Sunday, 28 February 2010

Film Review: RIGHTEOUS KILL (2008)

Director: Jon Avnet
Running time: 97 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

UK Release Date: 25th September 2008

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 28th February 2010.


A film starring both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino is a rare thing these days. I know they’ve appeared together before, most notably in the Michael Mann film Heat (1995). In that film they were on opposite sides of the law, in this one they’re both detectives working a serial killer case. The only trouble is one of them is a suspect.

Homicide detectives Tom ‘Turk’ Cowan and David ‘Rooster’ Fisk are partners working for the NYPD. A series of killings, known as the ‘poetry’ murders because the killer always leaves a verse with the victim, has our two detectives seemingly baffled. Another killing in a different district brings younger Detectives Simon Perez and Ted Riley into the investigation. All of the victims were low-lifes of some description, pimps, drug dealers and the like. Also in on the case is Cowan’s girlfriend, and forensic detective, Karen Corelli. They come to the conclusion that the killer must be a cop. While this is going on, Cowan and Fisk have been put under psychiatric evaluation by Lieutenant Hingis after an incident with a suspected drug dealer called ‘Spider’. Partly because of the way Cowan and Fisk are acting, and partly because of the evidence, the finger of suspicion eventually points to one of them as the suspect. I’ll leave my little synopsis there, don’t want to give away too much of the plot!

I have read that a lot of people have been disappointed by this film; I can’t say I entirely agree with all of the criticism. Yes, both De Niro and Pacino are too old to be running about like they do, but hey, it’s just a film. I had no problem with their acting though, both Robert De Niro as Tom ‘Turk’ Cowan and Al Pacino as David ‘Rooster’ Fisk put in perfectly adequate performances IMHO. Not much wrong with the supporting cast either, 50 Cent as Spider, Carla Gugino as Karen Corelli, John Leguizamo as Det. Simon Perez, Donnie Wahlberg as Det. Ted Riley and Brian Dennehy as Lieutenant Hingis were all fine.

I guess my main criticism comes from the plot. It goes along quite nicely, with lots of little twists and turns, right up until the last twenty minutes. It then gets really bogged down with too much dialogue that doesn’t really add anything to the story. I was quite enjoying it up until that point. Anyway, in conclusion, it’s not as bad as some may have you believe, but does get a little bit too turgid towards the end.

My score: 6.4/10

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