Dumb Ideas In Great Movies: The Fugitive And The One Armed Man

The Fugitive is a bravura work of cat-and-mouse tension.  Director Andrew Davis stages the action sequences with a practiced eye and a sure hand, no doubt honed in his early days directing Steven Seagal movies.  Both Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones turn in career best work, with Jones in particular snatching an Academy Award for playing the taciturn authority figure he’s played for his entire career.  Love the guy, but you’ve got to admit he has the acting range of a household appliance.

The writing is above average for this type of venture, with three heavy hitting screenwriters contributing to the script: Jeb Stuart, David Twohy, and Walter Hill.  No question, these guys aren’t slouches in the story department.  Which makes it all the more perplexing when you realize they made the villain a one armed man.  Granted, The Fugitive is based upon a television series in which the bad guy was also a one armed man, but just because the film is faithful to what’s come before doesn’t make it any less stupid.

You’d expect that writers of their caliber would revise the story and make the one armed man aspect more believable.  These are smart guys.  They get paid millions.  Surely, they had a script meeting where someone suggested that a fight scene between Harrison Ford and a man with a rubber hand was going to look exactly how it sounds: ridiculous.  And yet there it is in the final film — a fight scene between Harrison Ford and a man with a rubber hand.  And it does, indeed, look exactly how it sounds: ridiculous.

What they should’ve done, besides ditching the one armed man completely, is give the guy a f*cking hook.  A rubber hand is not intimidating.  Yes, it makes you half as likely to leave finger prints at the scene of a crime, but the hook would serve the same purpose.  What’s the point of having a rubber hand?  To blend in?  Look at that f*cking thing:
Was it made by Mattel?  It looks like it was manufactured from leftover Barbee dolls or that pink stuff they put inside portable vaginas.  That hand ain’t fooling anyone.  It doesn’t even match his skin color!  He might as well have gone to an adult XXX store and ripped the arm off an ebony sex doll.  At least then he could do something useful with it like masturbate.  Or wave.

If you were in the shoes of Andrew Davis and had to remake The Fugitive, would you have kept the one armed man?  The idea of a guy with a rubber hand posing a credible threat is ridiculous, but it is unique.  There are few movies, if any, that feature a villain with a rubber hand.  Perhaps the filmmakers were right to include the one armed man.  What do you think?

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