a critiQal film review Righteous Kill (2008)

Plot: Two veteran NYPD detectives, Fisk (Pacino) and Cowan (De Niro), are called in to investigate the murder of a notorious pimp - a murder that bears a striking resemblance to murders committed years before. The only problem? They thought they already caught the killer and put him behind bars.

Reviewed
699 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 29s)
  • This long-awaited on-screen reunion of De Niro/Pacino should have waited a bit longer - instead, it's squandered in this stinkbomb of a film.

Finally, the long-awaited reunion of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino has arrived on DVD! While we have been excited to see this reunion since we first heard about it, we didn’t get a chance to check this one out in theaters, and have been anxiously awaiting it’s arrival on DVD ever since.

Now that it’s here, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. Would this reunion of legendary actors De Niro & Pacino be worth the long wait, or should they have saved their re-introduction to each other for another film?

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino look to be a bit off their game in Righteous Kill. While both still have a big on-screen presence, neither seem to be really tuned in to this film. Maybe it’s that their sick of playing the same guys over and over again, so have it so down pat by now they think they don’t really need to delve deep into their talents to make it work.

If that’s the case, someone should point out to them this isn’t as true as they believe. While both still manage to make their way through the film, neither gives anything close to the inspiring performances viewers expect from them – especially in these stereotypical roles – and this reunion turns out to be a major letdown.

The rest of the cast tends to follow their examples. Carla, John and the rest turn in okay performances, but nothing really worth writing home about. Brian Dennehey manages to make his performance a bit more fiery, but since he has a noticeable lack of screen time, making this smaller role more fiery isn’t as taxing as trying to impress in the larger roles.

The actors aren’t totally at fault for not gripping the audience with impressive performances, however – the plot has a lot to do with the poor quality of the film. Right from the start, the film does a completely awful job trying to mislead the audience. Thanks to some awfully shoddy – and incredibly obvious – techniques, however, the film probably won’t fool most viewers for even a minute. Instead, viewers – already having figured out how the film is going to end – have to sit through a rather boring film just to prove themselves right.

Then there’s the characters themselves. While most of the characters are just plainly stereotypical and nothing new, Carla Gugino’s crime scene investigator who enjoys rough sex is completely laughable. Why is that character in there at all? Sure, she ends up turning in more on-screen time than expected, but most of it is all about confused muddling between her and De Niro – a few of the many scenes that could have been chopped from this film without hesitation.

All in all, Righteous Kill, rather than being the long-awaited reunion film fans have been been waiting for, turns out to be a rather cheaply made thriller that gets almost nothing right. See-through plot twists, shoddy editing and some completely laughable performances make the viewer give the actors a bit of slack in their performances. With a film this bad, why waste quality acting at all? Just get through it, collect your paycheck – and never mention it again.

With and now Righteous Kill, Al Pacino is on a downward spiral that’s starting to concern us. What happened to the consummate actor who amazed us again and again in films like Scarface, Heat and ? Apparently he’s gone for the moment – it’s just too bad he had to pull De Niro into such slop along with him.

Where’s the director that can give these two something to really sink their teeth into, acting-wise? And, after the near brutality of sitting through this film, will anyone be up for another reunion anytime soon? Probably not – and that’s the worst thing about Righteous Kill: it’s most likely ruined our chance to see a quality De Nrio/Pacino team-up anytime in the near future.

For Pacino/De Niro fans – and even those few of you out there who aren’t – stay away from the stinkbomb that is Righteous Kill. Trust me – this one doesn’t need witnesses.

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