The Legendary actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino have appeared in three movies together. "Godfather, Part II," "Heat," and now "Righteous Kill." However, only in "Righteous Kill" do we get to see them do any substantial time in the same scenes.
"Godfather, Part II" had them in cross-cut episodes across a span of the ages. "Heat" gave them cross-cutting and a final confrontation.
"Righteous Kill" has them inter-acting on screen in almost every moment of the movie. At last!
As veteran N.Y.P.D. Detectives Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino), they are the team we've been waiting for. On par with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, and, yes, even Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, they are the right and left arms of a formidable acting instrument.
So wonderful is it to watch these two aging thoroughbred thespians together that we're sad to see them fade to black when the theater lights finally click on.
Unfortunately, as written by Russell Gewirtz ("Inside Man"), "Kill" is a tricky version of clichéd cop-as-vigilante movies (Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood's "Magnum Force," in particular).
"Bad cop" Turk is the hot head, while "good cop" Rooster cools him down. Both are angry at the liberal justice system constantly freeing their collars. Before long, the especially heinous, perverted criminals are being found dead with little written rhymes attached to their corpses. The mystery murderer becomes known as the "The Poetry Killer."
Suspicion soon falls on Turk, even from his forensic detective girlfriend, Karen Corelli (Carla Guigino).
It is enhanced by the running De Niro "Taxi Driver"-type voiceover, confessing the crimes and declaring his hatred of the scum corrupting the city. Multiple plot twists lead to a confusing climax and a clash of the two acting titans.
Director Jon Avnet ("88 Minutes") struggles in vain to keep things coherent. Still, De Niro and Pacino pump up the entertainment level by the magnum force of their combined skill and charisma.
Fans of the acting godfathers won't want to miss them finally working for an hour and 40 minutes on the same screen.