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Old January 12th, 2018, 09:44 PM
ashdoc ashdoc is offline
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Re: Movie reviews of some off beat films that I saw recently

Two reviews of movies based on Frederick Forsythe's novels--

Day of the jackal

I saw this 40 year old movie on VCD at home on a lazy sunday --- instead of going to the cinema hall....err , multiplex---since no really good movie seems to be in the cinemas....err multiplexes .

The movie is based on the classic novel of the same name by Frederick Forsythe ; and mind you , the novel is one of the great thriller novels of all time . The movie is of course an abridged version of the novel .

The plot is placed ten years earlier than the movie , and the year is 1962---exactly fifty years ago .

That year Algeria was liberated from French colonial rule . To give some of the history behind the plot , the French didnt leave Algeria without a fight . In fact it was a bloody fight . When the Algerians revolted against the French , the French used brutal torture to quell the rebellion in what was known as the battle of Algiers ( search google for that ). But this aroused international sympathy for the Algerian cause and when world war hero Charles De Gaulle was elected as president of France he announced that he was going to give independence to Algeria .

But their was one impediment to this---the French who had settled in Algeria who formed a hefty 10 percent of Algeria's population and who believed in the slogan Algeria Francaise , meaning Algeria is France....
And they resolved to kill De Gaulle , the president who dared to think of giving freedom to Algeria .

After numerous attempts to kill De Gaulle ( and here the movie begins ) , they decided to hire a contract killer---a man who for a hefty sum of money would kill Charles De Gaulle......

......And since its a Frederick Forsythe novel , but naturally its an englishman who is chosen......

......And what an englishman......
All blond and blue eyed and lean and fit ---one wonders why he chose to be a contract killer and not an actor or model.....oh I forgot that he IS an actor just playing the role of a contract killer for a movie

....And he is a true professional.....a man on a mission.....
And when he takes up a job he acts like a man possessed......

But the moolah he demands is so much that the organisation that has hired him has to robs banks and jewellery stores and other places to get the required money---thus alerting the French govt to the fact that they are planning something big....
.....And what could be more big in this political atmosphere that the assassination of De Gaulle......
So the govt begins its hunt for the potential killer.....

But thats hardly going to deter our man on a mission---who uses the code name JACKAL.....

He uses various tricks to get multiple passports including stealing the passport of one man in broad daylight , and then kills the man who made the passports for him for daring to blackmail him---no one blackmails the jackal without incurring his wrath ( mind it !! )

And the jackal gets a telescopic gun made for him that can fit in the pipe of a car or the walking stick of a handicapped person....and finetunes it himself by spending hours in practice in the jungle.....

And he is a master of changing his disguise and his appearance like a chameleon would do.....

And using these disguises he crosses borders of nations with ease fooling guards and border security.....

.....And when the police recognise his car he just changes its colour by spraypainting it himself in the woods on his way to Paris......

Both women and gay men swoon on his chiselled features....
But the jackal has not come for fun and games and he has to kill them all to cover his tracks---leaving a pile of dead bodies behind him along the way.....

One word about the killings though---the violence is only hinted at and aficionados of slambang action may pause to frown....there are no brutal fights or bloodcurdling screams in the movie.....the action is all cerebral and the movie is a cerebral thriller.....

But the jackal has not contended for one man---a French police officer who hides a razorsharp brain behind his affable nature ; and who is on his tracks , sometimes missing to catch the jackal by inches....

The jackal is saved in these situations because the organisation he works for has a mole among the very persons the police officer reports to---and who informs the jackal of the police's every move.....

So the game of cat and mouse continues....

But the big question is---will the jackal succeed in his mission , or will the police be able to stop him ?

That can be answered only on liberation day , when De Gaulle will come to witness a parade in the capital city .

And only if the jackal manages to kill the president on the day will that day be known as the day of the jackal.....

So will it be known as that ??

Watch the movie for that.....
I found it a worthy watch......

rating---3 and a half stars .

The dogs of war---

The tin-pot republic of Zangaro---typical specimen of the hellhole that is Africa.....

Its ruled by a typically brutal dictator called Simba....oh actually it is Zimba....

But Zimba Simba who cares......they are all the same in the banana republics of Africa arent they.....

He's come to power by killing all his enemies , and to make sure no one entertains any future thought of enemity to him , he kills them before they have such thoughts.....

And he lives lavishly with his harem in the midst of his garrisoning troops in their barracks while his country is awash in a sea of crime and injustice.....

Into this godforsaken place comes our hero---posing as a wildlife photographer.....

He's instantly suspected for what he is---for who would come to this hellish place taking photographs if he is not sent by Zimba's enemies for taking measure of Zimba's power and the potential of destroying it.....

......And so he is packed off to jail where amidst myriad tortures , he meets the leader of the democratic movement of Zangaro who is cooling his heels in jail for the past 4 years for preaching democracy.....

But our hero's a white man---a citizen of the United States , and that country wont take the death of its countryman so lightly.....

So he cant be killed and has to be sent home.....

A home where the people who have sent him are waiting for his report on the situation in Zangaro......

For them he is just a mercenary , a dog of war......

.....And such dogs are expendible.......

But before such dogs are expended they have their uses.....

And his use to his handlers is to assemble a pack of dogs like himself and start a revolution in that little corner of Africa called zangaro.....

.....And their plan is to prop up a suitably black president who allows them to loot the mineral resources of his country and make money.....

But our dog is a dog with a mind of his own.....

And above all he's a good dog.....

He's not got long to live due to a fatal disease, and so has no use for the money his handlers are offering him.....

And at the end of his life he wants to do something good for humanity.....

But firstly , does he succeed in bringing revolution to Zangaro ??

Happily he does , and the director torches alight Frederick Forsythe's dull novel by moving away from the script and showing some real action unlike the novel which concentrated only on the planning of the coup and disappointingly stopped before some fighting broke out.....

As President Zimba's palace is swept by a hailstorm of firepower and the invaders fire grenades , rockets and bullets into the garrison protecting Zimba , the question is not whether Zimba will go but in how short a time will Zimba's power collapse.....

But the bigger question is---what is our hero's plan to put idealism in action in Zangaro ??

And will the people who financed him take his betrayal lying down ??

For answers to it , watch THE DOGS OF WAR.....

I found it a decent watch.....

rating---3 stars .
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