Friday, September 12, 2008

"Righteous Kill"

Jon Avnet's follow-up to the abysmal "88 Minutes," the DeNiro/Pacino pairing "Righteous Kill," is a perfectly serviceable midrange thriller. The problem is, even though individually the two actors have been shit for about a decade (if not longer), when the two icons get together, it creates an inexplicable-yet-undeniable level of expectation, and "serviceable" isn't nearly enough to satisfy those who might be attracted to the theater; they want "good." Performance-wise, the two actors don't appear as sleepwalk-y as they have been, but they're not exactly stellar either. But despite their rare semi-alert performances, and no matter how it does at the box office, the film itself won't be doing either actor's reputation any favors. What it shows, ultimately, is their lack of integrity. Both DeNiro and Pacino have said they were waiting for the right project to reunite, but there's no way they thought this thing was anything special; it's clearly just another paycheck for them.

Avnet's hackneyed direction certainly doesn't help, but the screenplay's no great shakes. The dialogue throughout is noticeable clunky (each Pacino-spewed pun is more cringe-worthy than the last), and the plot twists are so predictable that you're sure there will be more coming, but alas... not so much. Still, the movie is nowhere near an arduous sit. In fact, if it was something you stumbled upon at 3 a.m. on TNT, it might register as a somewhat pleasant surprise. Individually, both lead actors have made scores of thrillers worse than this ("15 Minutes," "The Fan," "88 Minutes," "The Recruit," just to name a few), so I don't think the movie quite deserves the across-the-board pans it's been getting. But, at the end of the day, the lone scene the two acting legends share in "Heat" is infinitely more compelling than the whole of "Righteous Kill," which registers as little more than a guilty pleasure.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's NO WAY that movie was better than The Fan. - Sneider

7:04 PM  

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