The Good

DeNiro and Pacino in a movie together is pretty much a slamdunk.

The Bad

This release feels like it is missing something.Righteous Kill tells the tale of 2 cops working in the big city of New York. This story could be any police officer's story. It is about good men trying to do a dirty job and surviving all that that entails. Robert DeNiro stars as Detective Turk and Al Pacino stars as Detective Rooster. These are two gritty officers who know all the ins and outs of the dirty business that they're in. When a well known pimp turns up dead, Rooster and Turk soon find themselves trying to figure out who committed this crime. This also drag up an older case from years ago and suddenly we find that people's lives in New York aren't as disparately connected as maybe we, and Rooster and Turk, always thought. Throw in the fact that police officers might be involved in the murder and things get very confusing for everyone trying to put the pieces together.

While Righteous Kill y isn't the cinematic achievement that fans might have hoped to have gotten from Pacino and DeNiro, there was something quite comforting about this movie. It isn't Heat, okay? So you can stop comparing the two films. Jon Avnet isn't Michael Mann nor is he trying to be. This movie is simply a character study, wrapped up as a thriller, and presented as a cinematic tour de force of the highest order. Interestingly, it isn't any of those things exactly but it is still interesting.


The following extras are not in High Definition

Commentary Track

Director Jon Avnet sits back and tells us about the making of this movie. He discusses how he put the film together, how Pacino and DeNiro were cast, and what it was like to make this movie with that cast in the city that is famous for these stories. What I found really interesting is that Avnet functioned as the producer on this project. So in many respects this movie was mainly his vision. While I can't say if that helped or hindered this film, it did make it more interesting because his hands were so prevalent on it.

The Investigation: An In-Depth Look At Righteous Kill

The Thin Blue Line: An Exploration of Cops and Criminals

What made this featurette interesting is that fact that it seemed to go out of its way to look at the main dilemma of the film. How does one go about upholding the law while also steering clear of the problems that arise when they are faced with temptation? How do they stop crime without becoming criminals? The people behind this film do their level best to try and answer this question. While they certainly don't figure everything out in the featurette, the fact that they even broach it in this supplemental feature is something to be applauded.


Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation - 2.35:1. 1080p. Righteous Kill looked pretty solid. This movie really benefitted from being in the Blu-ray format. There was a very harsh quality to this film that was represented in the way the city was shot. Director of Photography Denis Lenoir really seemed to be going for the look that was quite prevalent in the films of Sidney Lumet and Francis Ford Coppola. With the way that High Definition seems to enhance the colors of the films being shown, I think I saw some things that I didn't notice while viewing this movie in Standard Definition. The main things were just how bright this movie was shot. It almost seems as if they were trying to say something about the characters rather than make an artistic statement.


Dolby TrueHD 5.1. English and Spanish Subtitles. There are also subtitles in English for the deaf and hearing impaired. This movie sounded good in SD but I think it came alive in Blu-ray. Editor Paul Hirsch has done a very solid job melding the images and sounds, and because of the bump in audio quality this movie had a much bigger sound. I honestly felt like I was watching a New York movie in this format. By this I mean I noticed more of the sounds of the city, as well as the office sounds, and the just the general hustle and bustle that people feel when they think of New York.


The black and white Reservoir Dogs rip off image that was on all the theatrical posters is what graces the front of this Blu-ray cover. The back features some images from this film with the skyline of New York behind it. There is a brief description of what Righteous Kill is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. This movie also comes with a digital copy on an extra disc.

Final Word

While people might say that I am a sucker for Pacino and DeNiro, I really enjoyed this film. It certainly wasn't the best movie that I watched in 2008, but it surely wasn't the worst. Yes, I would like for the story to have been better, and at times I felt that our screen legends were merely mugging for the camera. On that same note I know that these actors really take their work seriously, so it isn't like I can 100% dismiss what this movie had to offer. I think when we hear that stars of this caliber are getting together we expect their movie to be greeted with more fanfare. Something tells me that the money people behind this movie we're able to raise the funds because of who was in the film. Yet, when it came time to market it that could have been left to a company with more experience and marketing chutzpah.

Righteous Kill has shades of the films of Sidney Lumet and that alone should make it worth screening. Owning this disc is another story...