Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are formidable actors, and in A Righteous Kill, they are paired as veteran NYPD cops, Turk and Rooster, who are investigating a long series of killings by someone who leaves a little poem at the scene of each crime. The victims are bad people, and it is apparent that some form of vigilante campaign is behind the murders.
Turk and Rooster are teamed with a younger duo, Perez and Riley, and tensions soon mount between the cops. These are fuelled by the fact that Turk is living with an attractive younger cop, Corelli (the very pretty Carla Gugino) who is Perez’s ex. An added complication is that Rooster fancies Corelli. Before long, Perez theorises that a cop is the poet-killer, and soon he focuses attention on Turk as a prime suspect.
The relationship between Turk and Rooster is pretty well done, and there are some other good things in this movie, as there are bound to be with such a cast (Brian Dennehy also crops up, as the Lieutenant), and the pace is well maintained. On the whole, however, I felt rather underwhelmed. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but the story-line had an over-used feel to it.
There were, I think, 14 victims of the serial killer in this film, and I rather think that when the body count rises so high, it is easy to stop caring. The idea of meting out justice to criminals has also been done many times before. A Righteous Kill is not a bad movie, but it’s not one that will stay in my memory in the same way as, say, The Lives of Others.