There are a few films out there that will never, or should never, be remade. Films like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, or anything in Stanley Kubrick’s catalogue are probably safe from being dragged through the mud of studio laziness. There are some fan favorites, like Point Break for example, that are being remade despite practically nobody wanting it to happen. Somewhere in the middle of fan favorites and legendary films lies The Fugitive, which is inexplicably heading to the remake factory at Warner Bros.
The studio, who owns the rights to the excellent 1993 film starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (a film version of the cult 1963 TV show), has decided to do a remake for no real reason. Deadline broke the story of the remake, saying newbie screenwriter Christina Hodson is working on a screenplay. No cast has been announced yet, and let’s hope the news that Ford and Jones would reprise their roles has no merit, because that makes even less sense than the fact it is being remade in the first place.
The Fugitive is, for my money, a modern American masterpiece of action and suspense. The thriller elements blend in well with the pursuit and detective work from both Ford and Jones, who won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard. There are virtuoso moments, like the iconic train/bus collision and the chase in the aqueducts of a dam, and there is a compelling story which steadily drive the mechanics of the plot. As it stands, Andrew Davis’s film is a seminal work. To remake this is nearing cinematic blasphemy.
Remaking a film that brought in $400 million at the box office, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and is still fresh enough in our minds and popular enough in TV rotation makes no sense. To be honest, it angers me. Point Break is bad enough, but it never carried with it a certain level of respect or prestige. It is seen as a tongue-in-cheek movie, an inside joke of machismo and action, but it never needed a remake either way. The Fugitive, on the other hand, should be absolutely left alone. Alas, it won’t happen, and we will get a remake that is inferior in every way to the 1993 original.
Maybe The Godfather isn’t that far away…