Bruce Willis he has been one of the most popular action heroes that Hollywood has given us. The movies would be better or worse and he would act in a more or less orthodox way, but seeing him play a villain in ‘Jackal’ It was quite a surprise when the Michael Caton-Jones-directed film hit theaters in 1997.
In addition, ‘Jackal’ was sold alone with the fact of facing Willis, who that same year released ‘The Fifth Element’, with Richard Gere, which we had just seen in ‘The two faces of truth’. Unfortunately, the result is far from being memorable, but it does serve to have an entertaining time, something that you can do tonight by putting Paramount Network on your televisions from 22:00.
An uneven remake
Remake of the excellent 1973 film of the same name directed by Fred Zinemann, ‘Jackal’ took many liberties when adapting the story, but the most important without a doubt is to remove the character played by Gere from his sleeve. The funny thing is that it is not for me to share a multitude of scenes with Willis, since both go separately in the overwhelming majority of the footage and their scenes “together” could have been shot separately without any problem.
In addition, his Declan can cause some discomfort due to his role as a hero both because of his old IRA connection and because his romantic subplot joins his path to that of a member of ETA – impossible to believe Mathilda May in that role. A striking decision by the screenwriter Chuck Pastor when that is something that could perfectly have been eliminated to focus everything on that duel of the titans and lighten the footage of the film somewhat.
It’s not the only thing that might shock someone who sees the movie for the first time. -Willis pretending to be gay at a certain point in order to carry out his plan was already peculiar in 1997-, but beyond specific details, the most remarkable thing about ‘Jackal’ is that he manages to overcome his limitations, especially when the movie focuses more on Willis finalizing his plan.
For my part, I have always had a special weakness for the scenes that Willis shared with a then little known Jack Black. From the first moment you know that this professional relationship is going to end badly, but that does not prevent one from enjoying it. I remember that very recently Quentin Tarantino praised the end of ‘Joker’ for getting the public to think like a lunatic when that is something that here goes further by simply making us wish the same as a dangerous professional murderer.
The Jackal (Chacal) [Blu-ray]
Otherwise, Sidney Poitier brings serenity in one of his last roles on the big screen – and watch out for the cast that you will see more faces much better known today than when ‘Jackal’ was released -, while Caton-Jones chooses not to give great importance to the scenes of action, trying to make the surprises of the script work as a hook both to see how the investigation progresses to identify Jackal and for what exactly they have hired the character played by Willis.
In the end, what ‘Jackal’ offers is a kind of softened version that is easier to digest than the original, which I strongly recommend you take a look if you have it pending. There everything was more precise and fascinating, while here you experience more of the charisma of its two protagonists, although it is fair to recognize that a chameleon Willis deviates from the usual in him to compose a cold and methodical villain quite convincing, without completely neglecting its most playful side.
‘Jackal’ enjoyed a modest commercial success, since it had a worldwide income of 159 million dollars when it had cost 60. Of course, at the time there was more talk about the controversy around the poster of the film, because there was allegedly a fight of egos over which name should appear first. In the end Willis took the cat to the water but in return Gere appears in a higher position …
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Bruce Willis faces Richard Gere in an entertaining thriller serving his two stars