New on DVD: Righteous Kill

New on DVD: Righteous Kill

Heat was one of the most anticipated movies of 1995, as it was the first to bring film icons Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together on screen. However, the pair only shared one scene as they played a game of cat and mouse. Righteous Kill reunites the movie heavyweights, but this time they’re partners […]


Heat was one of the most anticipated movies of 1995, as it was the first to bring film icons Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together on screen. However, the pair only shared one scene as they played a game of cat and mouse. Righteous Kill reunites the movie heavyweights, but this time they’re partners with a lot more shared screen time.

Rooster (Pacino) and Turk (De Niro) are New York cops. They’ve been partners for a long time and more than have each other’s backs. When a vigilante starts ridding the streets of criminals who failed to be convicted and leaving poetry to mark his work, the duo team with a pair young cops (John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg) to find the serial killer. However, evidence starts to point to a cop and the newer detectives have no qualms about following the trail to one of their teammates.

Writer Russell Gewirtz made his feature debut with The Inside Man, an unorthodox heist film with an unexpected finish. He’s followed this up by penning the screenplay for Righteous Kill, a cop drama with an incredible ending. Other than creating captivating narratives, Gewirtz has been blessed with great star power.

Once again, the draw of seeing Pacino and De Niro perform together is magnetic; but the quality of the story must also be worthy of their talents. Luckily, it is. Each is perfectly suited to his character: Turk is an instinct-driven loose cannon, while Rooster is an eloquent, level-headed thinker. While everyone else somewhat exists in the shadows of these two, Leguizamo and Wahlberg hold their own. Additionally, Curtis Jackson (a.k.a. 50 Cent) plays a drug dealing thug, which is not a far stretch for the performer.

There are three DVD bonus features but they are relatively interesting. The “behind-the-scenes” featurette contains numerous interviews with cast, producers and the director, most of which praise the greatness of Pacino and De Niro, although an interview with Pacino is noticeably absent. “Thin Blue Line” explores the psychology and corruption of the police force, interviewing former officers who came up against the “blue wall of silence.” The audio commentary is provided by producer/director Jon Avnet, who talks about shooting and working with the actors.