Reviewer's grade: C+
De Niro and Pacino co-star as Turk and Rooster, two NYPD police detectives who have been partners and members of the same mutual admiration society since Carter was president. The pair seem to have almost no lives outside prowling the mean streets together, occasionally stopping off to do a rosary or two and light some candles. Four years ago, Turk and Rooster planted evidence to put acquitted child killer Charles Randall (Frank John Hughes) in the cooler. It was the one time they broke the sacred trust of their badges, and as it turns out, it was the beginning of the long goodbye. One would think that a highly anticipated pairing like De Niro and Pacino would warrant finding the best script available.
Unfortunately, the plot, dialogue and general thrust of "Righteous Kill" are nothing special. It starts off with a series of cop movie cliches like the partners' competition on the gun range, coming up with the same number of perfect shots and sharing a laugh over it. There's a grizzled lieutenant (Brian Dennehy) who hauls the boys into his office and gives them what-for over their job performance. There's even a pair of rookie detectives (John Leguizamo and former New Kid Donnie Wahlberg) to act as foils for Turk and Rooster's younger selves.
"Righteous Kill" has some snappy, creatively profane dialogue that will amuse some, and good supporting performances from Leguizamo, Dennehy, Gugino, Wahlberg and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, among others. De Niro and Pacino fans will want to see it regardless, but in the end, it feels like a waste of one of the greatest pairings in film history. R