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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Righteous Kill

Author: mr_popcorn from every where
13 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Most people respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun."

After 30 years as partners in the pressure cooker environment of the NYPD, highly decorated Detectives David Fisk and Thomas Cowan should be ready for retirement, but aren't. Before they can hang up their badges, they are called in to investigate the murder of a notorious pimp, which appears to have ties to a case they solved years before.

Like the original murder, the victim is a suspected criminal whose body is found accompanied by a four line poem justifying the killing. When additional crimes take place, it becomes clear the detectives are looking for a serial killer, one who targets criminals that have fallen through the cracks of the judicial system. His mission is to do what the cops can't do on their own, take the culprits off the streets for good. The similarities between the recent killings and their earlier case raise a nagging question: Did they put the wrong man behind bars?

Review I can only muster a word after watching this movie and that is, disappointing. I had a lot of things riding on in this flick and the reunion of two of Hollywood's celebrated actors is one to be truly awaited. It turns out, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino aren't the same as they were in their prime many years ago. Sure they can still act and that is the reason why I'm giving this movie such a rating, only on the leads acting alone, but you have to admit, the magic between the two is not as powerful as it was when they did Heat back in 1995. There is a lot of swearing and F-bombs in this movie but that doesn't make it good, even if the one cursing is Robert De Niro or Al Pacino.

The material is weak to begin with and the execution is poor, both the actors are this movie's only saving grace. What made this movie really horrible is the twist, the lamest, poorly executed twist whose stench can already be smelled the minute the movie starts. Jon Avnet, the director, also made the equally disappointing 88 Minutes with Al Pacino and now this. That's strike two. One more and you're out.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Mostly enjoyable affair with some familiar faces and their associated talents.

Author: Jamie Ward from United Kingdom
9 October 2008

Being the second Jon Avnet film not only of the year, but to feature lead man Al Pacino, it's tempting before actually viewing to assume that what is about to follow is simply going to be 88 Minutes only with another very talented actor standing alongside Al. And while certain aspects of this assumption would be true, the majority and the generic gist would be invalid. Righteous Kill isn't perfect, but it's a major step in the right direction for director Jon Avnet who follows up his early lacklustre crime thriller with a similarly themed, but much more streamlined and interesting effort. This time combining Pacino with old friend and cinematic legend Robert De Niro, Avnet goes all out here and doesn't let down when it comes to giving these two big name actors some rough, layered material to work with. Throughout the film, much of the narrative is undoubtedly resting upon the shoulders of those guys, but both feel comfortable enough in their roles that the movie fails to lose much momentum until the later stages in the game. So despite some last minute sucker punches, and a few shady plotting elements, Righteous Kill may not be perfect, but for a De Niro and Pacino flick, you could certainly do a lot worse.

Another quick presumption that could be made when looking at a Pacino/De Niro pairing is that the script may have came after the casting, thus leading to an obviously contrived and overly aware tone throughout as to who these guys are. Again, Avnet does well to avoid this misstep and instead presents a story about two guys who could have been played by anyone, and yet really couldn't. It's a buddy story at its heart, and during the course of the film, both get compared to Lennon and McCartney; an unbending duo who know each others ins and outs and are always together. Of course, other, less hospital personalities compare them to husband and wife, but this doesn't go down quite as well. And yet, it's true. As a pair, Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) are a formidable force, and all the same, very dynamic. This is turn is what makes Righteous Kill a far greater movie as it always keeps focus on its characters, and their relationships together; De Niro and Pacino are just very sweet layers of icing on the cake that helps bring all of the ingredients together through some rat a tat chemistry that oozes with sly wit and dry, down to earth realism. With 88 Minutes, Avnet had his characters sit on the bench and watch as the plot ran around playing most of the game; this time there's a much firmer balance, and the characters get the majority of the match to themselves.

The way in which the story is presented and told here is rather interesting also. Focusing around the two friends and detectives, Righteous Kill tells the story of a serial killer, who is revealed to be one of those two men very early on in the story. Even revealing this fact feels like I've just broken a sacred law by spoiling a major plot twist, but I haven't; this interesting twist is spilt out in the movie's opening fifteen minutes, and from then on continues to divulge into why and how these murders are being committed, all whilst he and his partner attempt to solve them. It's the kind of thing that would be have been left for a twist gimmick at the end of other films (88 minutes comes to mind), but instead the secret is told to us early on, and the movie is far greater for it. Not only does it allow us greater insight into the character, and his friendship with his partner, but it stops the film from becoming too obsessed with the 'whodunnit' angle, which too often dominates films of this nature. Through this shift Avnet and writer Russell Gewirtz manage to turn the movie's biggest plot points into character-driven ones, and again this only benefits the production as a whole.

Unfortunately however, the script and narrative isn't all perfect. Placing a hit and miss third act on top of a solid opening and middle, the story eventually comes to an ending that will polarise viewers. I found myself hesitant to adopt the shift in focus, and then I became indifferent. To be sure, I would have preferred a straight continuation of acts one and two, with very little in the way of diverging focus (alas, I must be ridiculously vague here as to preserve any spoilers), but the ending, although not ideal, nevertheless doesn't ruin that which came before. By the time the credits began rolling, I was a little disappointed, but the overwhelming feeling was one of quiet satisfaction. With just under two hours of steller performances from two of the best actors of our current generation, and some well crafted characters to suit the performers, it's very hard not to sit back and enjoy this even if you hate detective stories. Yet offset with plenty of characterisation and a much larger focus on such characters and their relationships, Righteous Kill is hard hitting and extremely cold on the outside, and Avnet does well to keep on going inside where it's warm. With themes on crime and murder tinged with moral ambiguity that questions the judicial system itself, there's also a lot here to satisfy the mind, making for an entertaining, engaging and mostly enjoyable affair with some familiar faces and their associated talents.

- A review by Jamie Robert Ward (

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The stars deserved much better material than this (SPOILERS)

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
30 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Veteran cops Turk and Rooster (no, really) find they have a serial killer on their hands – albeit one who appears to be a vigilante, killing those who either elude or have escaped justice at the 11th hour. When their case crosses over with another murder being investigated by detectives Perez and Riley, the two sets of partners join forces despite the disagreements and tensions this brings. As the murders continue these tensions get raised when the evidence suggests a cop is the killer – a theory supported by Perez and Riley, who believe that Turk is the most likely suspect.

The sight of Pacino and De Niro on the (very annoying and disruptive) banner advert on IMDb was enough to make me decide to go and see this film and, having seen it now, their presence is still pretty much the only reason to bother with it. Ignoring the stars involved for a minute, the plot is a pretty basic cop thriller that might work with all its red herrings and diversion tactics if it had been delivered with more urgency and none of the star names. As it is the plot lumbers across the screen without anything of real shock or inspiration and all the time we know it is not De Niro (because the film is telling us that it is him from the start) while wondering what attracted Pacino who appears to have nothing much to do (well, not that that is a clue of course). The irony though is that, without the many stars involved the film would be even duller than it is, but with them it does kinda give the game away to a point.

What it needed to make this clunky old chestnut work is depth in the characters, shadows everywhere and an approach that draws the viewer so close to events that we haven't got a wide view of anything or even time to consider the options. Instead though it lets us sit back and observe things, which was an approach I found quite dull and not helped by the lack of complexity in the plotting or characters. It is not awful though, just really bland, obvious and very much a generic cop thriller the likes of which you could probably pull off cable TV most night, just without the star names. These names are a certain saving grace and buy the material some forgiveness and will certainly let it make more money than it deserves to do. De Niro and Pacino are not great at any point but they do not fall into the easy caricatures of themselves that they sometimes do. They add a certain amount of weight to the film but nowhere near what it needs. The support cast features solid turns from Wahlberg and Leguizamo (together again after mini-series Kill Point) with Gugino being interesting but not given the space to grow. 50 Cent (oh, sorry – "Mr Jackson"), Dennehy, Leo and others add familiar faces but none make it a better film – just a more A-list one.

Righteous Kill will do good business off the back of the names involved but sadly there is little beyond this to justify their presence. A real shame and a real missed opportunity – hopefully the nest film that combines these two is more of a Heat quality than this drab product.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Could have been a lot better!

Author: simon-james from United Kingdom
26 September 2008

This film should have been a master class in acting it has Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Brian Dennehy in it. So why did it feel that they couldn't be bothered to act?

Pacino's acting through the film feels as if they just turned the camera on him and filmed him just doing everyday stuff. DeNiro was a bit better but still felt as if he only showed up on set to collect the pay cheque at the end of the day. Dennehy who is a fine actor was only in a hand full of scenes that all revolved around his office. Donnie Wahlberg played the same cop that he played in Saw. 50 Cent's character was just plain pointless and could have been played by anyone, so why did he get third billing in the film? it shows that the there is something very wrong here.

And the problem with this film my friends is a very weak, predictable script. If DeNiro and Pacino didn't sign for this film it would have never got made. Because they are the only thing that makes this film interesting.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

What can I say?

Author: danegem from Canada
16 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow, we get to see two of the greatest actors in history team up together in more than just two scenes.This is probably going to be another classic right? Hell no.This movie basically has your average cop story except the cops are played Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Basically there is a serial killer on the loose and both teams (De Niro and Pacino are Team 1, John Leguiazamo and Donnie Wahlberg are team 2) begin to suspect each other as suspects.I don't know about most people but I predicted who the killer was in the first 15 minutes of the movie.They really could have done something more with the story,I mean its been 15 years with These two legends, who inspired many young actors, and this is the best they could come up with? The acting was mediocre, (Al Pacino got nominated for a Razzie award and De Niro should have gotten one as well)but the worst actor was 50 cent.Try understanding what he says every time he opens his mouth.The story was odd and the "Twist" was pretty weak, pathetic, over the top and does not seem to give you any closure as to why the killer did what he/she did.Unless you want to see Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together in a movie, go rent this, otherwise, its not worth your while at all.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Lame, boring, pointless

Author: chris hemstead ( from Moses Lake WA
30 May 2009

Pacino is doing his grimace/lisp/gum chewing thing, and DeNiro has been eating too much pizza. This movie was so trite, so predictable and inane it was all I could do to keep from noticing their appearance. Was there a plot? If so I missed it.

The scene in the bathroom where the gal came in and did coke while Bob was pissing.. and he flashes his badge at her. What am I supposed to do.. laugh, cheer.?? Woo hoo.. you're busting a coke-snorter in a bathroom. The world is saved.

The only thing I found even remotely entertaining about this film was when Pacino corrected Dennehy's use of "light year" as a measure of time. And that was as far as I could watch this dog without thinking I can't wait to write a nasty review on IMDb. And I have NEVER written a bad review on here.

This movie flat out stinks. I can't imagine why either actor would agree to make such a lousy pos.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

For your buck, you'd expect at least a Righteous Thrill...but no, this movie can't even give one of those

Author: davideo-2 from United Kingdom
25 February 2009

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Detectives Turk and Rooster (no, really) are called to a case where criminals who've escaped justice are being bumped off and little poetry notes are being left at the murder scenes. As the investigation goes on, the finger of suspicion starts to point closer to home than either of them could have thought.

De Niro!!! Pacino!!! Together on film at last (all the way through!!!) I was expecting five star reviews left, right and centre. Instead, Righteous Kill received nothing but tepid reviews and, despite my best efforts, I'll have to go one degree lower. Despite all this negativity, I caved in and watched it now it's come out on DVD, and was just hoping their sheer presence would carry the film through. Sadly, they've left it too long and their performances together here are as weak as the material they've been given to work with.

I must admit, I felt a bit stupid in the first place watching Righteous Kill, knowing what the ending was. But then, I figured, Columbo used to be a pretty successful show and that relied on knowing who'd done it in the beginning, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Sadly, watching an episode of Columbo would probably have been a more thrilling alternative to this sorry little film, as would your typical daytime TV thriller rubbish. It's just staggering two (older) actors of this calibre would be given a script as predictable, boring, uninvolving, uninspired and poorly written as this. Younger actors Carla Gugino and 50 Cent try to add more trendy modern factor to the proceedings, but are as wasted and boring as everything else.

I'm really just repeating what everyone else has said with my review for this film, but so lame did I find it I feel the need to crank it down that bit extra. Had I enjoyed it a little more, I might have been willing to give the even more lambasted Pacino/Jon Avnet collaboration 88 Minutes a go when it came out, but now I really can't be so sure. *

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Unrighteous Killed

Author: thesar-2 from United States
3 January 2009

Having been thoroughly disappointed in only having a roughly 5-minute scene between two of the screen's legends (Robert De Niro and Al Pacino) in the nearly 3-hour 'Heat,' I was excited to see the 'Righteous Kill' trailer that showed them practically in bed the entire time. Unfortunately, other than their more than 70% screen time together in the film, the movie itself is possibly the most predictable murder investigation ever, a case Matlock couldn't even finish his hot dog while solving. Seriously, who was the target audience with the over-used, over-clichéd "Oh! It's you! Well, I guess I'm safe then –" BANG! or "Was this the person that attacked you?" but not showing the audience the photo of the already obvious killer. The acting was mediocre – even for Al and Bob, the dialogue barely passable – clichés abundant, and the motive? Or, I should say, the reasoning behind the motive, revealed in the closing was so laughable, my jaw dropped that both of these icons would sign on outside of getting paid for leaving their retirement homes. I have heard others call this the worst movie of 2008, but I beg to differ; Al Pacino's other film, '88 Minutes,' was far worse.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Word for word going to agree with 90% of the reviewers out there

Author: Robert W. ( from Ontario, Canada
9 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not sure that I've ever read a movie review that has had so many people saying the exact same things. It's quite astounding and almost makes me wonder if I should review it at all because...I agree...I agree....100% I am going to say the exact same things. If this film had featured anyone other than the legendary duo DeNiro and Pacino it would have flunked, and probably would have only succeeded on Television. Because of the stars and their desire to do something directly together for the first time truly (Heat they were on opposite sides and only came together once or twice,) this is why the film was made and released I have no doubt. The story is okay, nothing ecstatic and the twists are mind blowingly predictable that I have to wonder if they even meant them to be hidden. It took me ten minutes to know exactly who the killer was and where the story was going for every second. And I am not prone to figuring out film twists. The good news is...when I heard about this film it scared me to death because first of all it featured Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and it looked to me like another street thug, R&B movie filled with people yelling "homie" and bandannas and the like and I was scared this would permanently taint my Hollywood heroes. The good news it that didn't happen but I'll get to that after this.

Al Pacino...the master himself...he's been slipping lately hasn't he? Following the disgustingly awful 88 Minutes he moves to another thriller role as aging cop Rooster. Pacino is Pacino but the man is a master and he has had some powerhouse emotional roles and this wasn't one of them. I mean he delivers his lines with great skill and he looks good for almost 70 but there was something sadly lacking from this performance. I hope he finds a comeback role. Robert De Niro is the man...period. He is the essence of machismo and he has done everything from comedy to serious drama and does it flawlessly. This role for him as Rooster's partner Turk is the same as it is for Pacino. He doesn't give it his all, and the material isn't what it should be for him. That being said I think he gets a bit more of an emotional role than Pacino is given and the two of them together are brilliant. Remarkably the man I loathe Curtis Jackson (the half dollar himself) gives a solid decent performance as scum bag gang leader Spider. He even plays well opposite Pacino and DeNiro but I still think it's wrong that he even got the opportunity. John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg are very good as opposite partners to Rooster and Turk. They don't really get a lot of depth to their characters and I would have liked to have seen more interaction with the four of them...the new generation vs the old kind of deal. Brian Dennehy, who is amazing, is sadly wasted on a small insignificant role as the head of the Precinct.

Righteous Kill certainly still had that aspect of R&B street culture but it wasn't overwhelming and they didn't use it as a crutch to draw in that crowd which is what I was worried about. The story moved at a good pace and everything unfolded properly without any glaring plot holes but it was very, very predictable. However a fun little Easter egg for you movie fans. Any one who is a big fan of Heat will find great solace in the ending of Righteous Kill. I won't reveal it here obviously but in some ways it somehow completes a circle of life that felt broken when Pacino gunned down DeNiro's anti-hero thief at the end of Heat. I think if there is any reason to see Righteous Kill outside of the two men I've mentioned numerous times it is to catch the ending...the last moments which will leave you satisfied amidst a bit of a wishy washy movie that isn't up to standards with it's lead cast. 7/10

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Just saw Righteous Kill.

Author: ( from United States
1 October 2008

Not good. It's like watching DeNiro and Pacino doing an episode of Murder She Wrote. But a poorly written episode. You've seen everything in this movie before. Nothing original. It's kinda cool when you see DeNiro and Pacino together but you're instantly pulled out of it by the bad writing. Then you have to deal with the boring art direction, crap cinematography, and awful editing. It also feels like the entire movie was shot in four locations. And get this. Deniro's wardrobe for the entire climax is a grey hoodie sweat suit. Full top and bottom set. Deniro's supposed to be looking all bad ass, but he comes off looking like my grandfather at the local gym. Seriously, he was dressed like Estelle Getty. These guys deserve so much better. And it's all sad cause you want to like the movie. Admirable job from DeNiro and Pacino working from an awful script. I found the whole thing cliché and trying too hard. Sorry guys, hope you got paid well.

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