HARRISON Ford is a curious case. He is the most consistent box office hitman in recent history, but still one has to suspect that he is not really a big draw in the way Tom Cruise or Arnold Schwarzenegger are. Perhaps he is just lucky, or perhaps he is just smart in choosing the right projects (the dreadful Regarding Henry aside). He works well and he knows what he's good at - playing ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances; he has a powerfully ordinary kind of charisma and good looks that reflect well on all us other, ordinary, men. Like those slightly older screen dinosaurs, Sean Connery and Clint Eastwood, Ford appeals both to grown men and women, which is a relatively rare quality in a film star these days. The problem with adult audiences is that they tend to want something more than just star presence and a few pretty explosions for their money. They expect a story well told - and from The Fugitive they just about get it. This season, quite appro priately, is turning into something of an Autumn of the Oldies - with both Connery and Eastwood having their own action-thrillers ready for release here soon. I have not yet seen Connery in Rising Sun, but word is that it is a fair bit better than Eastwood's In The Line of Fire. The Fugitive is based on a '60s television series I never saw, but I'm told its format was the inspiration for shows like The Incredible Hulk and Starman, in both of which a man on the run hits a different town each week, does everyone in it a world of good and then moves on, pursued by an obsessive authority figure. The full formula would scarcely have room to work well in a self-contained film that requires a beginning, middle and end, but there are traces of it, as Ford's fugitive doctor lays on the healing hands wherever he gets the chance. Ford is Dr Richard Kimble, a successful Chicago specialist. He has one of those bushy actor's beards which are only grown to be shaved off at the earliest convenient moment. He looks pretty stupid in it, and worse than that, he is convicted of brutally murdering his rich socialite wife for her money. He didn't do it, of course (we know that), and as a result of the film's most brilliant scene (a combined bus and train crash which is a terrifically realistic reminder of just how far film special effects have come in the years since Ford flitted aroundthe galaxy in Star Wars ) he escapes, loses the beard as a cunning disguise and heads back to Chicago to prove his innocence and bring Mrs Kimble's real killer to book. Hot on his heels is rock-hard redneck sheriff, Tommy Lee Jones, who doesn't give a heckif the doc is innocent or not - to him this starts out as just good hunting. The Fugitive's main faults are that not enough clues are scattered around early on for us to build our own case against the true murderer. Then, when we are clued-up at about the midway point, the identity of the ultimate villain is so heavy-handedly signalled that it rather ruins the suspense of the second half. The plus points, though, are that Ford and Jones are both compulsively watchable actors and that Ford is likable enough for us to be genuinely rooting for him. There is a fine tension-building soundtrack, and the set-piece scenes are admirable.