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JACKAL, THE

SYNOPSIS:
A ruthless assassin (Bruce Willis) has been hired by international cut-throats to eliminate someone at the top of the US Government for US$70 million. Known only as the Jackal, he is a loner, constantly on the move, changing his identity and location. FBI Deputy Director (Sidney Poitier) with Russian intelligence officer Valentina Koslova (Diane Venora) realise that in order to track down this cold-blooded killer, they need to think like one. They enlist the help of an imprisoned underground Irish operative, Declan Mulqueen (Richard Gere), who has his own personal history with the assassin. Together, these unlikely allies combine forces to beat the clock in an international race to find - and stop - the Jackal.

"The original yarn from Frederick Forsyth’s novel is a good one, and this updated version relies on advanced technology and the star power of Willis and Gere. It’s an absorbing thriller, a little long, and lacking in pace at times, and I actually enjoyed this film more afterwards, on reflecting about the various elements. Gere is outstanding as the Irish operative: he easily slips into Mulqueen’s skin, and gives a charismatic, credible performance (even though it could be argued that the character is a little too likeable). Willis’ Jackal is memorable: totally self reliant, the callous loner relies on and trusts no-one, and rarely shows emotion. Willis makes great use of his face in tiny, almost subliminal gestural movements, implying a nature of the most evil kind. Less is more in this role, and used to great effect. The use of disguises absorbs (unlike Val Kilmer’s attempts in The Saint), while the plot brings some surprises and genuinely innovative ideas. Seeing Willis in a gay bar making an alliance, for reasons we later discover, is a revelation. Watch out for it. And the moment when Willis and Gere see each other for the first time, time stands still. This is body language at it’s best. Now the elder statesman, Poitier brings a swag of credibility and is good to watch. Diane Venora, as the Russian Agent, is a pleasant surprise. She is tough, likeable and her character works well. There’s a little too much gratuitous violence for my liking, and some of the detail I actually enjoyed more in retrospect. The genuine excitement and thrills that come in the last half hour are too short, and a few melodramatic moments and plot shortcomings could be modified. Nonetheless, it’s a good old fashioned thriller with enough elements to entertain and make it worth the price of a cinema ticket."
Louise Keller

"With its strong premise, a couple of fine performances and highly polished tooling, The Jackal scores as an involving high-tech thriller that occasionally hits peaks of pulsating excitement. Proficient without being genuinely inspired, and sometimes far-fetched in its plotting, this exceedingly lavish updating of a well-known novel and film stands as a solidly commercial male-oriented suspenser… The Jackal turns out to be an excellent role for the actor (Willis), who suggests an enormous store of implied menace, certitude and skill through astutely judged minimalist means. … The film’s above-the-title star power burns brightest when the Jackal and Declan come face to face for the first time; Willis’ and Gere’s stares and body language do virtually all the talking before the guns start blazing… Gere was clearly an odd choice to play an Irishman, and there are certainly any number of actors out there who would have been more plausible in the role. But this actually reps one of Gere’s least preening and self-absorbed performances, and he is not obliged to carry the film entirely on his shoulders. Poitier is a pleasure to watch, but the film’s real standout performance comes from Venora. No-nonsense in a Russian military manner and sounding like Greta Garbo in Ninotchka, her Valentina has obviously survived many battles… the actress invests her character with courage, smarts and a force of will that prevails over her seen-it-all world weariness, and the film comes most alive when she is taking an active role in the drama…."
Todd McCarthy, Variety

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The many faces of Bruce Willis



Sidney Poitier

Richard Gere

Diane Venora

Tess Harper

Director, Michael Caton-Jones

JACKAL, THE (M)
(US)

CAST: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora, Tess Harper, J.K. Simmons, Mathilda May, Stephen Spinella, Richard Lineback, Jack Black, John Cunningham, David Hayman, Steve Bassett, Ravil Isyanov, Serge Houde

DIRECTOR: Michael Caton-Jones

PRODUCER: James Jacks, Sean Daniel, Micahel Caton-Jones, Kevin Jarre

SCRIPT: Chuck Pfarrar (Based on the motion picture screenplay, The Day of the Jackal by Kenneth Ross)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Karl Walter Lindenlaub

EDITOR: Jim Clark

MUSIC: Carter Burwell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael White

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 8, 1998

Video Release: Feb 18, 1999
Video Distributor: CIC
RRP:$24.95







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