Righteous Kill wasn't as highly anticipated as it should've been, despite the presence of two of the best actors of their generation sharing celluloid for only the second time. Michael Mann previously caught lightening in a bottle in 1995, in what many folk (me included) believe to be the greatest crime movie in history, Heat. Expectations should've been through the roof - even if neither great had been firing on all cylinders for some time. The reason this production is arriving with a whimper rather than a hyperbolic bang, is its helmer, Jon Avnet, who directed Pacino's last film, 88 Minutes (you haven't heard of it because it's been gathering dust on a shelf for well over a year). Needless to say Avnet is no Michael Mann. He displays zero flair and continually undermines his leading men with an overly intrusive score, ever present during even simple dialogue scenes. Plot wise the twosome play 30 year veterans of the New York City police department who have become frustrated with the judicial system letting rapists and murders go unpunished. Just as their professing their discontent with the situation, assailant's they know to be guilty are set free, then promptly clipped by a wily serial killer believed to be a cop. Scripter Russell Gewirtz shows very little of the smarts that made his first screenplay, The Inside Man, so enjoyable. He simply churns out a barrage of cop clichés along with a hackneyed whodunit plot that Jade Goody could figure out by reading the back of the DVD case. It's easy to say that this should've been great, and it really should've; but no one was expecting another Heat. Hell, we'd have snapped the hand off of another Inside Man; but the material isn't up to scratch here, and that coupled with a helmer lacking in the capability to pull it all together results in a desperately disappointing reteaming of the two greatest screen actors of their generation. If you don't want that iconic coffee shop scene tarnished, then stay well away.
Watch: Righteous Kill
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