Three Fugitives (1989)
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On the downside, there are undoubtedly soggy patches in the middle of the film, including the scene where James Earl Jones and Alan Ruck, as the two policemen leading the chase for Perry and Lucas, find it hilariously funny that Lucas was treated for a gunshot wound by a crazy vet who thought he was a dog. Another defect is the whiny music, which is repetitive and irritating.
All in all, this may not be a film to spend much money on, but is worth watching if it turns up on TV.
Nick gets SHOT! Martin has a senile old friend that takes care of Rover(Nick). James Earl Jones does a belly-laugh. Sarah overcomes her trama to change gender. Martin Changes Gender! There's a Happy Ending Such a sweet movie- after its over put A Nightmare on Elm Street in for the contrast!
Caught up in a heist-gone-wrong with a case of mistaken identity thrown into the bargain, the trio (as the title suggests) go on the lam together. Ever cop in the district is looking for them, Short is a walking disaster area, the kid wanders off at every given opportunity and Nolte just wants to ditch the other two and go straight. Easier said then done, when Short lands them in non-stop trouble, and Nolte begins to form a connection with the little girl...
It's not a laugh-a-minute split-your-sides experience, but what it IS is a perfect fusion of pathos, understated action and amusing character moments. It's easy to predict the hate-love arc of the Nolte/Short friendship, and some of the punchline are visible from miles off. But frankly, I didn't care.
All the cast play their roles so well, they transform what could have a humdrum script into something quite special. Of course, it also helps to have one of the cutest screen children around as their co-star. Makes their ongoing struggle more believable when we sees what's at stake, ya see? One to watch every few years from now on, I think. I'll never get tired of it, that's for sure. 8/10
Nowadays low budget films must have a hook, which generally means they are extremely art-housey or plain horror flicks, there aren't many little family-friendly flicks. Marketing and a lack of cross-promotion opportunities wouldn't allow it.
This is a bit of a shame, as Three Fugitives is the kind of film that you can all sit in front of the TV and kill 100 minutes without anyone in the room whining unnecessarily. Nick Nolte plays Lucas, who is being released from prison after a 5 year sentence earned by holding up 14 banks. (It was amazing seeing how fit Nolte looks here, he's still gruff and weathered but he is actually in really good shape, something he couldn't say for anything since the early 90s.) Now Lucas claims he is going straight, something that his arresting officer (played by James Earl Jones) gravely doubts. When Darth Vader stops Lucas as he leaves prison to tell him "I've got my eye on you", Lucas asks for a lift to the local bank so that he can rob it, and this is where the fun starts After entering the bank to open a new account, Lucas unwittingly becomes embroiled in a hold up perpetrated by the bumbling Ned, played by Martin Short, (who these days turns me to tears but who is fitting here, as his character is required by the plot to be pathetic and annoying, something he is in spades).
Ned ultimately screws up big and takes Lucas hostage for some reason, even though at 6 foot plus and a good 50kg heavier than Ned he could snap him like a twig. The cops, thinking Lucas really held up the bank, tell him to give up and he yells back that he has nothing to do with it, a gun accidentally goes off, Lucas is shot in the leg and off they go on the lam. (That's cops & robbers shop talk for run away.) Initially Lucas tries at the first opportunity to turn Ned in at the local cop shop to absolve himself from guilt and clear his name, he quickly realizes that Ned has no intention of giving himself up, but a lack of blood caused by the bullet in his leg removes a bit of his get up and go, so Ned takes him to a Vet for treatment.
Enter the reason for Ned's robbery and desire to remain free: 6ish year old Meg.
Meg is Ned's daughter, who hasn't spoken for years since the sudden death of her mother. Ned is unemployed and attempted the hold up to keep afloat so that Meg wouldn't need to go to a home or a special needs facility, and his desire to care for her is evident.
Lucas initially wants nothing to do with Meg and gives Ned the address of a guy who can forge him some papers so that he can at least safely skip town.
Without going into detail or the Spoiler-iffic zone, the three fugitives of the title band together through the various impediments and pitfalls that beset them in order to cross the border to Canada, with the cops on their tail the whole time.
This is very light and fanciful stuff, and a great deal of the amusement comes from watching Lucas brutalise Ned in an off-handed way, as if he does it all the time (and he probably does).
The second half of the film is Run. Escape. Run. Escape, with more and more unlikely near misses each time, all wrapped in a neat bow with a hokey 80s movie ending.
This doesn't mean the film is not entertaining though, it is a fluff piece that never seems dated despite being in its 20s, and while never scaling great heights it remains amusing throughout.
If nothing else it proves that if you try to entertaining you don't need to aim for greatness to achieve, after all for some reason it has given Robbie Williams a career.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. You won't be breathlessly describing it to mates the next day but while it is running you will enjoy yourself.
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It doesn't seem to work as a certificate 15 however, i think it would have been a fantastic family film. Saying that, i watched it as a young kid with my family, so it brings back the good old days. This is the type of film where it is almost 'innocent' laughter, it doesn't rely on sexual jokes to make audience laugh, it doesn't really rely on anything , it's just naturally funny!! It's the type of film that your chirpy Grandad enjoys!
But it should bring out the kid in you !
Unfortunately, this movie completely under-utilises one of the great American comedic actors in Martin Short. These scenes that revolve around him just drag, and you end up longing for Nolte returning to the screen. The most poignant scenes revolve around the relationship formed between Lucas and Meg. Both of these two are fantastic in these scenes, and it's that which keeps you drawn to the film longing to see how it plays out.
The Three Fugitives is a fun little movie that won't bore you, is worth watching if you see it on TV. I wouldn't bother going out of you way to view it though.
All in all 6 out of 10
In this remake of a French movie from 1986, Nick Nolte is released from prison, goes to a bank which Martin Short is robbing. At least he tries to rob it, everything goes down the drain and he takes Nolte hostage, and of course the cops think Nolte is the robber.
As I said, this is one of movies I grew up with and you always love your childhood movies, even though they might suck. And this movie really does suck. It's not nearly as good as the French predecessor, but I love it anyway. I can't help it. Sure, it's silly. It's laughable. It's way too sentimental. It's even pathetic at times.
The unlikely pairing of Nick Nolte and Martin Short works wonderfully, with Nolte as the hardened ex-con Lucas, unwittingly gets involved in the bumbling bank robbery carried out by Short (Ned Perry). James Earl Jones plays the cop who has been itching to nail Lucas once again and assumes that, once Lucas is taken hostage by Perry, that they are in it together.
The first 15-20 minutes contain some pure slapstick which has me crying with laughter every time I see it.
It is particularly heartening to see the tough guy Nolte being enchanted by Martin Short's mute 6 year old daughter.
Lovely, simple and heartwarming.
The film never strays away from the main point and it always stays focused on the three main characters Lucas, Ned and Meg. Veber's direction is decent. He doesn't rely on cheap action thrills, such as grand explosion sequences or outrageous chases. The story is quite straightforward but Veber's prime tool of entrainment is the humour which is very effective. There are some hilarious one-liners and situational humour.
With a cast that includes Martin Short, Nick Nolte, James Earl Jone and Alan Ruck, very little can go wrong. Nolte and Short are funny as an odd couple, one an ex-con and another a down-on-his luck desperate father. They work well off one another just like Earl Jones and Ruck do. The scenes between Nolte and young Sarah Doroff are endearing to watch.
In the end, 'Three Fugitives' is a funny and 'sweet' movie. It's sweet in the sense that there's just the right level of sugar, not too saccharine like the usual Hollywood flick.
Nick Nolte is probably not the greatest actor for comedies, but he still delivers well. Short is obviously hilarious, as he is most of the time, and Doroff is as good as she could be. James Earl Jones and Alan Ruck also make funny appearances.
The only really annoying part about "Three Fugitives" is the constant use of eighties guitar music in the background. That is probably the worst sounding noise in history.
Funny family movie (despite a few cuss-words), 7/10.
A confession right up front: I have never cared for Martin Short. I couldn't say why, but his brand of humor just does not appeal to me. And yet, I really enjoyed this film and thought he was pretty sharp in it. Maybe Nick Nolte is the right "straight man" to keep the balance? It appears so.
There are some emotional moments, but nothing overwhelming that turns this fro ma comedy (with slight action) into a tear-jerker. What works great for the comedy-action balance is how quickly we get right into it. We learn about the characters as we go, rather than waiting twenty minutes for things to take off. This script decision was brilliant.
Mr. Short planned the heist to get money for his mute daughter Sarah Rowland Doroff (as Meg). She hasn't spoken since the death of her mother. The plot follows writer-director Francis Veber's original French-language version, "Les fugitifs" (1986). This is the one area where "Three Fugitives" could have been made more distinctive. The little girl is amazingly cute and adds a high level humanity to the co-stars, but that could have been handled in other ways. Imagine the little girl as a sassy young teenager revealed to have prompted papa to hold up the bank - inadvertently, of course...
Another suggestion would have been to add some make-up and more womanly features to Short's disguise when he and Nolte are posing as husband and wife. This is something a teenage daughter could have helped with. Still, Martin Short is a very, very funny fellow and Mr. Veber directs everyone well. Finally, "Three Fugitives" gives supporting actor Kenneth McMillan (as Doctor Horvath) a great last role. His first appearance was on the fantastical TV serial "Dark Shadows" as a sailor frightened by the arrival of Leviathans. Always an asset, he's an old veterinarian, herein.
******* Three Fugitives (1/27/89) Francis Veber ~ Martin Short, Nick Nolte, Kenneth McMillan, James Earl Jones
Three Fugitives is beautiful to look at certainly, the sumptuous cinematography and beautiful scenery really gives the film a lovely look to it. The music is good too, as is the direction. The script is very funny and quotable and the story is believable with good action, while the pacing on the whole is secure enough. The acting also helps elevate, Nick Nolte and Martin Short's chemistry mayn't be an immediate classic, but it is believable and both men do really well in their roles especially Short who has plenty of slapstick laughs. And it was a delight to see James Earl Jones again, a great actor with a wonderful, dignified presence and rarely disappoints in his films and this is no exception.
In conclusion, an enjoyable film and worth watching at least once. 8/10 Bethany Cox
The plot doesn't amount to much but fortunately the comedy does. Martin Short is once again very funny and teams well with the gruff Nick Nolte. Together they wreak havoc, and a fair amount of hilarity, as they flee from the police with Short's adorable young daughter.
"Three Fugitives" is a comedy that will surely make you laugh, and possibly smile too. Good fun.
Saturday, May 1, 1993 - Video
Three Fugitives was no doubt inspired by the recent success of TMAAB. They're both American remakes of French comedies, and Touchstone even took the precaution of importing the director and writer of the original version, Francis Veber. I haven't seen Les Fugitifs so I can't debate how closely Veber sticks to his own material, or if he makes any drastic changes, but as it is, Three Fugitives is an amiable caper, if one that never bursts out with gut busting laughs.
Lucas (Nick Nolte) is an ex-con who's decided to go straight. But on the day of his parole, he walks into a bank and right into the middle of a hold-up. Ned Perry (Martin Short) is an incompetent bank robber who wears a nylon stocking for a balaclava. And when the robbery takes much longer then planned, that gives the police enough time to surround the place. In desperation, Ned takes Lucas hostage. But the police, who know of Lucas' track record for armed robberies think he's the robber, meaning these two mismatched men must go on the run together.
I admit to enjoying Three Fugitives far more than Three Men and a Baby. They are quite similar films at heart. Both Touchstone financed American remakes of French originals, and the plots both revolve around a youngster. In this case, Ned's mute six-year old daughter Meg. It turns out Ned pulled the robbery because he needed money to send Meg to a special school after being laid off from his job as a sales manager. Meg hasn't spoken a word since her mother died two years ago.
Three Fugitives has its funny moments. Ned's bank robbery is so hopeless it gets funnier just watching it all go wrong around him. Like when he shoots the ceiling he gets showered in plaster, his disguise splits open, and when a bank teller throws him the bag full of money, it lands in a ceiling fixture. I also liked the scene when Lucas gets accidentally shot by Ned, and Ned has to take him to a vet to get treated (like a dog!).
Its the bits in between that don't really work. All the funny parts come in isolated moments, and Francis Veber's direction isn't fast or frantic enough so the film moves in fits and starts. It seems to take too long for the film to get to anything good. The inclusion of Meg to the plot also seems a miscalculation, and suggests something of the tweeness that capsized Three Men and a Baby.
It never really boils over, even if it lacks credibility. But its not helped by Sarah Rowland Doroff's rather flat performance. Even as she begins to open up, she's just as blank in the second half as she is in the first. Nick Nolte and Martin Short have they're amusements, even if they don't exactly have cracking chemistry. They're only paired up together just to play off of each other's obvious differences. So in other words, you're typical buddy movie.
Three Fugitives still feels a bit shapeless. It just moves from one spot to the next. Some funny (like Lucas getting a job as a locksmith!). Some cringeworthy (like Ned dressed up as a woman to bypass a border check). And the film doesn't end. It just sort of stops without any real attempt at an ending. Sporadically funny. Forgotten the next day.
Martin Short and Nick Nolte make a surprisingly hilarious pairing.
There are so many funny scenes and quotes from this movie. Martin Short's slapstick, falling over and being a loser will have you laughing throughout the movie. Watch, enjoy and laugh with one of the funniest movies of the eighties.
First watch: 1993 / How many: 3 / Source: TV-DVD / Rating: 7
'Three Fugitives' Synopsis: On his first day after being released from jail for 14 armed bank robberies, Lucas finds himself caught up in someone else's robbery. Perry has decided to hold up the local bank to raise money so that he can keep his daughter, Meg, and get her the treatment she needs. Dugan, a detective, assumes Lucas helped plan the robbery, and hence Lucas, Perry and Meg become three fugitives.
'Three Fugitives' is consistently watchable, thanks to its engaging narrative. The series of events that happen with its conjoined protagonists is mostly fun. Having said that, the film doesn't work entirely. The pace drops in its second-hour & hence the impact overall, is hampered.
Francis Veber's Screenplay & Direction are good. He's written some bits well & has captured the film well. Cinematography & Editing are standard.
Performance-Wise: Nick Nolte is a complete scene-stealer, as always. Martin Short is in remarkable form, enacting his part with excellent timing. Sarah Doroff is cute. James Earl Jones is first-rate.
On the whole, 'Three Fugitives' has some problems, but they are mostly done away by its lighthearted tone & fine performances.
No doubt it's wonderful and unforgettable movie. However, the no wonderful and so forgettable is its third act. Suddenly, the hunt – of the police and the other criminals – is finished, and the end is abrupt; as if there was some greediness for a sequel. I don't know why the script didn't extend the storyline of the hunt, by the police and other criminals, for longer ?! Hence, lines like "Dugan is on our tails." near the end sounded strange, especially when (James Earl Jones) vanished after the end of the second act. Speaking about strange lines; (Nolte)'s line to the kid in the orphanage "I'll take care of you like you took care of me." reminds you of another point of weakness which is the relationship of those 2 characters. I have always thought that it needed more to it in the second act; so they may fall in love appropriately and more convincingly. I believe these points are what caused the awful fate of "received with mixed reviews" !
So, it's 2/3 classic. The detailing is fascinating; the first 10 minutes is a very good example. The music score, by (David McHugh), is one of the best I have ever heard to say the least. The image is smooth and romantic. (Haskell Wexler), the director of photography, won 2 Oscars for (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 1966) and (Bound for Glory – 1976). His cinematography can't be bypassed in other movies like (The Thomas Crown Affair – 1968) or (The Man Who Loved Women – 1983). For reasons like that he's one of 6 cinematographers to have a star on the famed "Hollywood Walk of Fame".
The cast did their top. See how (Nolte) walks, how (Short) moves, or how (Jones) reacts to understand that well; it's rare to find a performance like this in a comedy. And when it comes to (Sarah Rowland Doroff), then we're talking about the movie's treasure. Casting her ensured this movie the immortality. OH MY GOD, every time I saw her; my heart just melts. She's too fragile to make you cry. It's apparent that (Francis Veber) directed her so well to an extent of feeling how she lost the nomination for the Oscar unfairly that year.
(Veber) enjoyed us utterly, with exquisite adorable cadres, aesthetic lighting sometimes, and striking sense of comedy. He, as a writer, only lacked some balance in the last 20 minutes, and a satisfying finer climax.
This movie has a philosophical side. Review with me : you have to be a criminal to raise a child correctly these days, love makes us fugitives in this world, and it's eventually a tale of 3 fugitives who get home by belonging to each other in some kind of family; with a serious stout father (Nolte), a helpless clumsy mom (Short), and a weak child (Doroff) who messes her father and mother. They all need a getaway to run from crimes they whether didn't commit or were pushed to commit lousily. The movie showcases that family obviously at the disguise by the Canadian borders.
I love the 1980s and this movie too. With little fixing, it could have been "received with great reviews". Unfortunately, the matter of mixed reviews this round was a prove of wrong; it mirrored something uneven about it. But anyway, it's hilarious, thrilling, so sentimental, and a classic in my book.