U.S. Marshals (1998) starring Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., Joe Pantoliano, Daniel Roebuck directed by Stuart Baird Movie Review

U.S. Marshals (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Tommy Lee Jones in U.S. Marshals (1998)

Tommy Goes Hunting Again

Tow truck driver Mr. Warren (Wesley Snipes - Blade) finds himself in hospital when a reckless driver causes him to crash, but police find a gun in Warren's truck and when they run the prints they match up to those involved in a double homicide. Arrested and put on a plane to take him back to New York he finds himself sharing the flight with Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones - Under Siege) who is escorting another prisoner back. When the plane crashes Warren not only saves lives but goes on the run leading to Gerard and his team to go on another man hunt. But this time Gerard finds himself with a shadow as Special Agent John Royce (Robert Downey Jr. - Only You) is assigned to him leading to Gerard becoming even more suspicious that things are not what they seem.

Whilst Harrison Ford was the star of "The Fugitive" it was Tommy Lee Jones who made the biggest impression with his cool performance as the no messing Marshal Samuel Gerard. Ironically after you have sat through the 2 hours and 10 minutes which make up "U.S. Marshals" it is once again Tommy Lee Jones who you will remember whilst you begin to wonder why this sequel needed to break the 2 hour mark. Ironically it is not a case of bigger is better either as "U.S. Marshals" and "The Fugitive" have many similarities including a crash sequence which this time involves a plane transporting prisoners as well as roughly being the same length.

Robert Downey Jr. in U.S. Marshals (1998)

So what is wrong with "U.S. Marshals" you might ask? Well it is because it is trying to be the equal of "The Fugitive" and by trying to be its equal it goes wrong. Take the crash scene which swaps prison bus for plane and puts Gerard on board yet it still feels like a reworking of the first movie with the prisoners on board and Warren escaping. It is not just the similarities as every single scene seems to be stretched out such as the scene where Gerard is dressed in a chicken suit on a stake out. Don't get me wrong as the scene is amusing with Tommy Lee Jones managing to deliver Gerard's character from beneath the suit but it goes on and on which it didn't need to do. I could go on because director Stuart Baird doesn't know when to trim back and accept that if he cut out the superfluous the movie would have been better.

Aside from the issue of more is not necessarily better the actual storyline is both entertaining and solid with not only Gerard hunting down a man he suspects not to be what he is reported to be but also having Downey Jr. playing his shadow. The thing is that whilst solid it doesn't take a genius to put two and two together and work it all out before the first 20 minutes are up. From the minute we witness Warren steal an arm off of a set of glasses whilst in custody it is clear that he is no regular Joe and when Gerard is saddled with a shadow your mind immediately makes us consider that he is not the naive suit he looks.

In the end "U.S. Marshals" becomes about the action which whilst long is spectacular and the stars. In truth that should be star as whilst Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey Jr. are good whilst those returning supporting actors pick up where they left off it is Tommy Lee Jones who makes the movie. The thing is that Jones does exactly what he did in the first movie but he does it so well that you don't mind that it is familiar because it is enjoyable.

What this all boils down to is that "U.S. Marshals" doesn't need to be as long as it is and would have been better if it had been edited down some more. But that doesn't mean it isn't entertaining as Tommy Lee Jones is once again brilliant as Marshal Samuel Gerard.