Tuesday 18th January 2022

Righteous Kill (15)
Directed by: Jon Avnet
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

It's not often you get to see a film that stars two of the greatest Hollywood legends that ever lived, but director Jon Avnet has pulled off a major coup with this one by teaming up Robert DeNiro with Al Pacino. Movie fans will no doubt know that this talented pair has appeared in the same movie twice before, but have rarely shared screen time together. So putting them in the same film as two jaded cops should be cinematic magic, right?

Old folks will do anything to get out of paying a bar tab
Old folks will do anything to get out of paying a bar tab

Well, unfortunately it isn't. I can't really assign the blame for the film's shortcomings to the leading duo either, as it's entirely the fault of the script that this film is so poor. The characters have been written in such a way that they are not interesting or likeable, they have no depth to them and many of them seem superfluous to the story. The simple fact is that you will not care what happens to the characters in the film, or even care what they're doing.

The storyline is laid bare for you from the very outset; DeNiro's character is suspected of murdering a series of criminals who, for whatever reason, have got away with their crimes in the eyes of the law. The murders are replayed to the audience as the film cuts between past and present events, and frankly the first twenty minutes or so is as confusing as it is underwhelming.

As the film dawdles on, you may well begin to wonder if there's more to this film's plot than meets the eye. It seems so straight-forward that you have to assume that there's a twist coming at the end – at which point the penny drops and you will see the "twist" coming from a mile away. The rest of the film plays out predictably, and the previously mentioned poorly drawn characters are not appealing enough to sell what little there is to the audience anyway. And then the film ends.

The film doesn't pick up on the emotional journey the killer or his victims have taken, it doesn't show the repercussions of his crimes, it doesn't show much beyond the actual crimes themselves amid a series of scenes that seem fairly pointless. In fact, the whole film doesn't seem to have a point, despite possible grand intentions to make the audience question the morality of the legal system, á la Gone Baby Gone.

In short, this has to be one of the biggest cinematic disappointments of the year, and I don't believe this film would even have been released in the cinemas if it weren't for the two big names attached to it. If, like me, you're desperate to see these two great actors on screen in the same film, you should watch Heat, which is approximately 140 times better than this film.

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Length: 101 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 25th September 2008

Top Five Rating: 40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0%40.0% (40.0%)
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