This Week in Movies: Righteous Kill

Andrew Burford

The re-teaming of Jon Avnet and Al Pacino, after this past spring’s horrendous 88 Minutes, has once again proved to be a waste of time with Righteous Kill. Even with co-star Robert De Niro at Pacino’s side, Avnet (as director) fails to capture any indication of the talent that each widely-respected actor possesses. The film itself lacks the suspense it attempts to evoke, and a rather obvious plot twist is met with lukewarm reception at best. But, hey, at least it’s not too long!

Pacino and De Niro play Turk and Rooster, a pair of NYPD cops with decades of experience under their belts. On the brink of retirement, the two find themselves conveniently confronted with their toughest task yet: to track down a serial killer responsible for the deaths of a number of wrongfully-freed criminals. Thusly deeming his work “righteous,” the killer’s peculiarly-helpful actions raise suspicions throughout the police department. Unfortunately for Turk and Rooster, said suspicions are soon enough pointed in their direction (how’s that for retirement benefits!?), paving the way for a fairly predictable tale of mistrust within the legal system.

Ultimately the movie does not measure up, and while I do normally prefer to recall at least some good things about even the worst of films, I felt nearly at a loss for words this week. Maybe that’s just because Righteous is not exactly a memorable one though either.

One particular scene of Righteous Kill really seems to sum it all up and put my thoughts into perspective, as Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson (who also somehow managed to co-star) walks alongside De Niro and Pacino down a hallway. Watching this I couldn’t help but cringe, thinking to myself that this is more of a slap in the face than anything else to both Oscar-winning actors have. Clearly, you men deserve better. And no, I am not referring to Jackson.

That being said, I’ve seen worse movies. Heck, I’ve seen worse movies this year alone. The plot twist might surprise. The acting has its moments. There are worse ways to spend 101 minutes. Still it would be pretty pathetic to consider these to be “good” things about Righteous Kill. Therefore I do not recommend the film, unless you enjoy scowling as much as De Niro does in most of his movies.

Righteous Kill is currently playing at the Hamilton Theater.