The Jackal 0.0 stars

Notwithstanding the dropping of three words of the title, the re-do of The Day of the Jackal has not approached its task with a mind to downsizing. Over and above the obligatory bigger gun and bigger action sequences, the principal accretion is in the recruitment of an incarcerated IRA "freedom fighter" (Richard Gere, huffing and puffing with emancipationist passion) to the pursuit team on the trail of the Assassin of a Thousand Hairstyles (Bruce Willis, primly smirking as usual). As to that bigger gun: it is installed in the back of a tinted-windowed minivan and is remote-control-operated by means of a lap-top and joystick. Among the innumerable things that computers have made easier in our modern-day world is the writing, not just the typing, of film scripts. ("Transfer funds in the usual manner," the assassin croons into the phone after locating a 3-D drawing of his weapon of choice on the VDT.) The one positive sign of intelligence in the movie -- and a little more might have been expected of the director of Rob Roy and Memphis Belle, Michael Caton-Jones -- was the decision to hire Diane Venora for the part of the Russian major with the Phantom-of-the-Opera burn mark on her right temple. (Quite predictably, she is deemed expendable, but at least she gets to go down fighting.) Sidney Poitier as the FBI co-ordinator of the multinational posse has relatively little to do, and it's all pretty much downhill after his first lines in Russian with English subtitles. And the excitement of the final confrontation between the good terrorist and the bad terrorist lasts a little beyond their eye-contact in a crowded subway station, but turns to complete disgust a little before the de rigueur resurrection of the seemingly slain baddy. 1997.

Duncan Shepherd

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