The Jackal (1997)

Director Michael Caton-Jones
Written by Kenneth Ross, Chuck Pfarrer

Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora, Mathilda May, JK Simmons, Richard Lineback, John Cunningham, Jack Black, Tess Harper, Leslie Philips, Stephen Spinella.

An international, and interagency mission between the American FBI and Russian MVD, goes wrong, ending in the death of a high ranking Russian mobster. His brother swears revenge, and hires a deadly assassin known as The Jackal (Willis) to kill a well known American. The FBI discover that there is a woman (May) who may be able to identify him, but she is whereabouts unknown. They request her former partner, incarcerated Irish (Gere) to help find her. When he lets them know he too can identify The Jackal, he joins their team to bring The Jackal down, in order to protect the woman he once loved, and hopefully go home.

A pretty fun and memorable action flick of the mid to late 1990’s is only made better by the cast, especially Willis who was in his prime. There are some well written characters, and the relationships/friendships made – especially between Gere, Poitier and Venora. Gere’s Irish character is somewhat jarring, and a little dated as modern cinema would likely hire an actual Irish actor to take his place.

At a little over two hours, it feels well paced, from setting up the story of all the characters, to the conclusion. It was quite organic in how the characters are introduced. For example Gere doesn’t appear until almost half an hour into the film. I honestly enjoyed every minute.

The score by Carter Burwell, was dynamic and front and centre especially during some of the transition shots that are spliced between the action and dialogue. Burwell had done some incredible scores in his time. In Bruges and Fargo are two of my favourites. He has already come up a couple of times on my reviews, and his scores are simply remarkable.

This is one of the better 90’s action flicks that do not really make you think too hard to follow the plot. There are also some very dated effects and obvious green screen usage – especially late in the film.


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