Righteous Kill

(2008) dir. Jon Avnet – w/ Robert De Niro and Al Pacino; also Brian Dennehy, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Carla Gugino, & 50 Cent.

Synopsis: Two seasoned detectives stumble across the case of a “mysterious” vigilante… who only kills bad guys!

Review: “Righteous Kill” has exactly one good idea.  And unfortunately, that idea is: put Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the same movie.  Admittedly, it’s a very good idea — but things go downhill quickly.  For starters: the movie is introduced (literally opened with) a statement that necessarily limits your viewing of the movie to one of the two following possibilities: (A) you know the ending from the opening credits, or (B) you know the entire movie is based on a cheap (and obvious) trick (and probably can figure out what that trick is, because it’s not even that clever).  Another problem: it’s nice to see De Niro and Pacino side by side, but this movie could have been made with anybody.  Realistically, “Righteous Kill” and “Heat” are completely, totally incommensurable.  And for Righteous Kill, this is not a good thing.

(Another note: “Who ever heard of a cop serial killer?!” is not the movie’s second good idea.)

It’s a fair movie.  Everyone tries.  Performances are commendable all around.  The music’s fine.  But I could have walked out half-way through and not actually felt like I was missing much.

Rating: [•••] out of [•••••]