Film Review: Righteous Kill

Robert DiNiro and Al Pacino are considered legends. Both are associated with some iconic roles, and both have delivered some less than stellar films in the last several years.
When this film was announced, film fans around the world became giddy with anticipation. This would be the first time the two worked together for an entire film.
So the stage was set for these two legends to step up and rock our world.
While I would not say my world was rocked, I would say that both DeNiro and Pacino do a decent job and clearly have chemistry. But that is not enough to make a film great, certainly not one that is as flawed as Righteous Kill.
A couple of seasoned the NYPD, Detectives Turk (Robert De Niro) and Rooster (Al Pacino) find themselves investigating a series of disturbing murders: Somebody is offing the dregs of society and leaving behind poems. That is not the disturbing part, as the dead are felons and are clearly scumbags (and film works hard to tell us this). No, the disturbing part is that it looks like the killer is a cop.
In addition to our two stars, we have Turk’s lover Karen, a forensic specialist with kinky tastes (Carla Gugino), a pair of ambitious up-and-comers Ted Riley (Donnie Wahlberg) and Simon Perez (John Leguizamo) and Lieutenant Hingis (Brian Dennehy), the stern boss who wants these murders solved!
The games start right off the bat with a grainy recording of Turk “confessing” to the murder of 14 criminals over the course of his 30+ years as a cop. Footage of this is spliced throughout the film.
I can’t imagine that anyone belived this. As a matter of fact, I started resenting the film pretty damn quick; it was nowhere neear as clever as it thought it was.
RK is a leaden, cliché filled stinker that staggers around, trying to be suspenseful and and smart, yet failing miserably. It works hard (too hard) to keep the viewer guessing, but I figured out where we were going at about the 30 minute marker.
With such a strong cast, games are not needed, simply tell the story and let the stars shine.
Instead, we are subjected to endless twists and turns, as well as countless flashbacks and other gimmicky stunts.
The cast does a decent job, but the direction…well, the direction sucks.
It felt like the person behind the camera took a class or two, and then hijacked a production. Somebody stop this guy before he strikes again!
To be fair, Jon Avnet did give me fair warning. He directed Al Pacino in the mind-blowingly bad 88 Minutes (Not to mention the wretched Up Close and Personal with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeifer). Anyone seeing that film should have had a pretty good idea that Mr. Avnet is not a director that…well, let us leave it at HE IS NOT A DIRECTOR.
That may be a bit harsh, but RK is one big squandered opportunity. If this film did not feature DeNiro and Pacino, I question as to whether or not it would have even made it into theaters.
Brandon Lanter