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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

The Jackal (Blu-ray + DVD) [Blu-ray]


(Michael Caton-Jones, 1997)







Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Alphaville

Blu-ray: Universal Studios Home Entertainment



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:04:29.545

Disc Size: 35,616,446,003 bytes

Feature Size: 34,733,801,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps

Chapters: 31

Case: Locking Blu-ray Case

Release date: April 27th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video




DTS-HD Master Audio English 4359 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4359 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none



• Feature Commentary with Director Michael Caton-Jones *

• The Making of The Jackal – on the DVD side (46:45) *

• Production Notes *

• Cast & Filmmakers Notes *

• BD-Live 2.0



The Film: 4
Ruthie Stein's theatrical review in the San Francisco Chronicle is more entertaining than the movie. Here are some excerpts:

"Along with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere, Bunny Parker should get star billing for The Jackal, a thriller that's more preposterous than thrilling. Parker, who is Willis' hairdresser, came up with a dozen hairdos for him -- from strawberry blond curls to a dark ducktail -- and pasted them on his head so they would stay put during the action scenes.

For all its moving around. . . from Moscow to Helsinki, London, Montreal, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Phoebus, Va. . . The Jackal is stuck on very familiar ground. Amusing performances -- especially from Willis, who takes on a new personality with each new hairstyle -- can't disguise the fact that the film is basically a pastiche of recent movies.

Director Michael Caton-Jones and writer Chuck Pfarrer would have been better off borrowing more from the original The Day of the Jackal and less from recent thrillers. Although The Jackal is an adaptation of the 1979 Fred Zinnemann movie (based on a real-life plot to assassinate Charles De Gaulle), it lacks the earlier film's stylishness and tension.

Excerpt of review from San Francisco Chronicle located HERE



Image: 7/8   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

A solid transfer of an unremarkable picture. The image is not big on resolution despite a high bit rate, rarely permitting much in the way of texture for faces, hair or clothing. Film grain is evident, as it should be, but doesn't get in the way. The lighting for the original photography generally shows the actors with little fill light, as suits this sort of cloak and dagger thriller. But for all its dark shadows, there is hardly any noise. Edge enhancement is rarely in evidence. Same for other transfer artifacts. Print is clean. It's quite possible that the Blu-ray is a faithful representation of the original movie.














Audio & Music: 8/6
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is quite good: It nails dance club ambiance perfectly, being attentive to where and how far away the music source is in relation to the actors. Gunfire is effective, with one effective instance that swirls machine gun fire around the room. It's hardly realistic but it does reinforce the emotional state of the victim. The music score opens up the soundstage nicely, but except for some background voices and arms fire, there isn't a great deal of localization of effects (not that I missed it.)



Operations: 001
Despite what could be assumed from the rear box cover, the extra features are on the DVD side, not the BRD side, which makes a sort of sense for the Making-of feature, but not the commentary, which could have been on both without much trouble! Maybe there's something amiss with my review copy.

And taking my cue from Letterman, here are the Ten Best reasons why the double-sided presentation for this Blu-ray is imaginative and courageous beyond my wildest:

10. Universal has taken my criticism about unimaginative artwork to its logical conclusion: No distracting artwork on either side of the disc.
9. A new concept in video games: Try placing the disc back in the box without getting your fingerprints on it. 5 for a smudge. 10 points for a clearly recognizable print. With 20 points, you get to clean the surface and start all over again.
8. If you damage one side, the other side is still available.
7. You can always slap some artwork on the disc; the question is: which side?
6. The Blu-ray movie is on the side that doesn't have the blue ring, and since your player reads the bottom of the disc, place the disc in the tray with the blue side facing up. Got it?
5. Can double-sided Blu-ray TV seasons be far behind!
4. You no longer have to worry about to whom you're going to give your unwanted DVD .
3. If you lose the DVD you get to re-purchase the Blu-ray, thus doing your bit for the economy.
2. You no longer need to exercise a smile when opening the case, for there is nothing there to smile at.
1. Now with only one disc instead of two, there is less stress to the shelf.


Extras: 1 *
The extra features are on the DVD side, not the BRD side, which makes a sort of sense for the Making-of feature, but not the commentary, which could have and should have been on both.


Bottom line: 4
I liked this movie somewhat less than Ms. Stein. Willis is entertaining in his trademark half-asleep way. Gere seems uninterested. Jack Black is something of a kick. Poitier, though nice to seem him back on the big screen after 20 years (during which he made only three movies), isn't enough to bring the movie to life. The movie isn't inoffensive, just dull and (I think) unintentionally funny.

Leonard Norwitz
April 24th, 2010







About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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