The current Robert De Niro/Al Pacino cop thriller, “Righteous Kill” is a disappointed. Actually, most of the film’s faults, or should I say expectations lies with me.
After taking a few days to digest the film, it occurred to me that any expectations I might have had about seeing two Hollywood of legendary icons going one-on-one for the first time in 13 years would be impossible to meet. In all fairness, “Righteous Kill” is a standard, by-the-numbers police drama with a surprise ending that’s a no surprise to no one except the film characters who have known better.
“Righteous Kill” borrows the premise and even some dialogue from “Magnum Force” (‘73) a cop serial killer is saving taxpayers a ton of money, by knocking off the city’s top criminals.
De Niro and Pacino play NYPD detectives Fisk and Cowan who after 30 years on the job are ready for retirement but called upon to investigate a string of murders where the victims are all criminals who have beaten murder and raps.
Fisk and Cowan like a local drug dealer named Spider (Curtis Jackson) as the serial killer. However, throughout their investigation Fisk and Cowan are dogged and second guessed by two younger detectives (John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg), who believe the murder suspect is a rogue cop.
“Righteous Kill” depends on plot gimmicks that detour the audience away from the fact that there’s little character development. What should have been a great movie where the action is the collision of De Niro and Pacino's fever-pitch personas, is just an extended version of “Criminal Intent.”