Alright 'nuff small talk.
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are 65 and 68 years of age. I would like a brief pause in reading so that information can let that information settle in. Done? OK. This weekend our favorite pair of hard-asses are in theaters with the new flick Righteous Kill. Now, I mentioned their ages not because I'm trying to be a smartass " plenty of actors do awesome jobs way into their later years, Leslie Nielsen is 82 for Christ's sake and the man is still as hilarious as ever but comedy movies are a different breed. Am I saying it's impossible for 60-year-old actors to look tough and intimidating on screen? Not at all, but it does start to come into question a little more when it starts clashing with the story.
Here's the deal (I won't give important details away so don't worry). Movie opens up with a montage of typical cop movie stuff we've all seen; gun range practice, tough guy attitudes, getting angry at your kids little league games for no reason " you know, random macho NYC cop attitude. Next there's a weird video ?confession' of Bobby De Niro admitting to several serial killer style murders, making it seem like to us, the audience, that he is in fact the prime suspect of everything that's about to unfold. Is he though? What's going on? Where did this video confession come from and is he telling the truth? Director Jon Avnet isn't telling your inquisitive ass, that's for sure.
This movie is one of those that tries to come off like one big mystery slowly unraveling in front of you, and you're along for the ride except the unfortunate thing is it's pretty damn predictable. A bunch of low life street criminal scumbags who manage to evade jail time are suddenly getting picked off on at a time by a serial killer who believes in serving his own justice; a pistol shot in the face and a poem at every crime scene that relates to the bad person in question (kinda like Se7en, except less cool and with less planning). Some young detectives start thinking that a cop is behind the killings, and eyes start to wander over towards De Niro.
This movie should have been made 20 years ago; it would've been way more badass then, and more believable. Some of the scenes at the end involving De Niro running are almost laughable. Poor guy. Both Pacino and De Niro deserved better than this. They're both acting legends and got put into something that wasn't a good idea to begin with (Director from 88 Minutes? Did ANYONE see that movie? Shouldn't have gone back to him Pacino), not to mention setting an unrealistic bar for audiences everywhere. Pacino and De Niro on screen together in a tough cop movie? Godfather: Part II and Heat? Hell yeah! Just doesn't work here. The script is just a long Law & Order episode that tries to be more mysterious and filled with twists, the directing isn't impressive and it's painfully predictable.
Just because a movie has a lot of twists in it doesn't make it cool " M Night Shayamalan can tell you that (count it).
The Bottom Line: It seemed like the makers of this movie had a conversation that went like "Hey, let's try our best to make a badass cop movie" "Nah, all we have to do is put De Niro and Pacino as the lead roles and we'll be fine, don't worry about anything else". At least they have a couple of decent 1 liners to roll off here and there, so it's not all completely flat. Before things in the movie start changing, Pacino at least does a pretty good job on screen and I enjoyed his interactions with some of the other characters. As things went on? Well, you know the rest. This is kind of like when The Forbidden Kingdom banked too hard on a martial arts film only on the fact that Jet Li and Jackie Chan being in it together. Except this movie didn't have any CGI visual distractions. See it if you're a really big fan of the two of them, otherwise just wait till your friend who is way too into cop movies gets it on DVD and see it with them.
Grade: Just not feeling it the way I should be. For those of you looking for another Heat, keep on walking. I can't help but think that if this movie had been made with 2 unknown actors as the leads, this would be a straight to DVD. For the above mentioned reasons Righteous Kill gets a C-
Next up? Blindness. I don't want to preemptively raise the bar, but this movie looks pretty damn good. Time will tell my friends. CHMovieReview@gmail.com