Sunday, January 11, 2009
Righteous Kill Review
Pacino. DeNiro. Armed and dangerous. In a cop drama. In NYC. Together. Written by the writer of Inside Man. Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, the fact that it doesn't live up to expectations is not unexpected. Those are some lofty expectations. Both Don Corleones in the same movie? Scarface and Travis Bickle mixing it up as New York's finest? Any movie with those ingredients should be arrested for being too damn cool; for having more quotable lines than Goodfellas or Heat. But the trouble with Righteous Kill isn't just that it's mediocre. It's flat out bad. As in awful. Lame. Boring. What could've gone so wrong?
First, and foremost, this movie is somehow NOT directed by Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, or Spike Lee. DeNiro initiated the project but I cannot imagine that the director of Fried Green Tomatoes and TV's The Starter Wife was at the top of his list. Jon Avnet is not a bad director in the way a Brett Ratner or Michael Bay might be, but in some ways he's worse, making films that are extraordinarily mundane and by the numbers. He seems to be a filmmaker comfortable with playing for a draw rather than risking losing to win. This one decision fuels the fire for everything else that helps burn the project down. Choosing a director like Avnet means that you have a filmmaker comfortable with making a routine film. For directors like Scorsese, Lee, or DePalma, a film might turn out awful in an absurd way but never a routine one. They would demand greatness all around them and attempt to make something memorable by pushing everyone's boundaries.
To read the rest of my review of the DVD at Cinemablend.com click HERE