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Righteous Kill

Rating: 2.5

Rated: R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Release Date: 2008-09-12
Starring: Russell Gewirtz
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Jon Avnet’s new film ‘Righteous Kill’ reunites legendary actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Both actors flood the screen with their trademark acting styles and larger than life personalities, and convert what is an ordinary police thriller into a surprisingly entertaining cop romp.

The premise has the Lennon and McCartney of detectives (Pacino and De Niro) hot on the trail of a serial killer who might end up being one of their own. Some tension is developed by two younger investigators (John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg) who want to crack the case before the seniors do.

The film offers some believable acting from the supporting cast, but nothing outstanding to make you begin your Oscar nomination pool. Leguizamo seems to play the same wise cracking cop in every movie and Wahlberg just seems to be happy to be working. Underrated is Carla Gugino, De Niro’s love interest, who continues to deliver consistently fine work. The director Jon Avnet, who gave us one of Pacino’s worst efforts, 88 Minutes, doesn’t offer us anything new here. Screenwriter Russell Gewirtz, who did Spike Lee’s Inside Man, one of the better films of the cop genre in the last five years, regresses with this hit and miss script and dialogue.

De Niro and Pacino are no longer the multi-layered, method acting thespians with depth, but they still possess enough of that charm, wisdom and experience to know how to carry a movie, ergo ‘Righteous Kill’. Together it becomes memorable and nostalgic.

It wasn’t so long ago that whenever someone asked who the best actor in Hollywood was, the answer was either Al Pacino or Robert De Niro. That is no longer the case. The best way to put it I guess, is that we are still looking for that last performance of greatness from them, that last attempt to prove all us critics wrong, that last hurrah for ol’ time sakes. Regrettably, this movie wasn’t the one to make us believe that.

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