Righteous Kill

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Review byMatthew Turner25/09/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Predictable, badly written and ultimately disappointing, this distinctly below-average thriller would have gone straight to DVD if it weren't for De Niro and Pacino.

What's it all about?
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino play Turk and Rooster, two grizzled NYPD cops who are nearing retirement. When a serial killer starts preying on criminals who have recently escaped justice (including a character named, er, Rambo the Skateboard Pimp), Turk and Rooster are assigned the case, but they soon begin to suspect that another cop might be behind the killings.

The Good
To be fair, the acting is better than the script deserves – De Niro is on top form, while Shouty Al fans won't be disappointed either, as he gets shoutier and shoutier as the film progresses. There's also strong support from Wahlberg, Leguizamo and Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson (as a drug dealer), but lovely Carla Gugino is sadly wasted as a forensic detective (and De Niro's love interest) with a penchant for kinky sex.

The Bad
The last time De Niro and Pacino were onscreen together was in Michael Mann's Heat and it felt like an epic event. This time, it only goes to show how far their stars have fallen – sure, it's nice to see them sharing screen space again, but the film is so dreadful that you'll wish they hadn't.

There are so many problems with Righteous Kill that it's hard to know where to start - first of all, it has a ridiculously obvious twist that you'll probably guess just from reading the synopsis. Similarly, the script is extremely patchy throughout – there's the occasional snatch of good dialogue, but the plot is utterly ridiculous and when the bad poetry appears (the killer leaves a four-line poem beside each victim) you'll find it hard not to laugh out loud at the sheer awfulness.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, if it weren't for its two stars, Righteous Kill would be a straight-to-DVD thriller. Indeed, it's tempting to believe that Wahlberg and Leguizamo were the original stars and they were elbowed into supporting roles when De Niro and Pacino came on board. Watchable, but only just.

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Righteous Kill
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Content updated: 16/10/2019 18:47

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