The Jackal | Chicago Reader

The Jackal

Plotted densely enough to make the lulls forgivable, this movie concerns a contract killer (Bruce Willis) who employs several small-business owners to craft his super-high-tech weapons and the many accessories that enable him to assume multiple identities. A bad guy who's seen too many Mafia movies hopes to take revenge on an alliance of international law-enforcement agencies by hiring Willis to kill a prominent U.S. official. To prevent the murder, FBI deputy director Sidney Poitier and military officer Diane Venora arrange for the temporary release of imprisoned operative Richard Gere—who has a personal score to settle with Willis. Two subplots take particularly obnoxious turns: the meaning of a daring screen kiss is ruthlessly undermined several scenes later by some hateful symbolism, and a character's physical imperfection is put to the usual purpose of asserting that flawed beauty leads only to unconsummated love. The 1973 movie The Day of the Jackal, written by Kenneth Ross, was the basis for Chuck Pfarrer's screenplay. Directed by Michael Caton-Jones.

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