The Jackal (1997)

Rating: D-

Dir: Michael Caton-Jones
Star: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora

The best remakes add a new dimension to a story which was originally missed, be it for censorship or artistic reasons: hence The Thing, Cat People and The Fly. However, The Jackal seems to be little more than a superfluous retread of the original, made for no readily apparent reason. Its major innovation is to have convicted IRA terrorist Richard Gere (yep, my thoughts exactly) as the hero who helps the FBI hunt down elusive hitman Willis, before he can…whatever. This is utterly improbable and damn near offensive (bet it won’t go down well in Warrington), though Gere’s Irishman isn’t too bad.

The problem is that the original is inevitably superior, save a stupendous update of the scene where Willis tests his gun – weapons technology has moved on a lot in 25 years… The only other plus point is the presence of a surprisingly clad Mathilda May as a Basque terrorist, whom the film almost uses in an audacious climax, but then wimps out. Thus, the end result is hardly more than pointless.