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US Marshals Review

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★★★★★

US Marshals has few surprises. Perhaps its biggest is that as a sequel to 1993's The Fugitive, it has taken five years to reach the screen. Original ideas are like tea bags in Hollywood. Why waste one when you can squeeze two cups from the same bag? The trouble is, the second cup always tastes weaker.

Jones reprises his Oscar-winning role of Chief Deputy US Marshal Samuel Gerard, while Snipes has replaced Harrison Ford in the role of the fugitive. And a plane has replaced the role of the train as the vehicle he escapes from. But apart from that it's pretty much business as usual with many of Gerard's original deputies returning for duty.

Snipes turns out to be ex-CIA operative Sheridan who is wanted for the murder of two diplomatic secret service attach_s who were monitoring a Chinese spy ring. Downey Jr. is an agent assigned by the federal authorities to help the ungrateful Gerard catch the person who murdered his colleagues. And so the chase is on...

But where The Fugitive was smart, innovative and taut, this is generic, uninspired and devoid of suspense. First time around, Gerard's two-dimensional stolidity was novel and kept in check, but here, with Jones now headlining, his character becomes a parody of his former self. His clipped directives seem comical as he barks lines such as "We've got a fugitive," in case any of us were in any doubt about the film's origins while the sprinkling of supporting characters do little but make you yearn for another car chase.

Directed by Stuart Baird (Executive Decision), the film follows the shifting loyalties and objectives of Gerard, Royce and Sheridan as they run, jump and shoot their way towards the showdown. Sadly, with any character development sacrificed in favour of action, you find yourself caring little who kills who, just so long as they do it sooner rather than later.