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Rightous Kill (2008) Director John Avnet 1 October 2008

Posted by jordanfarley in Uncategorized.
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Righteous Kill sees the reteaming of perhaps two of the greatest actors of their generation Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Last seen on film together more than ten years ago in Michael Mann’s urban classic Heat, the partnership I am sorry to say have chosen a less than worthy film in which to reunite.
De Niro and Pacino star as a pair of ‘veteran New York Detectives’ (just count how many more cliches in this plot synopsis alone) Turk and Rooster who are close to retirement but are held back to solve one last case, that of a serial killer who kills only criminals, and in particular criminals close to Rooster and Turk. Suspicion falls on De Niro’s Turk as another pair of cops (played by John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg) are brought into help on the investigation. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there is a big twist in the proceedings but the blindingly obvious nature of the twist from perhaps the first scene in means in hardly seems right to define the later plot ‘development’ as a twist. Needless to say this review wont reveal any major plot points, even though the movie hardly deserves my discretion.
The plot therefore is poor, very poor and like most elements of the film is just an excuse for De Niro and Pacino to reunite. Unfortunately their performances leave little to desire and it’s a shame that genuine legends are now reduced to starring in predictable Hollywood thrillers for a living. The rest of the actors fare little better with the sole reason for their existence onscreen being that Rooster and Turk can keep the plot moving forward. The direction by John Avnet is unimaginative and frankly indistinguishable from any other of a number of Hollywood hacks, it could have been Brett Ratner’s name after the credits and it would have made no difference. The soundtrack as well is completely forgettable contemporary hip-hop that adds nothing to the proceedings apart from giving the audience a break from the clunky dialogue.
Those involved in the creation of Righteous Kill probably thought it would be impossible to go wrong with the actors they managed to sign up but it goes to prove the rule that you can’t make a good film out of a bad script. Toss in a director for hire and you have a recipe for disaster. There was a certain amount of pleasure to be had in watching De Niro and Pacino on the big screen again but after seeing the finished product it makes me wish they had left it at Heat (and the Godfather Part 2). On second thoughts instead of seeing this prize turkey go and watch one of those classics again, you know you want to.

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