Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Noxious Kill

Has anyone ever seen a movie about Abraham Lincoln? If you are the kind of person who watched a movie about Abraham Lincoln and thought that his assassination was a shocking twist ending that no one could have predicted then you will be absolutely amazed by the ending of Righteous Kill. You'll be so flabbergasted that you'll most likely wet yourself in amazement. Anyone who figured out ahead of time that Lincoln was going to die, however, will figure out the ending of Righteous Kill long before it arrives.

Don't be thrown by the fact that the movie stars Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. This simply is not a good movie. Oh, it's not horrible. It starts off ok and I mean just ok. There are no moments of greatness but there are moments of halfway-decentness. When it opens, we see DeNiro's character, Turk, making what seems to be some sort of confessional video where he admits to killing 14 people. "A ha, he must be the villain," you think. Oh, my poor, sweet simple reader, how naive you are. The video pops up again from time to time all through the movie reminding that Turk is way too obvious a suspect to have committed these crimes. Oh, a skillfully made film could reveal the criminal in the opening scene and hold tension all the way to the end but this film is not skillfully made. It was directed by Jon Avnet whose most famous movie is Fried Green Tomatoes which, somehow, made studio heads think, "YES! This is the guy I want directing my dark, hard-boiled crime drama."

The crime is a series of vigilante killings. Turk and his long time partner, Rooster (Pacino) are assigned to the task force to find this guy and quickly deduce that it must be a cop who's doing the killings. Also on the task force (which means they're also on the list of suspects) are John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg as Detectives Perez and Riley and Carla Gugino and Karen Corelli, a forensics detective and Turk's girlfriend. That, of course, is yet another one of those Hollywood relationships between a middle aged man and a babe half his age. There is a certain level of credibility (Karen is with him because she's turned on by violence and Turk is a violent guy) so I'm sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that most of the people who made this movie are middle aged men who'd like to be dating babes half their age. Hey, did you see that I just wrote that Turk is a violent guy? He is. He has a short temper and a history of abusing suspects. Also, we know that he once framed a man for a murder he didn't commit because he got off for the murder he did commit. I guess that plus the confessional video is all the proof we need that he's the killer, right? Yeah, you just keep believing that.

We also meet Spider, a drug dealer played by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson who runs afoul of Turk and Rooster. Turk handcuffs him and kicks him repeatedly after a female informant is injured in his club. Hey look, Turk committed police brutality. I guess that clinches his guilt.

I figured the whole thing out about halfway through the movie which means I got to spend the other half knowing exactly what was going to happen. Oh well, there was some decent acting, especially from Pacino, a few good jokes and some mildly exciting scenes. Like I said, it wasn't the worst movie-going experience I've ever had. Hell, it wasn't even the worst one this month. However, when you have two of the country's greatest living actors, I shouldn't have to say, "It wasn't the worst." I should at least be able to say, "Um, I guess it didn't suck."

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