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