U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard is tasked with tracking down an
escaped fugitive who may or not be a disavowed government agent.
U.S. Marshals (1998)
Directed by Stuart Baird
Written by John Pogue
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr.,
Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck, Tom Wood,
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Irène Jacob, Kate Nelligan
Sequel to 1993's The Fugitive
Nothing was ever gonna top The Fugitive, but I find it interesting that they still tried to continue the story. Did we need the further adventures of Marshal Samuel Gerard? Not really, but the movie is nowhere near as terrible as critics made it out to be back in 1998. Its biggest issue is its unnecessarily complex plot and overly long runtime. Less is always more, even when you've got a manhunt for Wesley Snipes as the crux of your movie. I think we could've lost a good twenty minutes of film just by shaving off some double crosses, repeated exposition, and terrible fight scenes.
After a gun is found in his truck, mild-mannered tow truck driver Mark (Snipes) is arrested for a double murder in New York. When he's being transferred, he is almost assassinated in an attack that brings down the prisoner transfer plane. Now, Mark is on the run, and Marshal Sam Gerard (Jones) is tasked with bringing him in. Along the way, he learns that Mark is a government assassin working for the State Department who was set up, and the real bad guy is selling secrets to the Chinese. It's not a bad plot, and there are some really cool moments, but the ending is painfully predictable. Of course coked-out RDJ is the bad guy.
I think U.S. Marshals started out with good intentions, but ultimately got a little lost in its execution. The performances are solid, even if you can tell Tommy Lee Jones is sleepwalking through this for a paycheck. Still, I'd probably watch it again.