Directed by Jon Avnet.
Written by Russell Gewirtz.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino and Curtis "50
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 10/1/08
Even now, as I write this 24 hours after
watching the new De Niro/Pacino flick "Righteous Kill", I still
can't believe what a fucking piece of shit this movie was.
I assumed that the two long-time New York
City heavyweights would make another movie together only if they
found something really special, something directed by a heavyweight,
with an epic feel to it...uhh, no.
"Righteous Kill" is bad in ways you can't
believe given the pedigree, until you look at the rest of the cast,
the director, and the plot. First, the story: two 30-year NYPD
vets (you guessed it, De Niro and Pacino) are on the trail of what
looks to be a serial killer of bad guys, with bodies littered
everywhere that all happen to be criminals of some kind or
another...and, conveniently, there are little poems left at the
crime scene each time someone dies. The vets investigate,
eventually coming to the conclusion that this killer is probably a
Well, not a bad idea, although not the best.
This starts the flick in Matinee territory. Then, you add in
the cast. For a film with De Niro and Pacino, I would have
thought that we would have had some pretty serious supporting-star
heavy hitters here. The last time these two worked together
was in "Heat", 13 years ago. A look at the two supporting
casts (and, please, try to hold your laughter until the end):
"Heat": Val Kilmer, Natalie Portman,
Mykelti Williamson (Bubba, from "Forest Gump"), Jon Voight, Dennis
Haysbert (aka President Palmer from "24"), Tom Sizemore, Ashley
Judd, Amy Brenneman, William Fichtner (long-time character actor,
currently on "Prison Break"), and Hank Azaria.
"Righteous Kill": Carla Gugino (best
role was probably as the mom from
Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Trilby Glover (???), Brian Dennehy
and 50 Cent.
Uhh...yeah. That brings us to the
director slot: "Heat" was done by Michael Mann, who is
generally considered an A-lister for films such as "The Last of the
Vice", and "The Insider"; "Righteous Kill" was done by Jon
Avnet, who I had to look up to learn more about...he did Pacino's
recent thriller "88 Minutes", and...not much else.
Feel bad for De Niro and Pacino...they are
getting old fast, and this did nothing to add to their legend.
Hopefully, somebody with some more weight will do their next film,
when both men are 80 but still playing crafty, wiley, cagey NYPD
detectives in an action-adventure film sometime in 2022.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard