When Robert De Niro and Al Pacino had one scene together in Michael Mann’s Heat, the sense of anticipation of these two legendary New York actors sparking off each other (rather than just being in the same film a la The Godfather: Part II) was enormous. But that was in 1995 – almost thirteen years ago. They’ve lost much kudos since then by following the money to ensure cushy retirements and it will be interesting to see what audiences will make of their new multi-scene match up as New York police detective partners Rooster (Pacino) and Turk (De Niro) in Righteous Kill.
Righteous Kill is a romance dressed up as a cop serial killer movie. De Niro and Pacino stare admiringly at each other throughout this ponderous cop yarn as if they’re celebrating a diamond-wedding anniversary. They constantly bang on about how great the other man is. Turk (who frequently quotes Clint Eastwood’s fictional detective ‘Dirty’ Harry Callaghan) confesses to the murder of a dozen or so criminals who have been set free by the courts. The murders are shown in flashback without showing who pulls the trigger. Could it be that Turk didn’t do it? Is Rooster the real battery batterer? Or is it some other cock(erel) of a cop?
This is the second film out in the next few weeks helmed by Jon Avnett (the underwhelming 88 Minutes is the other one, also starring Pacino), and again his ponderous direction make it difficult to care about anything or anyone. Inside Man screenwriter Russell Gewirtz’s pedestrian work here proves that he may just be a one hit wonder (or that his best work may be behind him). There’s nothing virtuous about Righteous Kill – it’s as predictable as summer rain.
General release from Fri 26 Sep.