Righteous Kill Review

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Long-time partners Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) begin an investigation into a serial killer who’s targeting scumbags. But as the evidence begins to mount up, it becomes clear that the killer is not only a cop, but might be closer to home than anyon


This is it, folks - the film everyone’s been talking about. The one that reunites two of the biggest names in movies. And the question on everyone’s lips is: can Jon Avnet and Al Pacino really recapture the magic of 88 Minutes with Righteous Kill?

Well, that wouldn’t be hard, but of course, that’s not the pairing everyone’s talking about. After all, the last on-screen, same-frame pairing of Pacino and De Niro came in Michael Mann’s classic crime epic, Heat. If that was the cinematic equivalent of the Big Bang, Righteous Kill is a Large Hadron Collider, trying desperately to recreate that seminal spark. We’ll spoil the suspense: it doesn’t.

Where Heat had sprawl and ambition and was about so much more than cops ’n’ robbers, Righteous Kill is a rote and lumbering thriller that forgets to supply any thrills, and which hangs on the revelation of a twist so obvious that tension dissipates long before the so-called big reveal. And Avnet, simply put, is no Michael Mann.

There’s not a single memorable shot in the entire film, not one moment when convention doesn’t crash into cliché. If, for example, you thought the old trick where someone says, “Oh, it’s you” to an unknown assailant before being bulleted to bits had long since died, it makes an unwelcome and unwise comeback here. About three times.

Credit where it’s due, though - Avnet makes sure his cracking cast deliver, with Carla Gugino’s slinky CSI the pick of the supporting players. But this is The Al And Bobby Show, and if neither man/genius/legend (delete as applicable) particularly stretches himself here, it’s a joy to watch two masters interact over the course of a movie instead of a one-scene blow-out.

Russell Gewirtz’ script has many flaws, but its principal strength is a constant flow of wiseass dialogue for Pacino’s whip-smart Rooster and De Niro’s more stoic Turk - and, especially in the early scenes, the duo appear to be having enormous fun with pop-culture banter about The Brady Bunch and ’70s cartoon Underdog, or effortlessly conveying a lifetime of friendship wordlessly. It’s a shame, in fact, that the rest of the movie can’t match their class. Righteous Kill isn’t so much Heat as Lukewarm.

It’s a sad indictment of the lack of good scripts out there with lead roles for senior citizens that Al and Bobby had to spoil their scorecard with this workaday nonsense.