Righteous Kill

  In all their years of dominating the testosterone driven lead roles in Hollywood dramas, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino have done exactly one scene together. This isn’t a good trivia question since everybody knows it was in Michael Mann’s Heat. The trailers for Righteous Kill probably give them more screen time together. Frankly that scene in Heat was tacked on and actually hurt the structure of the film. But when you’ve got Pacino and DeNiro in the same film, you’ve got to get them together. Nobody much minded.
  Now Jon Avnet has gotten them together again for an entire film. They play two NYPD cops who have been fighting the good fight on the streets for too many years. They’re angry that so many of their collars go free and they don’t care who knows it. So when these criminals start getting murdered guess who are the prime suspects?
  Unfortunately, after slogging through an hour and a half of this mess, you probably won’t care. There’s a neat twist in here upon which someone could probably hang a good film. But that someone isn’t Jon Avnet nor his screenwriter Russel Gewirtz. It’s like they relied on their high powered stars to provide the depth to the characters. But without any meat in the script to chew on, DeNiro and Pacino just looked bored. Instead of challenging each other to new heights of acting prowess like you would hope and expect, they both seemed to phone it in.
  Of course these two phoning it in is still watchable, but it could have been so much more. Hopefully someday, someone will get them together again for a worthier project.


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September 2008
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