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The Jackal (1997)
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Review Date: September 27, 1998
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Writer: Chuck Pfarrer
Producers: Sean Daniel, James Jacks and Kevin Jarre
Actors:
Bruce Willis as The Jackal
Richard Gere as Declan Mulqueen
Sidney Poitier as Preston
Plot:
The Russian mob hires the Jackal to assassinate someone high up the U.S. political ranks. The FBI and Russian police work together to identify, find and arrest the Jackal, but come up empty. With few alternatives remaining, they recruit help from a jailed Irish terrorist who has already seen and met the Jackal. This is when the international chase begins.
Critique:
Overlong, action-less, semi-interesting but mostly boring so-called "thriller" which showcases some solid acting performances by Poitier and Gere, but does very little else to keep the audience awake. I have not seen the original movie upon which this movie was based, but word on the street is that it is one of the best thrillers ever! This film on the other hand, has very few thrills in it, a couple of small scenes of action, and sprinkles of intrigue. It's basically just a chase movie that reminded me a lot of THE SAINT (7/10), with all of the clever costume changes, and THE PEACEMAKER (4/10), with its cat-and-mouse hunt around the world.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Richard Gere finally stretching his acting abilities by actually playing a character other than a rich, smug guy in a nice suit! I also liked his Irish accent and his ever-popular salt-and-pepper hair. Sidney Poitier also lent some much needed credibility to this project, and pulled off a strong performance as the FBI agent struggling to find the Jackal. Willis didn't do much, but it wasn't really his fault, since the script didn't really call for him to do much more than switch disguises every now and again (Oh yeah, and he also got his Canadian accent down pat, by adding an "aye" at the end of his sentences.)

Despite all of these negative points, and the film lasting about thirty minutes past its welcome, I wasn't totally bored at any point, and did like the international aspect of the plot. I also dug the fact that the final scene of the movie was shot in the exact Metro station that I used to stand in every day of my life for three years during my years of College. Ahhhh yes...the sweet, sweet memories. But enough about me! The bottom line is that this thriller does not provide many thrills or suspense, but does offer a semi-interesting plot and some decent performances from Poitier and Gere. Having said that, if you want to see a better Jackal movie, toss some coins the way of THE ASSIGNMENT (7/10), and have yourself a good time!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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