Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Jackal (1997)

Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Writers: Kenneth Ross, Chuck Pfarrer

Composer: Carter Burwell

Starring: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora, Mathilda May, J.K. Simmons, Richard Lineback, John Cunningham, Jack Black, Tess Harper

More info: IMDb

Tagline: How do you stop an assassin who has no identity?

Plot: An imprisoned IRA sniper is freed to help stop a brutal, seemingly "faceless" assassin from completing his next job.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

In some ways I'm being generous with the 6/10 rating.  The story is filled with cliches and the ending is utterly ridiculous but the direction and other technical aspects are just fine.  If you want to see a typical Hollywood action thriller that's by the numbers then suit yourself with this one. If you want a great, nail-biter that's got more brains than action then check out the original film, THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973).  When you cast Bruce Willis you get a character played by Bruce Willis.  That can be a good or bad thing.  There's no escaping that.  He's not really bad in this but his mannerisms he gives to every character are present and it's basically an exercise in seeing Bruce with different hair styles and accents.  I'd rather see someone REALLY get into the character and become a chameleon.  Willis doesn't.  Gere fares better but he overplays his character.  The ending is a bunch of crap with who and how Willis is stopped.  It's Hollywood bullshit all the way. The best thing about the picture were the ways The Jackal (Willis) killed his victims.  On that note I really appreciate his lack of emotion and dedication to survival and professionalism.  The story is the biggest culprit.  I understand that a film like the original would bomb at the box office despite how well received it is.  It's not sexy enough and there's very little action.  I get it.  If you've seen the original and love it then there's really no reason to check this one out unless you're curious like me. The Universal Collector's Edition DVD has an anamorphic widescreen print with extras including a 16-minute making of featurette, a director's commentary and a fullscreen theatrical trailer.  This is the director's follow-up picture to ROB ROY (1995).  He's got one come out this year but he's only directed a few episodes of TV since his last feature, BASIC INSTINCT 2, a film I'm curious to see but only because I LOVE the first film and I've heard nothing but crap about the sequel.  So bad it's good?  Well, I can only hope so.

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