holbrook, Sutherland and Tiya Sircar as a news reporter make for an infamous on screen tag team, which adds depth to these ‘quick bites’ of high end entertainment. Santora recently received an Emmy award for his work on Most Dangerous Game and if the two seem similarities there are reasons for that. Made simultaneously and bearing the same trademark quality and polish both films are clever beyond measure. Literally condensing a big screen idea onto a pocket sized format and not losing anything in that translation is challenging. To have done that twice now is a mark of true collaboration and skill. A fact that should be recognised come awards night as The Fugitive is proof that with this level of product Quibi has the potential to become a contender.
The Fugitive is available to stream from August 3rd on Quibi.