Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the same film is a cause for global celebration. Both are legendary method actors from the same generation but their paths have rarely crossed.
In Michael Mann's 1995 Heat, they had one scene together and in the Godfather part 2, their characters never meet on screen.
So you can't blame co-producer Avi Lerner for proclaiming that Righteous Kill is an event in world history. I hate to be a party pooper but the fact is that this event is a non-event.
Righteous Kill is a staggeringly pedestrian cop drama, with an end-twist so lame that it makes Shyamalan's The Village look positively Hitchockian.
De Niro and Pacino play grizzled New York City detectives, on the chase of a serial killer, who leaves a trail of dead bodies and bad poetry. This killer however is bumping out only nasty people who have somehow escaped the long arm of the law-think of me as a street sweeper he says.
Are you hearing echoes of Dirty Harry or every other vigilante film you've seen over the last few decades?
Righteous Kill is lazy pulp. Director Jon Avnet tries to pump up an ordinary script with diversions, high-speed, jump cuts and an uninspiring love angle, which requires De Niro to periodically ravage his girlfriend, who is also a crime scene investigator.
She wants him to pull her hair hard and she gets aroused when she hears about him bashing up a criminal. The veteran actors seem only mildly involved in the proceedings.
They share an easy camaraderie and clearly aren't interested in upstaging each other. But all their talent, reputation and charisma cannot salvage this clunker of a movie. In the climax, De Niro looks at Pacino and says: "We've got to end this thing."
I couldn't have put it better myself. I suggest you watch Righteous Kill but only for its historical value.