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Last seen together in Heat, my two favorite actors are back again in a psychological thriller about the hair trigger stress experienced by NYPD police officers. Only this time, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are cast as partners in clichéd good-cop bad-cop roles, with over thirty years of experience on the force on the same side of the law. Or are they?

Veteran detectives Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) are at the top of their game considering retirement, when a series of vigilante killings start to occur. The victims are all criminals discharged due to loop holes in the justice system. As lead investigators, their jobs and retirement pension come under scrutiny when no break through is made despite the increasing body count. Worse, is the absence of any forensic clues except for a poetic note left by the killer at the scene justifying the slaying. Crime scene expert Karen Corelli (Carla Gugino) along with fellow officers detective Riley and Perez (Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo) piece together the little evidence they have and arrive at a presumption that the serial killer is one of their own, much to the disagreement of Turk, regardless of their off-duty relationship.

Righteous KillKindled by an old rivalry, Perez seizes this opportunity and clandestinely enlightens Lieutenant Hingus (Brian Dennehy) that Turk has been playing Judge, Jury and executioner all along, clearing the path for a climatic showdown.

I hate to say this, but an unoriginal plot coupled with an unimpressive script was a bit disappointing. I was expecting something fresh, only to be served the same old silage where highly stressed cops dish out their own brand of justice in a neighborhood infested with murderers, rapists and drug dealers.

Jon Avnet, who directed quite a few films since the 70s, seems to mismanage the talents of Hollywood heavy weights De Niro and Pacino, who are best left working with the likes of Scorsese, De Palmer or F.F.Coppola. While De Niro and Pacino may have ultimately saved this film from oblivion, their presence in an otherwise mediocre film was like hiring Michael Schumacher to do wonders with a bicycle. As expected however, their explosive performances steal the show, throwing the supporting star cast into shadows.

Oh, there is a twist, but if you watch and listen carefully, the first twenty minutes is all you need to predict an ending parallel to Heat.

Component Grades
3 Stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
3 Stars


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby True HD

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; Audio Commentary; Featurettes.


* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with producer/director Jon Avnet.
* Featurettes
o An Investigation: an in-depth look at Righteous Kill
o The Thin Blue Line: an exploration of cops & criminals
* Previews - Original theatrical trailer

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging