Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Righteous Kill (2008) Review

Righteous Kill
Soon to be righteously forgotten

Face it; you’ve been waiting for this movie to happen for decades. The pairing of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, two of the greatest actors from one generation, is a match made in heaven. We have been teased for years now, with both actors superimposed in the same shot in The Godfather Part 2 but not the same scene and for a brief 10 minutes in Heat, but now we finally have the goods. I mean with Inside Man screenwriter Russell Gerwitz writing the script it should be a fun time. Except for that nagging little name Jon Avnet in the director’s position, whose last film 88 Minutes was one of Al Pacino’s (coincidence?) worst movies and one of the worst of 2008.

Plot Synopsis: Two aging NYPD cops, nicknamed Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) have been best buddies on the force for over 30 years now. They probably should be retiring, but Turk’s feeling of respect gained from carrying a badge and a gun keeps them going on. Multiple homicides of acquitted criminals have been showing up recently and the two are put on the case. This killer also seems to relish each act, shown by the rhyming poems they leave behind. Complications in the case arise as Karen (Carla Gugino), whom Turk has a sexual affair with, gets more involved and the two protagonists have to deal with two rival cops (Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo) and a local gang boss (50 Cent).


Hmm, sounds a little like a cult classic called The Boondock Saints? Killing “bad people” in the name of what’s right? Check. Catchy verses that are spoken (in this case written) during killings? Check. Yeah, that’s about right, but that’s not the only place where the script feels derivative, including the hard ass captain (Brian Dennehy) and the suspicions being attributed to Turk because of his explosive temper. The plot is also very predictable, as the movie seems so insistent on pinning the blame on Turk that we know there’s going to be some twist at the end as to who the killer is. And when we do get there, any kind of surprise is eradicated because we simply don’t care.

Avnet is obviously still feeling the after effects of 88 Minutes, because the film has such a dull and average feel to it that it probably could be a high quality made-for-TV movie. I kept checking my watch to see what time it was because the pacing was so slow that 45 minutes felt like twice that. Everything just feels by the numbers, without a lot of creative energy being put forth. I’m not quite sure if Gerwitz had something in his script that Avnet hacked up or if the writing was nothing special and Avnet just didn’t give a damn, but either way it’s underwhelming.


At this point, De Niro and Pacino are the only saving graces in the film. They do barely elevate the material above its low ambitions, but even they look like they are sleepwalking through the roles. De Niro plays the tough hard ass he’s known for, and Pacino just seems bored. He doesn’t even get a grand moment to display his yelling skills! The two share little chemistry together and when that’s the point of the movie, it’s bad. The supporting cast is rather wasted too, as only Wahlberg, Leguizamo, and Dennehy are fun to watch. Meanwhile Gugino is stuck playing the same sex-serving officer as Jeanne Tripplehorn in Basic Instinct.

Admittedly, the novelty of seeing the two icons together on screen was enough to keep it from hitting the bottom of the barrel but don’t expect much else.


No comments:

Post a Comment