The best way to enjoy this 1997 thriller is to forget the much better film that inspired it (1973's The Day of the Jackal) and get whatever kicks you can from this heavy-metal remake. It's not bad as hokey thrillers go, bu... more »t all of the original film's suspenseful finesse has been traded in (not traded up) for bigger, bolder action and nonsensical plotting. It's as if Hollywood had forgotten to create excitement without resorting to overblown action and heavy hardware, but there's ample compensation in the casting of Bruce Willis and Richard Gere. Willis is the elusive assassin known only as the Jackal, whose latest target (he uses a cannon-sized gun that's anything but inconspicuous) may be the first lady of the United States. Gere plays a former IRA terrorist who is recruited by the deputy head of the FBI (Sidney Poitier) to trace the Jackal's maneuvers, and Diane Venora offers some gutsy support as a Russian-born agent who assists Gere on his mission. The movie has fun turning Willis into a master of disguise, and Gere adds much-needed gravity to counter the plot's escalating absurdity, but this is the kind of film that falls apart if you think about it too much. --Jeff Shannon« less
Great Actors, Superior Plot but Falls Short in Delivery
Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 05/31/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Director Michael Caton-Jones has created a good dramatic and suspense filled film with outstanding actors and a riveting, masterful plot. Bruce Willis plays the lead role as the "Jackal" a cold and calculating assassin. Sidney Poitier is superbly cast as the FBI Deputy Director. Richard Gere plays Declan Mulqueen, an IRA. terrorist, imprisoned in the USA. Diane Venora is cast as the Russian Interpol agent, Valentina Kostova. Scenes were filmed in many locations in Europe, primarily Helsinki, Finland which also served to represent Moscow, and London, England; Montreal, Canada; Chicago, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Essentially, the FBI and Russian agents managed to kill a Chechnyan mobster. Unfortunately, his brother is out for revenge and hires the Jackal to assassinate a top US official ... Initially, they believe the target is the Director of the FBI. However, as time evolves, Declan Mulqueen discovers who the real target is.
Bruce Willis is chilling and real in his role as the Jackal. He engages in multiple disguises and identities throughout the film to achieve his goals. He manages to get a computer guided high tech weapon built and smuggled into the United States undetected. He gains entry into the US via a power boat over the Lakes from Canada to Lake Michigan and there he joins a boat race in Chicago by blending in. The FBI gets permission to spring Declan Mulqueen out of jail ... in order to get his help to identify and apprehend the Jackal. He makes a deal to win his freedom, then joins in the chase to catch the Jackal.
It turns out the Jackal has another murder in mind along with accomplishing the task for which he was hired. The Jackal has an old score to settle with Isabella, a woman from his past who can identify him. She survived his attempt to kill her. She was a Spanish terrorist of Basque origins who worked with Declan Mulqueen many years ago. They had been lovers and she was pregnant with his child when the Jackal shot her ... It seems Declan Mulqueen also has a score to settle with the Jackal. While the plot is well developed, the film drags on a bit, as much of the film involves chasing the Jackal while he deviously manages to avoid detection, When he gets closer to his target and the deadline ... the film picks up speed and the story becomes more fascinating and complex. The ending is exciting and satisfying. Some feel the film made in 1973, "Day of the Jackal" upon which this film is based, is superior. Never having seen the former, I can only judge this film. Overall, this could have been a *more* exciting film given the action, drama, and well layed out plot but too much time is wasted in the big chase which makes one feel the film is much longer than it should be. Erika Borsos [pepper flower] "
A cheap imitation of a beautiful original
Moeed Pirzada | 12/21/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Even with nothing better to do this film was a total waste of time. It hurt's to watch each and every moment of this movie-- especially if one compares this cheap imitation, with its overblown, and overbombed scenes to the original Day of the Jackal. By the last scene it left me calling for the blow up of the first lady to bring some interest to the movie."
Remake Without Connection to Original, but Not Bad
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 07/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Caton-Jones is one of those directors who never makes a really good movie, but usually there's something interesting about them. Actors must love him because he's certainly lured a lot of the best into his productions. Maybe that's his weakness, a penchant for big names and not really being able to offer them proper vehicles for their talents. They wind up overacting, out of control. DOC HOLLYWOOD is a good example. Cute premise, appealing stars, and what happens? Caton-Jones fails to lift it out of routine romantic comedy. He had an attractive cast, and a fantastic soundtrack, in SCANDAL, the 1989 film of the Profumo/Christine Keeler affair, but it just sat there and failed to give off sparks. MEMPHIS BELLE was more of the same, a war picture that did not revive the war picture as it was meant to. ROB ROY was an aimitation of BRAVEHEART and CITY BY THE SEA--well, what the devil was that anyhow? Caton-Jones had a real success with THIS BOY'S LIFE, in which he uncovered layers of talent in the young Leo DiCaprio, but one is not surprised he is now directing the BASIC INSTINCT sequel RISK ADDICTION. I bet it's a pip.
However, THE JACKAL isn't half bad and in some ways it might be the best of the bunch. Again the enormous cast of talented actors, among them the amazing Diane Venora (of Michael Mann fame) here going all Russian and Ninotchka is some wonderful outfits and the frosty, wet look of one torn between allegiances. Sidney Poitier is in it too, sort of a waste of Poitier's once great talent. Really anybody could have played the part. Richard Gere strikes all the right notes and plays an IRA terrorist, Declan, with a heart of gold and smart as all get out, who helps the USA solve the problem of who will the Mafia send to kill the first lady. (I know, what a ridiculous story, and in such bad taste in our age of terror.) Still Gere is terrific and makes all the right deductions and eventually we begin to realize that none other than Bruce Willis is really evil Carlos, the original Jackal, the hit man beyond compare.
When one compares this film to the original, Apollonian classic made by Fred Zinnemann in the 1970s, one realizes that perhaps they changed De Gaulle to the First Lady because focus groups were employed to find out that nowadays no one knows who De Gaulle was, and presumably everyone knows the First Lady. How stupid! For "First Lady" Tess Harper, once an important actress in US cinema, this was her last movie of the 1990s, and in fact her final studio picture (since then she has appeared in one obscure indie after another. And yet THE JACKAL is an appealing mess of a film, everything but the kitchen sink makes an appearance, and then, around reel eight, there's a kitchen sink! You've got to love it."
Make It Charlie Eh?
Girth | USA | 01/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my most watched DVDs. This movie is ingenious. The mix of sarcastic/subtle humor and action is what keeps drawing me going back every few months to watch it again. Maybe it's the cool soundtrack or the over the top but hilariously timed choreography. The director knew what he was doing. Those that get it will love the movie and watch it again and again. Those that compare it too the original or get their meat torqued over anything they think is implausable or those that consider themsleves too 'sophisticated' are better off staying away. This is a great movie. I like it in a similiar way as I do The Saint with Val Kilmer. It would appear that unless a movie has a 80 pound woman with a large cranium skilled in martial arts or a gay cowboy or a rapper turned actor, it will be looked down upon over an upturned nose."
German import -- main movie plays fine on US players
Joe | NoVA | 02/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I imported this version from Amazon.de some time ago and can say it plays fine on Region A (US & Canada) players. While the main movie plays fine (and looks and sounds great given the age of the movie), don't expect the extras work on your US player (as they are not encoded in 1080p)."