The Jackal (film)

The Jackal (film)

:"The Jackal" redirects here. For other uses, see Jackal (disambiguation)"Infobox_Film
name = The Jackal

caption = Film poster
director = Michael Caton-Jones
producer = Michael Caton-Jones Sean Daniel James Jacks Kevin Jarre
writer = Chuck Pfarrer
starring = Bruce Willis Richard Gere Sidney Poitier
Diane Venora
Mathilda May
music = Carter Burwell
cinematography = Karl Walter Lindenlaub
editing = Jim Clark
distributor = Universal Pictures
released = November 14, 1997
runtime = 124 min.
language = English Russian
budget = $60,000,000 (estimated)
imdb_id = 0119395|

"The Jackal" is a 1997 suspense film starring Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, Diane Venora and Sidney Poitier. It was directed by Michael Caton-Jones. While its title is similar to the 1973 film "The Day of the Jackal", it shares only the main story point of an anonymous assassin and some general plot elements.


A joint mission of the American FBI and the Russian MVD leads to the death of the younger brother of a Russian mobster. In retaliation, the mobster hires an enigmatic assassin known only by the pseudonym "The Jackal" (Bruce Willis) to carry out the killing of an unknown-to-the-viewer target. The Jackal's price is $70 million, with half paid up front and the other half payable upon completion of the job. If word of the operation gets out, the Jackal has the option whether or not to continue; either way the initial payment is his to keep. The Jackal advises the mobster to find a place to hide out until after the operation is complete.

Whilst he is hiding out the Russian MVD capture one of the mobster's henchman in Finland; during the interrogation he reveals information about the Jackal. This coupled with the documents recovered from the henchman's briefcase lead the FBI and MVD to assume the target for the retaliatory hit is FBI Director Donald Brown.

As the Jackal begins his preparations for the assassination the FBI learns of one person who can identify the Jackal. FBI Deputy Director Carter Preston (Sidney Poitier) and Russian Police Major Valentina Koslova (Diane Venora) turn to a former Irish Republican Army sniper named Declan Joseph Mulqueen (Richard Gere), who had a relationship with a Basque woman named Isabella Zanconia (Mathilda May), whom they believe can identify The Jackal. However, Mulqueen refuses to tell them the whereabouts of Zanconia, saying instead he will take them to her. The FBI declines the offer; as they are leaving he claims to have met the Jackal. The price of his help is his release from prison and a pardon so he can return to Ireland. The FBI cannot grant his request but Mulqueen settles for their best efforts to get him freed.

It becomes apparent that Mulqueen, Zanconia, and the Jackal have a history, but it isn't until Mulqueen reveals that the Jackal wounded Zanconia while she was pregnant with Mulqueen's child do Preston and Koslova realize why it's so personal.

After a botched assassination attempt on Zanconia, the Jackal kills two FBI agents and mortally wounds Koslova. As she is dying the Jackal tells Koslova if she sees Mulqueen before her death to tell him, "You can't protect your women."

Preston and Mulqueen decide to barricade the Director in a military base. Mulqueen ponders the message the Jackal left for him, and deduces that the target is not the Director but First Lady (Tess Harper).

The Jackal (pretending to be gay) has in the meantime been dating a gay man, in order to gain a location near to the assassination attempt to hide his minivan with the gun inside. Earlier in the movie, when he cased the area, he stole a parking permit from a parked car to be used for the assassination plot. The Jackal goes to his house to rig the gun in his minivan. The Jackal, eating ordered Korean food, seems very peculiar to the man and appears to have lost interest. A news report comes on the television, telling how the authorities are looking for him, with a drawing of him but in a disguse. The gay man sees the drawing and the Jackal kills him in cold blood as he did not want any people left alive to identify his face.

While opening a hospital the First Lady is giving a speech; the Jackal attempts the assassination via a remote computer controlled machine gun mounted in a nondescript minivan located nearby. Preston shields the First Lady, but is wounded in the leg.

With the assassination a failure, the Jackal tries to escape in the subway but he is confronted and wounded by Mulqueen, who is also wounded. The Jackal gains the upper hand by taking a civilian hostage, forcing Mulqueen to surrender his weapon. As the Jackal is about to kill Mulqueen, Zanconia sneaks up from behind and shoots him in the neck. Thinking the Jackal is dead, they lower their guard, and the Jackal again attempts to kill them. Mulqueen grabs Zancona's gun just in time and shoots the Jackal dead.

Preston, recognized as a hero and an "untouchable" for saving the First Lady's life, tells Mulqueen he knows that someone in his "line of work" would have money and papers to start a new life if he went on the run. He then tells Mulqueen he's going to get some coffee and won't be back for thirty minutes, leading the IRA man to smile as Preston sincerely thanks him. They head off in separate directions as it is revealed that the Jackal is buried in a unmarked grave by a garbage dump.


*Bruce Willis - The Jackal
*Richard Gere - Declan Mulqueen
*Sidney Poitier - FBI Deputy Director Carter Preston
*Diane Venora - Maj. Valentina Koslova
*Mathilda May - Isabella Zanconia
*J. K. Simmons - Special Agent T. I. Witherspoon
*Richard Lineback - Special Agent McMurphy
*John Cunningham - FBI Director Donald Brown
*Jack Black - Ian Lamont
*Tess Harper - The First Lady
*Leslie Phillips - Woolburton
*Stephen Spinella - Douglas

Box office reception

"The Jackal" premiered November 14, 1997 with an opening weekend totaling $15,164,595. It would go on to gross $159,330,280 worldwide. [ [ The Jackal (1997) - Weekend Box Office Results ] ]

Critical reception

The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. Roger Ebert of the "Chicago Sun-Times" called it a "glum, curiously flat thriller" [ [ :: :: Reviews :: The Jackal (xhtml) ] ] ; Ruthe Stein of the "San Francisco Chronicle" called it "more preposterous than thrilling" [ [ `Jackal' Can't Hide From Absurd Plot / Willis alters look in mishmash thriller ] ] ; and Russell Smith of the "Austin Chronicle" called it "1997's most tedious movie". [ [ The Austin Chronicle: Film Listings ] ]

Fred Zinnemann, director of "The Day of the Jackal", fought with Universal Studios to change the title of the movie so it wouldn't have the name of the original classic. He was 89 years old at the time. (Frederick Forsyth, who wrote the novel the original film was based on, also publicly distanced himself regarding his novel and the remake.) The film was credited as being "based on the screenplay for "Day of the Jackal" by Kenneth Ross." The producers of the film were disappointed as they admired the original film and novel.

The movie does borrow several plot points, characters, and even lines of dialogue from the original film, including:

*The Jackal's meeting with the head of the group that wants to hire him (the French OAS in the original, the Russian Mafia here), his insistence on complete anonymity, and his repeated phrase "Half now, half upon completion".

*The Russian Mafia heads hole up in a pension (hotel) in Porvoo with a team of bodyguards (Russian police and FBI officials learn in a briefing via slide show). Unable to extract them, Russian police make an unauthorized capture of their courier, who reveals the assassination plot under torture. The capture of the courier is filmed in an almost identical manner to the original.

*A scene of the shirtless Jackal spray-painting his car was used in the original.

*The Jackal kills gunsmith Jack Black for trying to extort additional money from him by holding the plans for his weapons. (In the original, it was the passport forger rather than the gunsmith who does this.) The dialogue between the two characters is almost identical to that of the Jackal and the forger in the original film.

*At a meeting of investigators, Preston plays a tape recording of the Jackal's source and one of those present admitting their guilt. Also the exchange: "How did you know whose phone to tap?" "I didn't, so I tapped everybody's."

*The Jackal picks up a gay man (Stephen Spinella) at a bar and later kills him. In the original, it was to gain a place to stay the night; in this case, it was to gain a parking permit to be used for his assassination plot. In both films, the Jackal kills him during a TV newscast warning of the Jackal's identity. Bruce Willis reportedly made the filmmakers reshoot this sequence so it was made clear that the man was murdered because he knew the Jackal's identity and not because he was gay.

*In a subplot which was scripted but cut, the Jackal went to Charleston and seduced a woman in order to gain a place to stay.

*The final scene takes place at the Jackal's burial, with one of the investigators (Preston) asking, "Who the hell was he?"


Behind the scenes

* Sean Connery, Liam Neeson, and Matthew McConaughey were all invited to be in the movie, but they all turned it down.
* Originally, Gere was selected for the Jackal's role, but asked to play Mulqueen instead.
* Edward Fox, from the original Jackal, turned down a possible cameo appearance, probably as the banker the Jackal deals with on the overseas transfers.
* "The Jackal" was filmed in Richmond, Virginia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Moscow, London, Helsinki, Porvoo, Toronto, and Montreal.
* The Washington D.C. Metro system in the movie is actually the Montréal Métro. The details about distances between stations and the colors/sizes of Metro signs did not correspond to the real D.C. system, either in 1997 or at the present time.

ee also

* The Jackal (soundtrack)
* The Jackal (fictional character)
* KPV heavy machine gun


External links

*imdb title|id=0119395|title=The Jackal

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