Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 7.5 Beans
aving been the understudy for the Lucky Charms leprechaun, Richard Gere stepped nicely into the role of Declan Mulqueen, Irish pretty boy assassin "hired" by the FBI to stop Bruce Willis' character, The Jackal. Whew. I stepped into this movie knowing that it was going to be horrible and did I *EVER* get what I expected. Two hours and fifteen minutes of seat-shifting agony is what I endured as I watched this film.
Now, I'll admit, when I first saw the trailer I knew that Richard Gere plus Bruce Willis together would equal pure bile, but Sidney Poitier? The man is a cinematic god for Christ's sake! In "The Jackal," he was nothing but a lifeless shell that spat out his dialogue with the excitement of a young child receiving socks for Christmas. Anyway, I digress. The film, Ken, the film. As Mr. Miyagi said so long ago... "focus power, Daniel-son." Yes, sensei.
Here's the film in its essence: Poitier is Preston, an FBI operative teamed up with Russian intelligence to bust down members of the Moscow Mafia. Succeeding a little too well, the Russian bad guys hire Bruce "The Jackal" Willis to take out The First Lady. IRA sharpshoot Richard Gere, one of a few people that could identify The Jackal, is brought from prison to hunt down super-sly Willis.
With the birth of his character in "Pulp Fiction," Bruce Willis has apparently been type-cast into the role of "apathetic brute" -- a salute to real-life wife Demi? Who knows. The Jackal is, without a doubt, one of the hokiest figures Willias has ever played. Having bilked the Russian mafia into paying him $70 million to take out Mrs. President (half up-front, half upon completion), Bruce lives large in a non-descript mini-van that changes colors more often than Madonna changes undies. Hey, in the international world of espionage and intrigue, it's a rule of thumb that you must be able to paint and repaint mini-vans in less than a minute if you're gonna survive. The Jackal does it all -- orders a $200,000 four-foot-long super-gun, commissions a "Magic: The Gathering" poster child to build him a support base for it (the testing scene stands out in my mind as a classic example of the ever-popular saying "don't trust a man testing a $200,000 gun when he tells you to stand still"), takes out a group of hi-jackers with the old aerosol-poisoning on the handle of his mini-van gag (which, by the way, *INSTANTLY* killed a man! Does it come as a roll-on, too?), waltzes around the world effortlessly with said gun without anyone noticing, and ends up sitting mere yards from The First Lady while wearing a super-sleek cop outfit.
Richard Gere, fresh from his other blockbuster hits, must have leapt at the money he was to receive for this "BM Night" classic. Here, he plays IRA gun guy Declan Mulqueen to perfection with the cheesiest Irish accent known to man. Listen for him to slip from it into his natural accent on occasion. No wonder Cindy Crawford left him. Anyway, the Llama Llama Ding-Dong Lover tries his best to patch up an old IRA love-affair with fellow "keep it real" fighter, Isabella (played by Mathilda May, a Talia Shire look-a-like that went one too many rounds with Rocky) while hunting down The Jackal. We're led through scene after drawn-out scene with Gere's voice, Poitier's bumblings, and the female Russian major's scarred-face (she got it from wrestling G.I. Jane) as they attempt to drag this movie out to its predictable ending.
All in all, I was hoping that this movie would provide me with a big-budget bomb and it delivered on all counts. Still, "The Jackal" did provide me a chance to see legendary good actor Sidney Poitier once again, albeit in a horrible role. Ending result? Seven and a half beans.
Fun thing to do during the movie -- close your eyes and imagine that what you're hearing from Bruce is a reprisal of his role as the voice of John Travolta's adoptive son in "Look Who's Talking."
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