Robert De Niro and Al Pacino share the screen in Righteous Kill (this season’s serial crime thriller) as partnered New York City police detectives.
Thrown into a new serial murderer’s killing spree, which eerily mirrors the detectives’ personal ideals, the two partners have to find the man behind the crime.
The film showcases the attitudes of Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) as extremely tough NYPD detectives walking the usual beat they’ve been on for years: taking care of the challenging crimes with guns, gusto, and investigation.
That is, until a new serial poem vigilante suddenly appears and kills criminals that have escaped through the cracks of the law. Under psychiatric evaluation for a shoot-out that occurred before the appearance of this killer, the two detectives take the case and lead their team.
The young Detective Perez (John Leguizamo) and Detective Riley (Donnie Wahlburg) begin to suspect Turk as the vigilante killer.
Everything has been supplied to make this movie the greatest in the post-summer film season; however as a serial crime thriller, the film just doesn’t perform well.
The only “action” in the film is De Niro hard-loving his coroner girlfriend (played by Carla Gugino) and a few bullets to the heads and chests of a select sample of criminals. It’s not enough to get the blood pumping.
The suspense is clearly lacking serious direction. Without the necessary suspense, the movie doesn’t deliver as it should and the inability to move you to the edge of your seat cripples the surprise intended in the conclusion.
On the positive side, the acting is astounding and the setting provides the right mood to place an essential atmosphere in the minds of the viewers.
Jon Avnet does a fantastic job directing lighting and camera work; everything that sets films apart from written works is accomplished with the utmost confidence and talent.
Frankly, Righteous Kill reaches its intended effect by putting De Niro and Pacino together for an entire movie. They have a great supporting cast, but they still run the show.
I would recommend any fan of either actor to head to the theater immediately, but I caution you not to expect a climactic thriller with a tour de force ending.