Ken Regan
Jeff Labrecque
September 04, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Righteous Kill

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
101 minutes
Wide Release Date
09/12/08
performer
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
director
Jon Avnet
distributor
Overture
author
Russell Gewirtz
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D

When Pacino and De Niro faced off in 1995’s Heat, it was a cinematic event even though they had just two scenes together. Now, after 13 years of comparatively uninspired roles, the actors’ reunion in Righteous Kill raises the question, What took so long? “It’s easier said than done,” says De Niro. “I wish at times we had been more proactive, but we weren’t. Life, you know?” Initially, the script, about two NYC policemen fighting through political red tape to capture a serial vigilante, called for an old cop/ young cop dynamic. But De Niro, the first to sign on, had a thought: “What about Al?” Turns out ? Pacino liked the script and connected with the troubled detective: “It’s not in my guy’s DNA [to retire],” he says of the revamped character. “Probably, his ambition is to die on the job. Sort of like an actor.”
OUR TWO CENTS Jon Avnet is no Michael Mann, but these characters and the murky subject matter are right up the Oscar winners’ alley. 9/12

DEEP DIVE If they don?t sizzle this time around, this 2005 DVD extra dissects Heat?s classic confrontation

See a clip of EW?s Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum discussing this film

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