Righteous Kill
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Curtis Jackson, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Carla Gugino. Written by Russell Gewirtz. Directed by Jon Avnet.

FILM SYNOPSIS: After 30 years as partners in the pressure cooker environment of the NYPD, highly decorated Detectives David Fisk and Thomas Cowan should be ready for retirement, but arent. Before they can hang up their badges, they are called in to investigate the murder of a notorious pimp, which appears to have ties to a case they solved years before.

Like the original murder, the victim is a suspected criminal whose body is found accompanied by a four line poem justifying the killing. When additional crimes take place, it becomes clear the detectives are looking for a serial killer, one who targets criminals that have fallen through the cracks of the judicial system. And the suspect may be a cop.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Its a sort of morality tale, showing how a rare instance of bad behavior in a good mans life can lead to the downfall in anothers. I cant say more than that or the ending would be given away (though the storys twist is very transparent from the get go). Its a gritty cop thriller, director Jon Avnet keeping the pacing and tension arm-gripping, and its stars giving us what we want from them, but it is not a memorable film. The Godfather movies were. Gene Hackman's The French Connection was. And Steve McQueens Bullitt still is. Righteous Kill, however, lacks that something extra. Then there is the content. Same old, same old.

DVD Alternatives: The Apostle. This perceptive drama, written, directed and starring Robert Duvall, never condescends, nor is it antagonistic toward people of faith while telling its story of a good but imperfect mans redemption. PG-13. I found nothing offensive for exploitive purposes. The implied adultery, its one violent scene, the reverend's faulty nature, and a couple of mild expletives serve to further the story rather than shock us or malign the ministry.

Or,

The Asphalt Jungle. Sterling Hayden, Sam Jaffe and a scene-stealing newcomer, Marilyn Monroe, star in this gripping tale of a robbery that slowly falls apart. John Huston co-wrote and directed this taut crime caper thats as much a character study as a suspense adventure.

Or,

The Chorus. This French film (with subtitles sorry bout that) is an emotional, music-filled tale about how a very humble mans simple dreams changed the future for a forgotten group of children.

Or,

Dead Man Walking. Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn. Surprisingly open to all sides of the capital punishment debate, the gut-wrenching plight of victims of crime is never overshadowed by the fate of the perpetrator. Although Ms. Sarandon and director Tim Robbins are renown for their extreme political and social ideals, here they seem tempered by an openness to every point of view. The audience is never subjected to sermonettes, but rather we see average people dealing with terror, loss, guilt and forgiveness. Although I hesitate to recommend the film due to the R material, the strong message of the courage and strength of Jesus overrides the movie's brutality. (At least for me). The events of this true story reveal how a heart ruled by patience and faith can "move mountains." Several ending scenes focus on the outcome of a life dedicated to spiritual truths. We see how a hurting and ignorant heart can be changed when we live the greatest command - love. Caution, it is rated R.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Overture Films

Summary
Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual remarks
Obscene Language: Over 70 obscenities before I lost count.
Profanity: Four or five profane uses of Gods name or Christs.
Violence: Several point-blank shootings; a cop murders criminals; a cop beats a handcuffed suspect. Blood: Some blood.
Sexual Intercourse: Two sexual situations, though brief, someone graphic.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: A pretty woman is seen using cocaine.
Other: None
Running Time: 101 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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