Friday, September 19, 2008

Righteous Kill - Movie Review

RIGHTEOUS KILL (**1/2) - Starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, Carla Gugino, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Brian Dennehy.
Directed by Jon Avnet.

See it for the treat of watching DeNiro and Pacino act together in one movie, but it's no Heat. It's nowhere near Heat.

The two men have made some poor choices since their 1995 teaming. They've both had good projects too, but I can't help but look at DeNiro and think "15 Minutes? Hide & Seek?" or at Pacino and wonder "Two for the Money? 88 Minutes?"

I read the original script called for Pacino's character to be a couple decades younger than DeNiro's, and that makes sense. Pacino keeps joking that DeNiro's his role model, things like that. In real life, Al has a couple years on Robert.

It seems a series of criminals who have been getting off on technicalities have been getting murdered, and the killer leaves behind poems. So the cynical cops investigating don't mind the bad guys getting snuffed, but they recognize they have a serial killer out there and they need to stop him. It doesn't take long (and the preview gives this away) for them to figure out that the killer must be a cop as well.

Having seen two Avnet movies within a week of each other (the other being 88 Minutes), I noticed something exploitive about how he treats his women. 88 Minutes had a killer who likes to string his women up and cut them, so that they slowly bleed to death while he's raping them. There's only one main female character in Righteous Kill, and she's a cop who likes rough sex, insomuch that we first think she's getting brutally raped before we find out she's just roleplaying. Carla Gugino must have read the script and muttered, "The things I do to get to work with DeNiro..."

(Which reminds me of the American Express commercial of Tina Fey trying to meet with Martin Scorsese. "I may miss my chance to get kicked to death in a movie." But I digress.)

Righteous Kill was one of those movies where we get an obvious red herring, a more subtle red herring, and then who I thought the actual killer is. But it actually wound up being the subtle red herring. I thought the subtle red herring was too obvious, but with mysteries, I guess it's pretty hard these days to surprise audiences with whodunit.

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