WHEN Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were brought onto screen (rather belatedly) together by Michael Mann in Heat, the pair were at their best. Over a cup of coffee they flexed their acting muscles.
Decades had led to that moment, both had Oscar worthy turns in Godfather Part II but never did they appear on screen together. Raging Bull saw De Niro pick up the coveted Oscar whilst Pacino was made to wait but finally rather belatedly he got recognised for his role in Scent of a Woman.
But Righteous Kill isn’t so much a thriller but a legend killer. The writing is as lacklustre as Johnny Vegas on a new wave dance floor and the direction is as appeasing as a rat in an award winning restaurant.
When you look at the way Mann framed the pair in Heat and compare it to here, well a piece of every film fan dies.
Righteous Kill suffocates in a slurry of clichés and police procedural trappings. The whole film builds to one plot twist that would have worked had 80 per cent of the film not been so one-paced.
Mann’s characters in Heat were poetic without being clichéd, they were grand without being pompous and they were framed brilliantly by the man behind the lens.
Here not even Pacino and De Niro can save this one dimensional rat bowel movement; they try but to no avail.
To be fair to Russell Gewirtz (the writer behind Inside Man) you can sort of see what he wants to do. But at the point of pay off you’re left short changed because of the lack of character development. Ironic considering they had two leads at their disposal that have made a career (spanning three decades) character acting.
The only redeeming feature has to be the scene where 50 cent’s character gets shot from point blank range by Al Pacino’s character, causing 50 cent’s character to fall out of a window. But pause just at the right moment and you can see what is clearly a dummy – an allegory for Mr Cent’s acting career if there ever has been one.