Engaging, But Ultimately Forgettable and Gratuitous
Release Date: September 12, 2008
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Gina
Carino, John Leuizamo, Brian
Dennehy, Donnie Wahlberg, and
Genre: Police Thriller
Runtime: 100 minutes
Distributor: Overture Films
Director: Jon Avnet
Executive Producer: Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short
and George Furia
Producer: Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson,
Randall Emmett, Daniel M.
Rosenberg, Alexandra Milchan,
Rob Cowan, and Lati Grobman
Writer: Russell Gewirtz
Address Comments To:Robert Clasen, Chairman/CEO
(Starz Entertainment, Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment)
8900 Liberty Circle
Englewood, CO 80112
Phone: (720) 852-7700
Fax: (720) 852-8555
DeNiro is Turk, an angry man who’s having an implied sadomasochistic affair with the pretty, younger forensics detective (played by Carla Cugino) working their beat. Pacino plays Turk’s long-time, more mild-mannered partner, nicknamed Rooster.
The movie opens with Turk deliberately framing a man who got away with killing his girlfriend’s young daughter for another crime. Rooster warns Turk not to do it, but he lets him get away with it anyway.
After a confrontation with a black drug lord, Turk and Rooster head the investigation into the vigilante slayings. Working with them is the former boyfriend of Turk’s girlfriend and his partner, Perez and Riley (played by John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg, respectively). When Perez suggests that a policeman is behind the vigilante murders, Turk gets very angry. Then, suspicion actually begins to fall on Turk, which makes him even angrier. Two surprising twists wrap up the story in an exciting finale.
One, and possibly both, of the major twists in the third act may be predictable to some (if not many) viewers. Certainly the first, and most simple twist, is the easiest to figure out, even early in the story (which was when MOVIEGUIDE® figured it out). The second twist is more of a surprise, though it resulted in some confusion about the characters for MOVIEGUIDE® as it tried to take its usual comprehensive notes during the movie. When the twist is revealed, the confusion is cleared up, but it’s hard to tell how fair the twist really is.
RIGHTEOUS KILL is exciting enough. The acting and direction, especially DeNiro and Pacino, are also professional and watchable. The movie is rather forgettable otherwise, however. The constant foul language, and the movie’s offensive sexual content also take away from the movie’s enjoyment, especially for media-wise viewers like MOVIEGUIDE®’s staff of media-wise pundits. The movie’s worldview is too mixed to be completely inspiring, much less redemptive. This negative content probably will greatly hurt the movie’s appeal to mainstream audiences, despite the obvious attraction of putting DeNiro and Pacino together in a movie.
RIGHTEOUS KILL is exciting enough. The acting and direction, especially DeNiro and Pacino, are also professional and watchable. The movie is somewhat forgettable otherwise. Some viewers may guess at least one, if not both, of the major twists. The movie’s constant foul language and offensive sexual content also take away from its enjoyment. This will be especially true for media-wise viewers. The negative content will greatly hurt the movie’s appeal to mainstream audiences, despite the obvious attraction of putting DeNiro and Pacino together again in a movie.