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The Good, The Bad & The Badass: Harrison Ford

Last week, we took at the look at the long, storied career of one of the great icons of the twentieth century, Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock. This week we look at another icon who's escape from a dangerous plane crash this week has his millions upon millions of fans breathing a sigh of relief...
Harrison Ford
Harrison ford indiana jones and the temple of doom

It's scary to think about how close we came to losing Harrison Ford this week. Indeed, the early reports of his plane crash listed him as being in critical condition. Thankfully, Ford's injuries were relatively minor (several gashes and possibly a broken leg) and his skill as a pilot certainly saved him from a premature end – something we can all be grateful for. The fact is, Harrison Ford is the greatest action hero of the last fifty years. Some of your other there reading this may not agree, but think about it. Harrison Ford is not only Han Solo, but he's also Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan. That would be like someone playing James Bond, Batman, and Jason Bourne. It's absolutely nuts, yet Ford managed to make each character distinct.

Harrison ford the empire strikes back

It's a little sad that Ford has never really grown to appreciate Han Solo, despite it being the part that put him on the map. Sure, he's returning to the role at the end of the year, but Ford has openly expressed disdain towards the films and his part in them, and it's a shame he's not able to recognize what a huge impact they've had on fans all over the world. Luckily, his relationship with Indiana Jones is much better, with him constantly going on record saying that it's one of his favorite parts and that he'll throw on the fedora and pick up the bullwhip at a moment's notice. And make no mistake, while guys like Chris Pratt will have their names bandied about as potential new Indy's, there will ever only be one Indiana Jones, and that's Ford.

Harrison ford blade runner

What's also worth recognizing is that Ford has had a great career outside his three franchises. BLADE RUNNER, while a flop in 1982, is a full-fledged classic now, and Ford is even being tipped to step back into the part in a sequel/spin-off to be directed by Denis Villeneuve (although I assume the project is on hold until Ford has completely recuperated). Otherwise, he's proven himself highly proficient at drama (THE MOSQUITO COAST, REGARDING HENRY), romance (WORKING GIRL), and especially thrillers (PRESUMED INNOCENT & THE FUGITIVE) where he was able to play every-man heroes far more down to earth than the larger-than-life franchise figures he's most famous for. Outside of comedy (SABRINA and HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE were rough) Ford has pretty much excelled at any kind of genre he's tried, making him far more versatile than many of his contemporaries, and allowing him a longevity that's nearly unparalleled.

His Best Film
Harrison ford raiders of the lost ark

As a child of the eighties, it's tough for me to choose between Han and Indy, but I have to give the edge to the more three-dimensional Indiana Jones. In the end, the STAR WARS saga was not Han Solo's journey, but the Indiana Jones films were Ford's through and through. Indy is one of the coolest action heroes of all time, with many (myself included) saying that after James Bond he's the greatest ever. While KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL was a lame send-off for the character, the original trilogy is spectacular, with even the much-maligned TEMPLE OF DOOM being a classic. But, for my money, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK stands as one of the greatest action adventure movies ever put to celluloid, and Ford's deeply human, but incredibly heroic Indy is the key to its success. He's the greatest and I sincerely hope the rumors of them rebooting the series without Ford are just that – rumors.

His Most Underrated Film
Harrison ford witness

While it was a box-office hit and landed Ford his only Oscar nomination to date, WITNESS still feels relatively obscure among Ford's films for his younger fans. That's a shame as it's one of the best things he's ever done and his performance as the conflicted John Book, who takes refuge among the Amish, is spectacular. Ford's rarely been this vulnerable, and while it's still effective as an action-thriller, it's the drama and romance that really makes the film resonate so much. Director Peter Weir is on par with Steven Spielberg as one of those guys who really knows how to play to all of Ford's strenghts, and it's too bad they haven't paired up since their WITNESS-follow-up, the poorly received (but underrated) THE MOSQUITO COAST. Also – the scene where he beats up the boorish tourist making fun of the Amish is badass as hell.

His Most Overrated Film
Harrison ford

I was horrified when Warner Bros launched an Oscar campaign for Ford following his turn as Branch Rickey in 42. He wasn't bad, but for me Ford seems to have lost his passion for acting in the last decade or so, and Rickey felt like more of a caricature than a totally legit performance. But then again, the movie was a hit, so what do I know? The thing is, if Ford really threw himself into a part, and worked with a top-notch director like Weir again, I know he could deliver – big-time.

His Most Memorable Scene

When I was putting together this column, I asked our video editor, Nick Bosworth to help me choose between the Han shoots Greedo scene, and the swordsman bit from RAIDERS. I just couldn't pick, so Nick helpfully cut them both together. And yes people, Han shoots first.

His Ten Best Films


Up Next
Harrison ford star wars

Naturally, everyone's super-psyched to see Ford back in the Millennium Falcon in STAR WARS – THE FORCE AWAKENS. Hopefully by the time it hits theaters Ford will be back in business health-wise, and will be able to see for himself first-hand just how appreciative fans are of him picking up the blaster one last time. May the force be with you Mr. Ford and get better soon!

Source: JoBlo.com



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