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The Jackal [DVD] [1997]

SKU:3366306
Release Date:04/28/1998
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Description

The Jackal is a dull, lumbering thriller that's painful to watch, not even enlivened by its periodic bursts of bloody violence or the techno-enhanced score by Carter Burwell -- yet it comes equipped with a commentary track by director Michael Caton-Jones that is scene-specific, revelatory in terms of the director's creative approach, and enjoyably detailed in its discussion of the filmmaking process. It is no surprise, however, when Caton-Jones notes that he tried to avoid allowing reality to get in the way of a good story -- an attitude that unfortunately suffuses the film as a whole. The extreme reconstruction and recutting that the film endured is addressed periodically during the commentary, though Caton-Jones never quite acknowledges that, basically, the movie was bad. The dual-layer disc also includes the theatrical trailer, brief production notes, and a lengthy "Making of The Jackal" piece that weaves in the expected interviews and on-set bits with a hefty collection of deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and a small stills collection -- the latter three accessible only from the chapter menu for the documentary (the trailer is also included in the chapter list.) The documentary is fortunately leavened by frequent bursts of humor, most of them led by Bruce Willis. From an audio and video standpoint, the disc is excellent, with a well-balanced Dolby 5.1 soundtrack for the main feature. There is also a French Dolby Surround track that tends to be far less subtle in its effects than the English track. The image preserves the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is presented in anamorphic format for 16 x 9 playback. The film transfer is very good, seeming crisp without visible artifacts, as well as maintaining the somewhat subdued color palette and excellent flesh tones. A good balance is maintained between shadows, mid-tones, and highlights, and there are some nice deep blacks. It really is ironic that a movie this poor receives a treatment this good.