Robert De Niro and Al Pacino—both originally from New York City, both about the same age, both made their film debut around the same time, and both considered legends among American actors. Yet it's taken them this long in their 40-year careers to finally star in a film together.
Oh sure, they've been in the same movie before. There was The Godfather, Part II back in 1974, but they never actually shared any screen time. Then there was Heat in 1995, but they only had two scenes together, one with dialogue.
So at last there's Righteous Kill, though the crime drama wasn't originally intended for both aging veterans. De Niro's co-star was meant to be a younger cop to play off his older partner, but De Niro suggested Pacino, and the part was rewritten slightly. Naturally, director Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes, Red Corner) and screenwriter Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man) were game, and why not? Movie fans want to this movie to succeed for its iconic pairing.
Alas, here's proof again that a strong cast alone is not enough to make a strong movie. Keep in mind that both actors have been sliding for years now. Anyone see De Niro in Hide and Seek? Painful. Or Pacino in 88 Minutes (also directed by Avnet)? Equally bad. Righteous Kill aspires to the gritty cop dramas from Sidney Lumet in the '70s, as well as the nebulous noir of Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects, but it struggles to rise above direct-to-video fare.
Here's betting most viewers won't know what to make of Righteous Kill, because it never really settles into a groove for the first reel. The choppy editing of the opening credits attempt to set this up as a buddy cop film, like Tango & Cash meets Grumpy Old Men. NYPD detectives David "Turk" Fisk (De Niro) and Thomas "Rooster" ...1
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