Watch ‘Righteous Kill’ just for the Pacino-DeNiro pairing (Hollywood Film Review)

September 14th, 2008 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Righteous Kill”; Director: Jon Avnet; Cast: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino, Brian Dennehy, Donnie Wahlberg; Rating: **Film fans would salivate at the prospect of watching two screen legends like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino co-star in a movie. They did appear together in the past, but the first time was in the classic “Godfather II” where they shared no screen time at all and then 13 years ago in “Heat” when they had six scintillating minutes of dialogue in a coffee shop.

Almost no one would care about “Righteous Kill” as a movie. It is formulaic, the twists are not too exciting and the movie overall is just not interesting. It’s the pairing of DeNiro and Pacino that makes it worth anything at all.

The actors at times look like they are in cruise control and yet there are times where they click and the chemistry is good. There are no attempts at upstaging, and the respect these two legends have for each other is evident.

DeNiro is a workaholic and at times he appears in some real stinkers like “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”. Pacino hasn’t fared much better either by doing some major scene-chewing work and shouting out “hoo-wah” every once in a while.

They are not aiming for any great acting here but the movie is served well with them reining in. The performances are subtle and in each scene it is clear they are working on complimenting each other.

The genre of the cop thriller, in which this movie so dutifully fits, brings with it some inescapable baggage. And in “Righteous Kill” we cant help but notice the actors are playing caricatures that they themselves in their past have played.

Watching any other actors in these roles would have been a tremendous bore. DeNiro and Pacino lift the material to a whole new level while saving it from the obvious doom of clich├ęs.

The supporting cast all do a fine job as no one tries to do more than what is expected from them. A pleasant find here is Donnie Wahlberg. He used to be in the boy band New Kids On the Block and he does a fine job of holding himself in good stead in the face of such legends.

Action movie fans will not find much to be happy with since there are no car chases or explosions. Even those expecting a thriller might be disappointed by the almost predictable twists and the end.

But for those looking for a chance to watch two legends sparkle on screen and rescue a mediocre movie, “Righteous Kill” delivers.

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