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In what was greatly hyped as Di Niro and Pacino teaming up together again, the first time since Heat, you could be forgiven for getting a little excited. The promise of two of Hollywoods greatest ever actors, together again after their last film which was widely acclaimed. Unfortunately, Righteous Kill doesn’t seem to be able to emulate either successes.
Starting off with a video of ‘Turk’ (Robert Di Niro) confessing to a number of murders we then follow the story through flashbacks using Turks confession as narration. There are a series of murders on known criminals and those who have managed to walk away from trial, each murder is deadly accurate and a poem is left at the scene. Turk and Rooster (Al Pacino) investigate these killings but never seem to be able to find any evidence.
When another pair of detectives, Perez and Reily (John Leguizama and Donnie Wahlberg) find themselves in on the case they suspect that the killer may be a cop. After his outright refusal to believe in such a possibility Turk becomes a prime suspect and is set up for a sting. The ending reveals the truth, that Turks video confession was him being forced to read from Roosters diary.
It is a great shame that this movie didn’t work, it features two of the world finest actors, it had promise. But the cheap story and lack of any suspense or tension build up really hurt this crime thriller. It’s also clear that both the leads are aging, both pushing seventy, making them have to work even harder in order for the roles to be believed. (Wouldn’t expect Carla Cugino (38) to be having it away with Di Niro!)
The hype machine was working overtime over the two male leads when work needed to be put in on the script and directing. Jon Avnet fails to do what Michael Mann did so successfully in Heat with his leads and drops the ball completely in terms of allowing the audience to engage with the plot. The ending was cheap, the reveal only sparking criticism for a situation that could have been utilised so much better.