Movie Reviews

bellview--i love movies

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

Movie Awards
2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
2006 Roundup
2007 Roundup
2008 Roundup
2009 Roundup


"Righteous Kill"

Directed by Jon Avnet.
Written by Russell Gewirtz.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

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 cop.

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 "Spy Kids"), 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 Mohicans", "Miami 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 "Office Space"). 

"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, 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 half stars." 

"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 Vice"-rated movies.)

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09