Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Robert DeNiro's Tailgating

Righteous Kill, Cineworld Broad Street, Birmingham, Sunday October 5 2008, 3.45pm.

Although they've shared screenbilling twice previously (in Godfather Part 2 and Heat) Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino for the first time share considerable amount of actual screentime in Jon Avnet's Righteous Kill. Turns out just as well that the movie has this USP going for it, as much else in the film seems sufficiently second-hand you find yourself looking for the name of Knock-off Nigel on the end credits.

The living screen legends play veteran NYPD detectives buddied up with a younger pair (the perennially under-used John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg) to track down a serial killer. When the evidence starts piling up it seems increasingly likely that one of their number is the perp, the undertow of paranoia and recrimination not helped by an apparent love/lust triangle between DeNiro, Leguizamo and a kinky colleague (Carla Gugino, the unlikely recipient of a partially-seen rear-end pounding from Bobby).

The leads work hard at keeping the tension sufficiently charged to carry the audience through to a seemingly-rushed conclusion, but director Avnet's attempts at flashy direction (quick cuts, wonky camerawork, disorientating time shifts) and the gimmicky casting of Fiddy Cent in a supporting role fails to persuade that this is anything other than a straight-to-DVD plot made entertaining and watchable by the high-wattage star turns from the screen heavyweights.

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