Righteous Kill (2008)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 12, 2008 (USA)  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Jon Avnet's Righteous Kill is a perfectly polished three-star thriller, a compulsively watchable piece of Hollywood product that's sure to sell popcorn as De Niro and Pacino fans dutifully file in to receive their recommended weekly allowances of badge-flashing testosterone and pistol-whipping machismo. Were it not for the fact that it holds the curious distinction of being the first film that finally affords the two tough-guy icons the opportunity to share some serious screen time together, Righteous Kill may well have been wholly disposable, straight-to-video tripe. As it stands, however, the two actors whose careers have careened perilously close to self-parody in recent years still manage to maintain their spark, playing off of one another in a way that's passably gratifying for the film's 100 brisk minutes -- even if the actual product seems to clock in about a decade too late. Still, better late than never when it comes to a pairing like this, and though it may not achieve -- nor does it seem to aspire to -- the classic status of De Niro's and Pacino's best works, Righteous Kill serves as a more easily digestible version of the richly textured crime dramas on which they both built their sizable reputations. The plot, concerning two NYPD detectives on the trail of a serial killer who may or not be one of their own, isn't likely to hold many surprises for viewers paying close attention in the first 45 minutes or so, though this is most certainly a case of the journey being the destination, and in this instance the journey is something akin to a trip down memory lane after suffering from a mild case of amnesia that leaves the viewer forgetting how groundbreakingly good things were at their best, and how embarrassingly God-awful they were at their worst.