In Moscow, the FBI and their Russian counterpart, the MVD, are working on a joint mission to apprehend Russian mobster Ghazzi Murad specifically for the murder of Mayor Nikolai Semankho. During the arrest, they are forced to kill Ghazzi. Ghazzi's brother, Terek Murad, also a mobster, begins his own form of deadly retribution against the MVD for Ghazzi's death. But the FBI and MVD also get wind that Terek has hired an assassin by the code name Jackal to carry out a hit on a high profile but unknown American target for the Americans sticking their nose in Russian affairs. Intelligence points to that target being Donald Brown, the Director of the FBI. The Jackal is known only by name and reputation but no one in authority knows who he is, what he looks like or if he even really exists. They learn of only one person alive who they know has had ties to the Jackal: former Basque separatist Isabella Zanconia, whose whereabouts are unknown. As such, the FBI and MVD decide to turn to the one ...Written by
The Australian Theatrical version omitted the shot where The Jackal shoots Lamont's arm off in the testing scene, and removed the line in the nightclub scene in the beginning where Terak's brother calls Valentina a "scar-faced c**t". These cuts were made so the movie would achieve an M rating (recommended 15+ years). The full version was released on video with an MA rating (restricted 15+ years). See more »
I had a bit of fun reading through user comments on Jackal, and there are two perpetuating issues in about 90 percent of them: 1) this "version" of "Jackal" has nothing on the original (because the original was "oh so great") 2) only idiots enjoyed this version (because its plot is silly).
My response would be: 1) the original wasn't so great either (go ahead and jump at me) 2) anybody who thinks only an idiot would enjoy silly movies is an idiot himself.
On the first point - why is even so necessary to compare remakes to originals if they can stand perfectly on their own? This one can. In fact it even has advantages over its classic predecessor, such as better editing, better cinematography and even better acting. You may think I'm holding onto a straw here by nitpicking but I'm an odd person that values the benefits of modern productions.
On the second point - if silliness (better yet stupidity) of the plot was the criteria by which to avoid the movie, I would probably have seen only about a dozen movies in my lifetime. I would have avoided Bond movies, period movies, parodies and what not. And I'd be poorer for that. So, forget silliness, it's no big deal.
Now a little on the movie itself. The plot is indeed stupid (for an in-depth analysis I recommend reading hilarious Roger Ebert's review). The cast reversal is also a bit of misfortune as Gere was initially supposed to be the Jackal. The fact that the role eventually went to Bruce Willis, together with adventuristic nature of Jackal's business, made me root for the bad guy as I never did before. He is conceived as sort of an upgraded James Bond here, being more ruthless, with drier sense of humor and taking advantage of both sexes (not only females) to his cause.
I don't know if making bad guy look good was the intention on part of the film crew, but it turned out a very subversive move for a typical Hollywood venture (making an IRA terrorist that pursues Jackal a likable guy as well is probably another one, but I wont go into that). All in all, it was a suspenseful voyage with such a good pace that you don't care about the shortcomings at the first viewing, so I say it's recommendable. There are certainly far worse ways you could waste two hours.
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