When Al Pacino and Robert De Niro co-star in a cop movie, what could possibly go wrong? Introducing seen-it-all, veteran detectives Turk and Rooster (De Niro and Pacino respectively) whose 30 year partnership has kept their skills top-notch.
They have repeatedly watched courts set criminals free, and now they seem to have had enough. Although it’s not clear how recently, Turk abuses his powers by planting a gun in a child-killer’s apartment after he was released from court, uncharged.
After a run-in with a well-known drug dealer and murderer, Spider, played by Curtis Jackson (50 Cent) at his club, in which they set up a sting operation, Turk and Rooster’s integrity is questioned after Turk engages in some less than procedural behavior.
Now, a serial killer is running loose in their city, killing only criminals that are set free in court, and he leaves an interesting calling card: a poem, with his “righteous” motives. Turk and Rooster’s superior (Brian Dennehy) has little faith in the duo handling the case on their own, so they instate two rookies, Detective Perez played by John Leguizamo, and Detective Riley played by Donnie Wahlberg. It soon becomes evident to the rookie team, that the killer is one of their own: a fellow policeman. After coming up with no leads, and after the child killer they set up is brutally murdered when the court releases him yet again, they begin to realize that the killer may be right under their nose.
Directed by Jon Avnet, Righteous Kill is full of every element of a good cop flick that anyone could want. You got your perfect case that keeps you guessing, you have the obvious suspect, the hot female cop who gets inexplicably involved in the killer’s games, and you have the twist at the end. Not to mention, you’ve got Pacino and De Niro. The only problem here is they could have just as well used The Jonas Brothers as the two detectives, and it still would have been just as good. It seems as if the roles were inflated and sold by the two veteran heavy-hitters.
Of course, the two did make the movie have a certain kind of humor and attitude, but the script, written by Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man), focused more on the fact that Pacino and De Niro were together in a movie, than anything else.
As in director Jon Avnet’s summer movie with Pacino, 88 Minutes, the twist could be quickly deciphered, if the viewer is paying close attention within the first few minutes of the movie, but if you would like to be surprised, the story still keeps you intrigued and amused.
Regardless of the lead roles being interchangeable with almost any two actors, the story develops quite well, and there are no holes in the plot. Witnessing Pacino and De Niro together in a movie hasn’t happened since 1995’s Heat, and hopefully this won’t be the last time. Let’s hope next time they co-star, there might be some mobs involved, and possibly a little Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci.