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