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Righteous Kill
Move along, nothing to see here.
Righteous Kill
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino Stars in "Righteous Kill."
OPENING WEEKEND: $28,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $60,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

March 24th, 2008: "Righteous Kill" features the second bigscreen pairing of De Niro and Pacino, who play two detectives searching for a serial killer.

What to Expect: I was at first extremely excited when I heard about the new cop drama Righteous Kill. I know that cop movies can get a little cliché nowadays, but as long as they are seamlessly integrated into a good story than most people do not mind. There is always great action, lots of good character development and, of course, tons of action and car chases. This movie seemed to have all of that and the added perk of having two of perhaps the best actors of all time in Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Unfortunately, this movie is much too corny and predictable to be worthy of anything more than a straight to DVD release. The talent of these two great actors is actually wasted because neither the script nor the director live up to the expectations that come with casting such big stars. In fact, everything about this movie will disappoint from the opening scene to closing credits except for a few quality parts that involve the two legends.

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The worst part of this movie has to be the screenplay written by Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man). The reason it is so bad is because he did not write it like an independent script and then have a movie and cast built around it. Instead this movie was tailor-made to allow De Niro and Pacino to star together.

The two men have been friends for years and yearned for the opportunity to work on a project again and have more scenes together than they did in their previous two movies. (The actors shared several scenes together in "Heat" and appeared in "The Godfather II," but never together.) To accommodate the two mega stars the new film will feature the two as a detective team which will allow them to be on screen together for almost the entire movie. However, this is not as great as it sounds, because the two are way too similar. Their definitive parts are almost always the dominant, well spoken, alpha male. They both are always in control, love to give monologues, and have a great "death stare."

As a result, the script that Gewirtz wrote revolves around two characters that are almost identical, just like the two actors: detectives David "Turk" Fisk (De Niro) and Thomas "Rooster" Cowan (Pacino) (cop cliché #1: all cops must have nicknames). These cops march to the beat of their own drums and are not afraid to bend the rules to put the criminals behind bars. Usually in cop movies there is some sort of contrast between the two partners to provide different perspectives and varied personalities. Yet in this movie the writers chose to go with two identical actors and in turn wrote for two identical parts that are almost interchangeable. In the script these two aging crime fighters are confronted with a serial killer who only kills criminals. He leaves poetry at the murder scene as his calling card. The two men are conflicted about how hard to pursue this serial killer since his motives closely resemble their own, but their job requires them to do so. Suspicion soon falls on Turk when one of the perps he had arrested, but got to walk free on a technicality, turns up dead. Well, there is supposed to be some sort of clever twist in this movie, but you can probably guess what it is right of the bat. First, the title "Righteous Kill"(may change before the movie is released) actually is cop slang meaning when an officer shoots a criminal in the line of duty. So from that we can infer that the serial killer is actually one of the cops. The movie really focuses on Rooster and Turk and suspicion immediately falls on Turk, so we have to assume that Rooster is the actual killer and I am guessing that Turk is going to have to shoot him.

The second huge problem with this movie is director/producer John Avnet. Avnet has been around Hollywood for a very long time producing over 30 movies. Unfortunately, his directing credits are not as impressive, with only Fried Green Tomatoes considered a good movie. His most recent film, 88 Minutes, also stars Al Pacino, but has been vacillating between straight to DVD and theatrical release for the last year. The reason for that is because he always chooses to go with small studios and even smaller budgets to maximize profits. In the case of Righteous Kill, the movie is being developed by Overture Pictures and Moonlight Films. He was able to secure a budget of only sixty million which is not enough money to make the caliber of movie that a Pacino and De Niro reunion deserves. As a result, much of the rest of production suffered.

Most of the filming was done in Connecticut while the movie is supposed to be taking place in NYC. The actual filming suffered even more. It seems that Avnet was going for a dark, realistic look and feel like The Departed had. Unfortunately, the final product comes out looking very cheap which stands out even more when the comparison to the The Departed is made.

The final piece that suffers, and will be the most noticeable, is the ensemble that will surround De Niro and Pacino. The most noticeable on this list has to be Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. The guy is a horrible actor to begin with, but has somehow made himself the face of this movie. He has been giving interviews to anyone who will listen, causing controversy, and he has been expounding his great "acting talents" and new found friendship with Robert De Niro. There have been rumors that 50 Cent actually punched one of the actors in the face after the actor had confronted him about not knowing his lines. 50 Cent even appeared on magazine covers with De Niro promoting the movie. Fortunately, what most people do not realize is that 50 has very few lines in this movie and only appears in a few scenes with Pacino and De Niro. Avnet, for his part is complacent in all of this because this is all giving his movie free buzz, not good buzz, but buzz none the less. Other than 50 Cent the other actors in this movie are not much more impressive.

First we have John Leguizamo as another detective. He will be doing his usual "I am mad at the world for no apparent reason" character much like his part with Pacino in Carlito's Way. His partner will be played by Donnie Wahlberg, who is not even worth mentioning since his best work was in the slasher franchise Saw which is nothing to be proud off. The only interesting possible casting is that of a cameo by Martin Scorsese as the forces Sergeant. This rumor is not confirmed, but it would make sense giving the legendary director's long history with both Pacino and De Niro and his proximity to the various shooting locations in Connecticut and NY. Overall the cast assembled for this movie is extremely weak, and will look even weaker when they are on screen with the two godfathers of acting.

In Conclusion: Righteous Kill is a small budget, cheaply done movie that is going to try to market itself as the next Heat or the next Godfather mainly based on its two huge stars. Unfortunately, it is not even close to either. It is a cheaply made, poorly written and directed film. There is still a lot of time to make changes to this movie and everything from the title to the ending may change before it hits the theaters. Unfortunately, I have very little faith in the director's ability to make enough changes before opening day to make this anything less than a huge disappointment.

Similar Titles: Heat, The Godfather: Part II, The Departed
September 12th, 2008 (wide)
January 6th, 2009 (DVD)

Overture Films

Jon Avnet

Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, 50 Cent, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Dan Futterman, Trilby Glover, Rob Dyrdek, Mark Famiglietti, Denis OHare, Katie Chonacas, Brett Granstaff, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Alan Blumenfeld

Total: 39 vote(s).

Drama, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.

101 min




Righteous Kill at Trailer Addict

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