Review: Righteous Kill
Veteran cops and long-time professional partners Robert De Niro (tightly-wound) and Al Pacino (laid-back, and wisecracking) investigate a series of murders of several acquitted perps, and it’s not long before the more volatile of the two becomes suspect numero uno. The finger definitely points towards a cop, or at least someone with knowledge of crime scene investigation, and De Niro sure seems to fit the bill. However, given the film begins with De Niro seemingly giving a taped police confession, you can probably assume things aren’t as open and shut. Brian Dennehy is their superior officer, Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo two rival cops who reluctantly share relevant information, ‘50 Cent’ is a drug-dealing creep (No, really!), and Carla Gugino is the kinky forensics specialist whom De Niro is banging (she’s into the rough stuff, apparently). Trilby Glover turns up as a coke-snorting lawyer.
The long-awaited post-“Heat” reteaming of De Niro and Pacino in this 2008 Jon Avnet (“Fried Green Tomatoes”, “Red Corner”) crime-thriller is neither as bad as I had heard nor as good as I had hoped. Failing to get a theatrical release in Australia, it’s one of those clichéd, totally formulaic whodunits where even though I didn’t guess the baddie I still wasn’t surprised. I narrowed the culprit down to two, and merely settled on the wrong one. So it wasn’t transparent, but certainly a bit predictable. Director Avnet bludgeons everything, the man simply has no finesse and barely any genuine talent. Maybe Sidney Lumet could’ve produced better results I dunno, but Avnet and the screenwriter really only give us two genuinely credible suspects, it couldn’t possibly have been anyone else.
Great supporting cast (always nice to see Dennehy and Gugino and both Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg are terrific), and along with the leads, they deserve a better script. With De Niro and Pacino sharing more screen time this time around, this is still kinda watchable anyway if you’re not too picky. Give it a look if you’re curious and appreciate good actors doing solid work, no matter the material. Scripted by Russell Gerwitz (the slightly better “Inside Man”).