Righteous Kill pairs two cinematic icons whose previous screen collaboration, Michael Mann's 1995 Heat, was absolutely electrifying despite minimal time together in a long movie. Now in their mid-60s, De Niro and Pacino are playing veteran cops who, despite being grizzled, should look much younger than these actors. The incongruent casting makes the dark story improbable from the get-go, and things get worse as dialogue by screenwriter Russell Gurwitz quickly sounds like a parody of vintage cop movie cliches. It's a strain to find anything that works. The two leads play longtime detectives and partners whose weariness with rapists, murderers, pedophiles and other villains appears linked to the acts of a serial killer taking out bad guys who got away with heinous crimes. A videotape confession by De Niro's tightly-coiled Turk--who has been seeking the killer with Pacino's Rooster--would seem to establish his ties to the events. But the movie isn't over until it's over, assuming one is still with the movie after plodding along with its facsimile of noir conviction. Director Jon Avnet never gets a handle on Righteous Kill's gritty heart, superficially pushing suspense along with heavy-handed editing, and adding unpersuasive sauce in the form of Turk's somewhat S&M sexual relationship with a female cop (Carla Gugino). Giving the proceedings sort of a boost are Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo as a younger pair of sleuths working the same case. This could easily have been a better movie with those two in the leads. --Tom Keogh
Stills from Righteous Kill
Turk and Rooster, two aging NYPD detectives who have been longtime partners are faced with a serial killer who is murdering sociopathic criminals. They both have personal issues, and when they start working with a younger team, Perez and Riley, tensions between the pairs of partners is inevitable, especially since Turk is now living with Perez's ex-girlfriend, also a homicide detective.
MORE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT
After 30 years as partners in the pressure cooker environment of the NYPD, highly decorated Detectives "Turk", played by Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro (Raging Bull) and "Rooster", played by Academy Award® winner Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman) should be ready for retirement. But, before they can hang up their badges, they are called in to investigate the murder of a notorious pimp, which appears to have ties to a case they solved years before.
This adrenaline fueled psychological thriller features hip-hop superstar Curtis Jackson (Get Rich or Die Tryin'), Carla Gugino (Sin City), John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge!), Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II and III) and Brian Dennehy (Death of a Salesman ) and was directed by Jon Avnet (Red Corner) and written by Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man).
PRAISE FOR THIS TITLE
"De Niro and Pacino, reHEATed." --Richard Corliss, Time
"'Righteous Kill' delivers the goods!" --Prairie Miller, WBAI Radio
"The two best actors live at the top of their games, with a twist at the end that will blow you away." (four stars) --CNN, "Larry King Live"
Righteous Kill is a classic cop thriller, with an absolutely amazing cast.
DeNiro and Pacino are great together. They hardly ever speak higher than a
whisper as the two disillusioned cops work to solve their last and most
important case. Perhaps understated, this is no stick-em-up shoot-em-out action
thriller, its more subdued then that. A good film for anyone who likes cop
thrillers, Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino.