The Jackal

Cold War nostalgia drives this loose reworking of 1973's DAY OF THE JACKAL, a globe-trotting thriller about a mercenary assassin on a mission and the man who stops him. Hired by a vengeful Russian gangster to send a message to the U.S., the Jackal (Bruce Willis) begins plotting the assassination of a high-profile government figure with the meticulous care...read more

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Cold War nostalgia drives this loose reworking of 1973's DAY OF THE JACKAL, a globe-trotting thriller about a mercenary assassin on a mission and the man who stops him. Hired by a vengeful Russian gangster to send a message to the U.S., the Jackal (Bruce

Willis) begins plotting the assassination of a high-profile government figure with the meticulous care for which he's known. Meanwhile, an international task force that includes Russian intelligence officer Valentina Koslova (Diane Venora), FBI bigwig Carter Preston (Sidney Poitier) and former IRA

gunrunner Declan Mulqueen (Richard Gere) -- for whom they bend every rule in the book to spring from some maximum security hellhole -- is hot on the Jackal's tail. Despite its lavish budget, far-flung locations and high-powered cast, this glossy thriller falls back regularly on the old cliches,

from a lesson in gangster ethics via ornamental ax that's lifted almost intact from THE UNTOUCHABLES (think Al Capone and the Louisville slugger) to the "this time it's personal" dynamic that links Mulqueen and the elusive Jackal. Willis underplays the role of the Jackal nicely, though his

ever-shifting "man of a thousand faces" disguises suggest someone running amok at the computer makeover center: Bottle blond or brown brush-cut; mustachioed or clean-shaven; sleek power haircut or stringy regular-guy locks, there's a Bruce for every taste and style. Of the accents affected at

various times by Venora, Willis and Gere, Venora's is by far the most reliable; French actress Mathilde May comes by hers naturally, though it's not necessarily from the Basque region of Spain, as her character is meant to be. Though consistently handsome, the film never quite achieves the shallow

but hugely seductive intensity of its MTV-style opening credits sequence.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Cold War nostalgia drives this loose reworking of 1973's DAY OF THE JACKAL, a globe-trotting thriller about a mercenary assassin on a mission and the man who stops him. Hired by a vengeful Russian gangster to send a message to the U.S., the Jackal (Bruce… (more)

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