Reviewed by: Rick Oie
“U.S. Marshals” is the continuing saga of Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), one of the top deputies in the U.S. Marshal’s office. The story jumps right into the plot line from the opening credits, showing top secret American intelligence being sold to the Chinese. The sale is thwarted by DSS agents. Unfortunately, the agents are killed in a skirmish with the bad guy who gets away. In Chicago, Gerard and his team make an arrest on a gang of thugs in typical movieland style: lots of punches thrown and some gun play. Because of the roughness of the arrest, Gerard is ordered to escort the prisoner during extradition and then take some time off to go fishing. At the same time Mark Roberts (Wesley Snipes), an ex-CIA special ops man, is arrested after being involved in an accident because he was tied into the espionage charge. He is extradited to New York and as it so happens, is sharing a plane with Gerard. After a prisoner-induced mishap the plane is forced to make a fiery crash landing on a rural highway allowing Mark Roberts the perfect opportunity to flee. This begins a long and involved manhunt through the swamps. DSS agent John Royce (Robert Downey Jr.) joins in on the hunt to avenge the death of his fallen fellow agents.
I enjoyed watching the plot twists of this movie. As time draws on you begin to wonder who’s telling the truth and who can be trusted. The movie didn’t rely heavily on special effects or spectacular stunts. There was, of course, the plane crash, along with a couple car wrecks, and a long jump off a tall building to keep it exciting, but the story moved along at a good rate all by itself. I saw some similarities to “The Fugitive” (the crash allows for a prisoner to escape and the prisoner is running to prove his own innocence) but it really had its own unique story. I didn’t feel like I was watching a recycled script.
From a Christian perspective, this is one of the better action films I’ve seen in quite a while. The language was mild with only a smattering of curse words throughout the movie. There was some violence, fighting, gunshots, etc. but even that wasn’t overly graphic or gory. The thing I noticed the most was a complete absence of nudity, or sexual content of any kind.
I would only recommend this movie for mature teens and adults, not because of the content, but because the story line is fairly complex and difficult to follow at times. I think young teens would have a hard time following the plot and would most likely lose interest. Adults will enjoy trying to figure out who was involved in what. Jones also delivers a few classic one-liners that had our group rolling.
I was a little disappointed with the way that several critical plot elements were skipped over throughout the show. Even at the end there wasn’t a clear explanation of how everyone was involved in the espionage operation. I also felt that Snipe’s character could have had a little more dialog and screen time. He seemed to pop up only on occasion without much explanation of how he got from place to place.
Putting that aside, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys action films. It was definitely worth the price of admission.