TV Review: Quibi’s The Fugitive starring Kiefer Sutherland

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

TV Review, Quibi, The Fugitive, Kiefer Sutherland, Genesis Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Crime

Plot: An innocent man on the run, desperate to clear his name, is chased through Los Angeles by the cop who will not rest until he is captured.

TV Review, Quibi, The Fugitive, Kiefer Sutherland, Genesis Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Crime

Review: When Quibi was first teased, a reboot of the classic series The Fugitive looked to be one of the more exciting prospective properties. Months after launch, Quibi is still searching for a breakout hit and it seems like they saved The Fugitive as a life preserver. Well, the day has come as Quibi still struggles to find a viewer base. Recent releases like Die Hart starring Kevin Hart and John Travolta have felt more like feature films cut into episodic segments and deserve a wider platform to be seen. The Fugitive is not nearly as cinematic as that series and feels like a fairly standard network television drama and not much like the precursor series or the hit feature film. This version of The Fugitive is just okay.

Unlike previous iterations of The Fugitive, this interpretation shares a loose plot structure about a man mistakenly accused of a crime who is hunted down by the police. This time we do not have Dr. Richard Kimble, Sam Gerard, or the One-Armed Man factor into the plot. Instead, we have Boyd Holbrook as Michelangelo Ferro, an ex-con who is accused of a terrorist attack and goes on the run. After him is Detective Clay Bryce, played by Kiefer Sutherland, who has a grudge lingering since the events of September 11, 2001. The two engage in a cat-and-mouse chase through Los Angeles. But, while Holbrook and Sutherland are the primary characters in this series, there is an entire supporting roster who gets a fair amount of screen time. In fact, this series feels more like an ensemble series rather than focused on the titular fugitive.

TV Review, Quibi, The Fugitive, Kiefer Sutherland, Genesis Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Crime

From Genesis Rodriguez as one of Bryce's detectives to Natalie Martinez as Mike Ferro's wife, there are a lot of female characters in the cast but the most prominent is Tiya Sircar as reporter Pitti Patel. Working for a BuzzFeed/TMZ style news outlet, Patel butts heads with her boss Jerry Conwell (Glenn Howerton) over risky tweets and leaks to the public that impact perception of Mike Ferro's involvement with the terrorist attack. This is clearly a way to work social media and internet news into this timely story while also damning the world of fake news that swirls around our devices on a daily basis. A lot of time is spent with Pitti and the media perspective in this tale. While it certainly is timely enough to incorporate these other perspectives into the narrative, for the short-form presentation that Quibi promises, I was hoping for a more focused tale centered on the "man on the run" format.

In the first episodes shared on Quibi today, some elements immediately jumped out at me. First, it is a weird choice to name the main character Michelango. Sure, they call him Mike most of the time, but it just seems like a bizarre and deliberate choice on the writer's part. Then there is the fact that Boyd Holbrook, a native of Kentucky, hides any hint of an accent while Kiefer Sutherland, a Canadian, is playing a New Yorker living in Los Angeles with a slight Southern accent that goes in and out. Maybe Sutherland was trying to emulate Tommy Lee Jones' Oscar-winning take on Sem Gerard in the 1993 film THE FUGITIVE or maybe it was just a poor creative choice. Either way, Sutherland plays Bryce almost as if he is a surrogate for Jack Bauer. In many ways, this series feels like a fugitive take on 24, and part of me wishes the creators had made that series rather than going with this.

TV Review, Quibi, The Fugitive, Kiefer Sutherland, Genesis Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Crime

Created by Nick Santora (Prison Break, Scorpion) and directed by Stephen Hopkins (PREDATOR 2, BLOWN AWAY), The Fugitive looks like a higher-end network television series. There are some intense chase sequences and the explosive event that kicks off the series, but overall the scale of this show is fairly small and doesn't compare even to Quibi's Most Dangerous Game. The series doesn't really distinguish itself in the opening episodes to make it feel worth rebooting the classic series and iconic title. What we get instead is a show that is unevenly split over short chapters and doesn't have the narrative flow that a full-length half hour or hour-long show could provide.

Both Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook have charisma to spare and both feel miscast here. If anything, flipping the roles and having Holbrook play the cop and Sutherland as the fugitive would have been a much more entertaining show. Airing on Quibi, The Fugitive never works as a movie told in chapters and doesn't add up as an episodic series. It is harmless and you may have fun with it, but this reboot is a waste of the source material. Hopefully, Kiefer Sutherland takes on a project that ends up being as iconic as Jack Bauer but this is definitely not it.

The Fugitive premieres on August 3rd on Quibi.

The Fugitive

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Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been JoBlo.com's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.