Thursday, August 14, 2014

U.S. Marshals (2012)

U.S. MarshalsIn 1993, Warner Brothers studios released an incredibly successful movie called "The Fugitive" starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, and based on the hit TV series of the same name. 5 years after the success of that film, the WB decided to release a semi-sequel/spin-off to the film focusing on the further exploits of the character of U.S. Marshal, Sam Gerard, played by Tommy Lee Jones. It was surprising that Warner Bros. wanted to explore this supporting character further, in fact it was just as surprising that they felt there could even be any chance of success with having a sequel/spin-off to a movie that was completely self-contained. But, the decision was made and Warner Bros. actually managed to re-sign Tommy Lee Jones, along with the rest of the actors that comprised his original crew of deputy U.S. Marshals, and adding Wesley Snipes and talented, yet troubled actor Robert Downey Jr. to the mix. With the cast all set, the story greenlit, and acclaimed editor turned director Stuart Baird ("Star Trek: Nemesis") helming the picture, it was time to see if Warner Bros.' gamble would pay off with "U.S. Marshals".

"U.S. Marshals" follows U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) as he pursues yet another fugitive on the loose. When a truck driver named Mark Roberts (Wesley Snipes) is involved in a car crash, the police reporting on the scene discover that this truck driver is actually wanted for a double homicide of two federal agents in New York City, and has been living in Chicago under an assumed name for the last several months. During the transfer flight from Chicago to New York, an assassination attempt on Mark's life takes place causing the plane to depressurize and crash into a river. As the police officers, including Sam Gerard who was aboard the plane overseeing the transfer of his latest prisoner, struggle to release the prisoners before they drown, Mark is released and succeeds in escaping without being noticed until the next morning. Now, Sam and his team of deputies are pursuing yet another fugitive, but they will soon find out that this is no ordinary case of murder, as the federal government gets involved by sending in an agent (Robert Downey Jr.) to oversee the pursuit, and it turns out that Mark Roberts is a former agent of the very same agency as that of the two men he is accused of murdering.

Director Stuart Baird really had his work cut out for him with this movie, not only was he tasked with the job of directing a semi-sequel/spin-off to a highly successful movie based on a TV show, but he was also forced to find a way to have Sam Gerard pursue yet another fugitive without the story seeming too much like the previous movie. Surprisingly, he succeeds rather well, there is the glaring similarity in that both fugitives only escape due to an accident (Richard Kimble escaped due to a train wreck and Mark Roberts escapes due to a plane wreck), but this can be overlooked as being a necessary plot device to realistically propel the story into motion. Otherwise, I couldn't complain about the direction of the movie, I felt that for this type of movie Stuart Baird did an overall great job of handling the material, keeping a similar tone to the first film, and yet making this one a standalone movie that doesn't require the audience to have seen or remember any of the events from "The Fugitive".

The cast for the movie was terrific. Tommy Lee Jones was wise to return to the character that won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor 5 years prior. I believe that ever since this movie, and even "The Fugitive" for that matter, Tommy Lee Jones has essentially played this same character in every other movie he's been in (with the exception of his role of Two-Face in "Batman Forever"), and still manages to entertain audiences with the same exact performance. The supporting actors that comprised the rest of the U.S. Marshals were just as good, if not better than they were the first time around, especially Joe Pantoliano who was given much more screen time and injected several bits of humor to lighten things up throughout the movie, while still delivering some really dramatic scenes with Tommy Lee Jones. The additions of Robert Downey Jr. and Wesley Snipes to the cast were very good choices as both are accomplished actors who handle both drama and action very well. Sometimes in sequels or spin-offs the new cast members tend to stick out a little bit because they are replacing a cast member that didn't return, so their performance seems to be a little too much like the person they are replacing instead of making the characters their own. In this instance though, both new actors do excellent jobs of making their characters their own, and quickly draw the audience in to their aspects of the story.

Even though I felt Warner Bros. had made a mistake in making this film, Stuart Baird and company managed to prove me wrong, and I must say that I completely enjoyed "U.S. Marshals", and that it was a worthy sequel/spin-off to the equally impressive film "The Fugitive".

"U.S. Marshals" is rated PG-13 for violence and language.

They could have named this one the Fugitive II and gotten away with it. There was a slight lack of originality, but the spectacular cast pulls it off. Overall the movie was good. Tommy Lee Jones does a wonderful job and Robert Downey, Jr. was memorable as well. The comic relief was a must and was appreciated as it helped counterract the amazing suspense level present. I think I will add this one to my collection.

Buy U.S. Marshals (2012) Now

If you're looking for more than cheap thrills and bravado, you may be disappointed as US Marshal drags for about half an hour or so more than it needs to. But it rises above its hackneyed chase routines with Jones' commanding screen presence. Some scenes, such as the opening plane crash, are exemplary cinematography. The soundtrack effectively complements the roller-coaster action sequences. There's a surprise twist in the tale too, but don't read too much lest you should spoil it. Recommended rental, for sure.

Read Best Reviews of U.S. Marshals (2012) Here

While "U.S. Marshalls" is not really a sequel to "The Fugitive" is a worthwhile followup. This film has crisp action, good pacing, an is well acted by the lead actors. The plane crash in this movie is not as spectacular as the bus-train wreck from "The Fugitive" but it is exciting nontheless. If your looking for 2 hours of solid entertainment give "U.S. Marshalls" a look.

Want U.S. Marshals (2012) Discount?

One of the problems US Marhsals has is that it is suffering a bit of an identity crisis. Is it a sequel or just another insight into Gerard's job? It's a bit of a rehash of The Fugitive while falling short of being as good Gerard's obsession is more of a caricature, despite Tommy Lee Jones' best efforts to salvage it, and sometimes the script lapses into cliche, with a frankly bizarre plot which is sort of something to do with the CIA. Robert Downey Jr comes across well, as does Jones, but Wesley Snipes could have been much better. It's a good hour or so spent if you can't find The Fugitive, but otherwise it's best not to be too critical while watching it.

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