Theatrical Review: Righteous Kill

Two top New York City police detectives, nicknamed Turk and Rooster, are continually frustrated at seeing collars of theirs go free by technicalities, and as the movie starts, one of them is seemingly revealing himself to be a killer, working outside the law to exact his own brand of vigilante justice. Two other detectives are also on the case, and find themselves continually thwarted at nailing who they think the murderer is. And though both Turk and Rooster have their hearts in the right place, all is not as it seems…

And yeah, I’m being as vague as I can possibly be in trying to explain the premise to Righteous Kill the new film from director Jon Avnet that teams two legendary actors together, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. This isn’t the first time that both actors have been in the same movie, they’ve both been in The Godfather Part II and Heat and unfortunately, Righteous Kill while enjoyable (to me anyway) isn’t anywhere as monumental as the other two movies.

The problem being that this is a movie with a “twist” and that “twist” is ultimately the downfall of the film. Both actors do their jobs well enough and it is fun to watch them play off of each other, but the “twist” itself seems like a cheat in the end and really just not worthy of the talents that these guys have exhibited in the past.

Personally, I wish they’d just not gone in with the idea of having a twist in the first place and just would’ve made this a straight-up cop film with both guys working the right side of the law and pursuing someone else in the end. I still had a good time with this, but it really could’ve been a lot better.

Pacino and DeNiro are backed up with some impressive supporting talent, including Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo and Brian Dennehy and everybody does a fine job here, but it’s the material just really isn’t as worthy of their talents as it should be.

Avnet does a better job here than he did in his previous film (also with Al Pacino), 88 Minutes and does a nice job of moving things along, but again, I just wish they could’ve resisted the urge to have to make a movie with a “twist” in the first place.

If you’ve got time to kill, and want to see these guys together on-screen, Righteous Kill is an OK diversion, but at the same time, I wouldn’t necessarily urge anyone to run right out and see this in the theatre right this minute either. If you want to do something like that, then go see this week’s other big film, Burn After Reading instead…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

14. September 2008 by Darren Goodhart
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