Friday, May 6, 2016
(September 2008, U.S.)
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, in my opinion, are two of the best screen pair-ups since Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and neither team actually did more than two films together (Pacino and DeNiro were in THE GODFATHER-PART II, of course, but never appeared in a scene together. The chemistry that Pacino and DeNiro have together, both in dialogue (especially dialogue!) and in physical action, well...frankly, I'd spend two hours listening to them both read the damn phone book aloud, if that's what they chose to do. Most fans of both actors feels as I do. Unfortunately, many fans and critics did not welcome RIGHTEOUS KILL very warmly, which really puts me in the minority of this one. I suppose every one but me else would have actually preferred the phone book.
Pacino (known as "Rooster") and DeNiro (known as "Turk") are New York City police detectives and long-time partners (this would be Pacino's sixth time playing a cop, by the way. The man is good at it!) in search of a serial killer known as the "Poetry Boy" killer. The killer has earned this title for his modus operandi of murdering scumbag criminals who have beaten the justice system and leaving short poems that rhyme with their dead bodies. While working with a pair of younger detective (played by Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo), the evidence of each murder inevitably leads the team into believing that the killer is an ex-cop. As the bodies continue to pile up, and they include a Catholic priest and child molester, tensions build between the cops, and the younger team begins to suspect "Turk" as the ex-cop killer, while "Rooster" is determined to defend his partner's innocence. When "Turk" finally stumbles upon and reads a journal that "Rooster" has been keeping, it's revealed that "Rooster" is the killer as he takes the life of a drug dealer while "Turk" is there to witness it. "Turk" is then forced at gunpoint to read "Rooster's" journal in front of a video camera as if it were his own. The reading of the journal serves as the film's narrative in which, up until this point, we were lead to believe that "Turk" was actually the killer offering his confession. The truth inevitably brings both partners and friends to face off against each other. As one might expect, the good shall prevail...though good may be considered from one's point of view in this film.
While the final twist ending may be considered a satisfying one that keeps us off guard (or at least one that doesn't cheat us too badly), the bulk of the film's plot line and action is rather predictable. In fact, much of the action and drama we see may be highly comparable to, say, a two hour episode of LAW & ORDER. But since I don't watch LAW & ORDER (or much of any TV, for that matter!), I can be a little more open-minded with what this film has to offer. Because it seems that RIGHTEOUS KILL is not offering its audience much of anything new, I suppose it's easy to understand the negative reactions toward the film, despite the re-teaming of two major stars like Pacino and DeNiro. This is perhaps where I'm just more of a die-hard fan of these two legendary actors and am willing to accept whatever they choose to do together. Still, it's always exciting to see these two play tough guys in just about any movie, Pacino especially, being my favorite actor, and all. Despite my appreciation for RIGHTEOUS KILL, I hope it shall not be the swan song for a Pacino and DeNiro screen partnership. The two are perfect together, and despite the negative reception of this film, I believe they still have much to offer us while they're still tough enough to offer it. Keep it going, boys!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Dr. Prosky: "How do you feel when You've fired your weapon?"
Turk: "Dirty Harry said there's nothing wrong with a little shooting, as long as the right people get shot."