The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

I like movies that teach us things.

Babe, for example, taught us that we should be kind to animals and that sheep have a password.

Starship Troopers taught us that we should step on and kill every insect we see. Well, that wasn't exactly new information, but it's always nice to see your beliefs portrayed on screen.

The Jackal also teaches us an important lesson. It teaches us that Richard Gere is not Irish.

OK, so the movie is loosely based on an old book by John Forsythe called "Day of the Jackal." Loosely based. So loosely, in fact, that the credits say it is actually based on another screenplay which was called, remarkably enough, "Day of the Jackal."

But you had to figure they'd play around with the story since the original is all about some guy trying to kill Charles DeGaulle. Yeah, that'll play well in Kansas.

So here comes Hollywood and The Jackal. Bring in Bruce Willis to play the lethal assassin known only as "The Jackal." (Hence the title.) Bring in Richard Gere to play a reformed Irish Terrorist. (A part which in the original book is actually a French policeman of some sort.) Lose DeGaulle. Bring in some people high up in the American government. There's your movie.

Did you get all that?

Bruce is hired to kill someone. Richard is taken out of prison by the government to stop him. There's a bunch of chicks who kick ass, and we all know how much I enjoy that.

Problem is, this baby just doesn't have much for me. It's by the numbers. Bruce is fine as the personification of evil. But no one can take him seriously as a bad guy. I mean this guy has saved the Nakatomi Plaza, Dulles Airport and New York City and now he's out killing people? I don't think so. Bad casting.

And Richard...sigh. Did I mention that he's not an Irishman? He's not. Someone should have told him this before he tried to be one.

There are jumps in the plot which defy logic. Like where they want to protect one woman, so they move her out of her house. Then, after her house is raided by the bad guys, she shows up there again. Uhm...excuse me, miss? But we just went through a firefight to protect you. What the hell are you doing here? If I had died in that firefight, I'd be pissed, that's for sure.

The movie is a bit violent. Which shouldn't really shock you, since it's about a hired killer. But it's really quite bloody at times. Yipes.

OK, new gripe. Who does the opening credits? I'm not a big-time credit maker, but I don't think they did a good job fitting the credits to the movie. While this is a big action, shoot 'em up thriller, the credits are done in total techno garbage. It just felt wrong to me. But then, I have been known to be a little opinionated at times.

All told, and I've told as much as I feel like right now, The Jackal gets 3 Babylons even. It runs through the paces, but does it well. You'll jump, you'll cheer a little, you'll look at your watch. This ain't no Spartacus, but it ain't no Speed 2, either.

Editor's Note:

I seriously doubt that The Self-Made Critic has ever seen Spartacus, so take that comment with a grain of salt. In fact, take most of his review with a grain of salt, we do.

The Jackal
Rated: R
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Starring: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, and other assorted bad guys.

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