The Jackal

Bomb Rating: 

Hollywood never knows when to leave well enough alone, so it's gone ahead and made an updated version of "The Day of the Jackal," Fred Zinnemann's 1973 adaptation of the Frederick Forsythe thriller of the same name. It's butt-awful.

It opens with the FBI's Deputy Director, Carter Preston (Sidney Poitier), working a case in Moscow with Russian Intelligence officer Major Valentina Koslova (Diane Venora). Koslova kills a mobster, which leads to the discovery that his brother has hired a notorious and mysterious assassin, the Jackal (Bruce Willis), to kill an important government official. Hello? Did somebody forget that the "F" in FBI actually stands for something?

In the original movie, the Jackal was at least smart. In this version, the Jackal is a doofus. The audience is hardly convinced that he isn't going to be caught, and that the IRA terrorist freed from prison to help capture him, Declan Mulqueen (Richard Gere), isn't going to get the revenge he seeks. The FBI tracks the Jackal to Canada (with little help from the FBI's Canadian branch, apparently) because the Jackal blows a guy to bits with his big gun and refuses to drive anything other than a conspicuous-looking minivan which he keeps painting different colors.

Director Michael Caton-Jones and writer Chuck Pfarrer's final glob of spit in the face of their trusting audience is during the beginning of the idiotic climax with the Jackal and his remote control gun. This thing fires bullets that can pierce cement, yet they bother to show the Jackal rolling down the back window of his minivan to reveal the gun before it goes about its business. Who's the smart guy who came to the conclusion that showing the Jackal put the gun in the minivan wasn't enough? I certainly didn't think the Jackal was going to do an assassination by flicking boogers. Nevertheless, it almost would have been preferable to the way this film ends.

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