Righteous Kill is a slapdash thriller about a self righteous cop who takes it into his job-description to track down criminals pardoned by the court of law and shoot them into oblivion. The plot line of the movie is tried and tested, and it soon turns into a test of tolerance for the audience. In the end of the day, the movie only survives due to the lucky presence of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
Turk (Robert De Niro) and Rooster (Al Pacino) are two ragged New York detectives who have been working together for ages. Turk is the tough, taciturn and direct. Rooster on the other hand is the more thoughtful, philosophical restraint on his care-worn buddy.
Both the detectives have been nurturing years of frustration as murderers and sex offenders keep getting off the hook due to the technicalities of the legal systems. The detectives cross their boiling point when a panel of jury acquits a child rapist.
Unable to stand the decision Turk decides to stray from the legal path and frames the rapist for a murder that he did not commit. Rooster assists his partner on the frame, but loses faith on the legal system.
Soon a resourceful vigilante armed with a full knowledge of different criminals starts taking out pimps, rapists and mobsters. Although Turk and Rooster are assigned to track the shooter down, they barely seem to withhold an admiration for the vigilante. As Rooster points it out, “We need to catch the guy… And give him a medal.”
What are the odds that either Turk or Rooster is the vigilante?
Righteous Kill is packed with clichéd dialogues, which may seem to be borrowed from any other cop movie. However, when delivered by De Niro and Pacino, even clichés sound powerful. The director tries somewhat desperately to add a street-smart feel to the movie. As a result, we see Al Pacino sporting a leather jacket and De Niro engaging in sadomasochism with a colleague half his age. We are glad that it is at least a female colleague.
Although it is only their second movie together Pacino and De Niro have a great chemistry, which is very well portrayed in the characters of Turk and Rooster. Righteous Kill is must watch because its not everyday that actors of Pacino's and De Niro's caliber come together to act in the same movie.