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Bruce Willis, Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier star in this international suspense thriller directed by Michael Caton-Jones. A ruthless assassin (Willis) has been hired to eliminate someone at the very top of the U.S. government. Constantly changing his identity and location, he is known only as the Jackal. Everything about this hit man, including his sinister timetable, is a secret. Aware of the Jackal's presence but uncertain of his purpose, the FBI's Deputy Director (Poitier) faces the biggest challenge of his career. In order to track down this coldblooded killer, he and a by-the-book Russian intelligence officer (Diane Venora) enlist the aid of an imprisoned Irish terrorist (Gere). These unlikely allies enter a global race against the clock to stop the mysterious mercenary before he can complete his deadly assignment. The Jackal is based on the screenplay of the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal.
The best way to enjoy this 1997 thriller is to forget the much better film that inspired it (1973's The Day of the Jackal) and get whatever kicks you can from this heavy-metal remake. It's not bad as hokey thrillers go, but all of the original film's suspenseful finesse has been traded in (not traded up) for bigger, bolder action and nonsensical plotting. It's as if Hollywood had forgotten to create excitement without resorting to overblown action and heavy hardware, but there's ample compensation in the casting of Bruce Willis and Richard Gere. Willis is the elusive assassin known only as the Jackal, whose latest target (he uses a cannon-sized gun that's anything but inconspicuous) may be the first lady of the United States. Gere plays a former IRA terrorist who is recruited by the deputy head of the FBI (Sidney Poitier) to trace the Jackal's maneuvers, and Diane Venora offers some gutsy support as a Russian-born agent who assists Gere on his mission. The movie has fun turning Willis into a master of disguise, and Gere adds much-needed gravity to counter the plot's escalating absurdity, but this is the kind of film that falls apart if you think about it too much. Still, that doesn't stop the Collector's Edition DVD from offering an impressive array of bonus features, including a director's commentary, a "making of The Jackal" documentary, deleted scenes, an alternative ending, cast interviews, and more. --Jeff Shannon
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It's a cat and mouse game throughout as the Jackal thwarts his persuers as he plans to assassinate a U.S. leader in retaliation for the FBI killing a Russian mobster's brother.
There is a twist you won't see coming towards the end so I won't give it away if you've never seen this terrific action thriller. Don't miss it!
I do have the Standard Def version so, while this is not a direct comparison between the two formats, I can refer to it. The video transfer to Blu Ray is really superb with excellent contrast and coloration, little to no grain and no artifacts of any kind. It seemed to me, early in the film, the Richard Gere's skin tone was a touch too tan for a man who had been in prison for a long time but other than that, this movie looks just beautiful. The mbps rate ranges between the mid 20's and mid 30's which is a pretty decent bit rate. The video transfer is definitely the star of this BluRay combo.
The Standard Def DVD, which I did not watch as I already had my original copy on a separate DVD, is, I think, unfortunately on the opposite side of the BluRay copy. This is not a 2 disc set. I don't know if having it on the other side is a problem. I can attest that the BluRay side is clearly, very good.
The extras are on the Standard Def side which has the same static menu as the original release did. It contains commentary and a making of documentary. Typical stuff. No deleted scenes which I often enjoy. The digital copy is a download that you do once you enter the code. I didn't bother with this.
The audio transfer to the Blu Ray DVD was really quite good though not a disc to really show off what your surrounds can pump up. The lossless DTS HD MA 5.1 audio is clean and crystal clear. The surrounds are used primarily for ambience either in action or score but there is really very little use, if any, for discreet directionality of front and rear channels. Thus, I lowered the star rating to 4. Most of the audio will be coming from your center channel speaker but the lossless audio does tend to envelope you in the action and that is a good thing.
The price of the BluRay is certainly a good one and this is a movie that would be worth upgrading to BluRay should you already have it on Standard Def. Wish I could say that about all the movies I have upgraded to.
All my movie reviews are of this nature and focus only on the quality of the transfer to BluRay so check them and see if they are of help as well.
Hopefully, this review has been of some help to you in determining your purchase, hope I am on the correct path with a review of the transfer quality as opposed to providing plot summaries.
Without a doubt, the original is better. But that doesn't mean this film is a stinker.
This film is a VERY loose remake of the original, NOT a modernization. The main storyline has changed ENTIRELY, so don't expect it to appear. But many elements from the original novel/movie DO make it into this remake: those who hired the Jackal holed up in a hotel, the kidnapping and torture of their courier to learn what's going on, the Jackal's use of multiple identities and disguises, the Jackal's changing his vehicle's color, one person who supplies the Jackal wants more money and is eliminated, etc. All these come to mind as I type; I'm sure there are some that I'm forgetting.
The remake is good, but not great. There's more shoot'em'up and less intrigue than the original novel/movie. While I don't think the shoot'em'up was overdone (the goal of the Jackal in the remake was to make a VERY public statement, not shoot a single sniper's bullet and then disappear as in the original), I do believe it was too short on the intrigue aspect of the original.
This remake works for me. I'm happy to add it to my collection.