starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg and Brian Dennehy
written by Russell Gewirtz
directed by Jon Avnet
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino rank among the best film actors of their generation, yet they have rarely appeared together. They both performed in The Godfather Part II(1974), but they did not share any scenes. Heat (1995, with Val Kilmer) was their first simultaneous appearance. So I looked forward to seeing them again in Righteous Kill (Japanese title “Baataa,” which I am guessing is supposed to mean “Barter”). It’s the story of two long-service New York City Police Detective partners - a common role for these two. One of them - we don’t know which - is a secret serial killer, acting as a vigilante to eliminate bad guys who escape the criminal justice system and using his police know-how to conceal himself. But there is a twist. I like movies like this that have a twist at the end. In everything he does Al Pacino always appears over-the-top. I wonder if he is really such a good actor. He specializes in characters that are out of control and have no interest in controlling themselves - not the same as Michael Douglas’ Prince of Darkness roles. Robert De Niro, on the other hand also excels at out of control maniacs, but he always gives the impression of struggling to achieve control. And, the more I see of Donnie Wahlberg, the more I like him. He does good.