The first thing I should say about the movie ‘Righteous Kill’ is that good actors don’t necessary make good films.

De Niro. Pacino. Spagetti Carbonara. Oh wait… 

‘Righteous Kill’ is a movie about two cops, on the hunt for a vigilante serial killer. And my biggest beef with it? It makes no sense.

If you’re looking for one of those reviews that spoils enough so you know whether to watch the film or not – please leave now. This isn’t one of those reviews. Instead, I am systematically going to pull the film to shreads. Because it feels like the right thing to do. So obviously, expect spoilers.

Firstly, a film that has managed to get arguably two of the best actors of their generation on board, well not even God himself could stop it getting made.

Idiot 1: Terrible script?
Idiot 2: Meh, it won’t matter. People will be too blinded by their acting genius.
Idiot 1: Well hold on there buddy. This movie actually makes no sense.
Idiot 2: We have De Niro and Pacino. Why are you not giving me millions of dollars to make this?
Idiot 1: Do you accept American Express?

…That, right there, is probably how the studio execs came on board. On top of that, once it got the green light, we got other quality actors muscling in too. Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo and 50 cent (okay, maybe not that last one) all signed up to be in this surely Oscar winning master piece. And the cherry on the cake of the cast was the highly underrated actress Carla Gugino, who – rather grossly – plays De Niro’s love interest (especially considering she played his daughter fifteen years earlier in This Boys Life).

"Daddy? Can I have an ice cream? ...Oops, sorry - wrong movie."

“Daddy? Can I have an ice cream? …Oops, sorry – wrong movie.”

But through it all, no amount of Hollywood royalty could save this sack of shit. I saw an interview with the script writer Russell Gewirtz saying that when he writes a screenplay, he figures out the twist at the end and works backwards. Russell? Did you also write it standing on your head and in Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics? Because I think a few things were lost in translation. Firstly, we start the movie hearing De Niro’s character Turk presumingly confessing to be a serial killer. Its a voice over that goes on through out the film. When the movie basically follows the path of your usual murder mystery, it becomes pretty clear its obviously not De Niro. Why else would it be a murder mystery? If it isn’t De Niro, who else could it be?! Well obviously his partner Pacino! It’s so god damned obvious I spent most of the film asking my TV if it thought I was an idiot. We know De Niro can’t be the killer. By having him ‘video confessing’ in the first fucking scene, it is so obvious it cannot be him. Otherwise we all may as well go home, get a refund and get in the bloody tardis to get the last two hours of my life back. In reality however, that is still a tempting thought. Because in less than the time it takes to say, ‘wrinkly old men’ I knew the killer so obviously had to be Pacino. No grade A actor like him is going to sign up to a project were he either a) Isn’t the killer or b) The main suspect. It just wasn’t going to happen. And so in that way, having these two solid actors, actually meant it screwed itself from the get go.

I know Bob, I can’t believe what he’s saying either. Who wrote this shit?!

But even if I put the ridiculously obvious ‘twist’ to one side, the rest of the film makes no sense. Firstly, when Rooster (Pacino) feels he is about to get caught, he says he needs to do something unforgivable. So he rapes – or at least I think he does, its a bit unclear – Carla Gugino’s character, who is also a cop. This made no sense. Until he did that, he had deniability. Maybe, just maybe it would be a plausible thing to do if Rooster was satisfied with the fact he was going to get caught, and wanted to hurt partner Turk (De Niro) by raping his girlfriend, as one last ditch offence before he went down in a shower of bullets. But he didn’t. At the end of the movie, Rooster is very much trying to escape. He threatens to shoot his partner in order to do so. It just makes no sense. He had no reason to do something ‘unforgivable’. He’d already killed 14 people. And when Turk found out, he didn’t seem particularly bothered. Not a word was uttered about it.

And then there’s this. Turk shoots his partner Rooster at the end of the movie to avoid getting shot. But wait, Turk was disarmed by Rooster. Obviously, lifelong cop and clever serial killer Rooster isn’t going to leave his partner armed when he’s trying to escape. He doesn’t want to kill him, as he respects him, but he isn’t an idiot. You don’t give a cop a gun when you’re an escaping criminal. And that’s where Karen (Carla Gugino) conveniently comes in.

Turk runs after Rooster, despite being unarmed. Meanwhile, while all this was going on, a very pissed off and distraught Karen – still reeling from her rape – decides to track down Rooster and deal with him herself. Cue her turning up armed, threatening to shoot the ‘sick prick’. She’s too upset to do it though, and Turk takes her gun, goes after Rooster and ultimately kills him.

Are you kidding me?! 

Was it that hard to write that you had to bring in an unplausable, totally unnecessary rape scene just to get a gun in the room with Turk so he could kill his partner? Really?! The final few scenes play out in a friggen gangsters night club. Why couldn’t he have found a gun there? Or at least, if you wanted us not to empathise with Rooster, make his reason for attacking Karen more clear. “I needed to do something unforgivable” is not a reason! Especially not when he wanted to escape and could have done so easily at any point in the film. Instead of doing something unforgivable – he could have been half way to Timbuktu. But no alas, the writer was either too lazy, or too stoned to realise the script made no sense.

Furthermore, there is a scene were Karen comes home to find a poem, not dissimilar to those written and left by the murderer at the scene. Except it wasn’t written by the killer. It was written by Turk. We are not told what it said, nor why he wrote it at any point in the film. Nor the reason for the scene.

The whole film is laced with questions like this. Not because the plot was too intricate or complex. This isn’t Inception we’re talking about. Instead we have a film with more holes than a pack of polo’s, and that makes less sense than a midnight drunken text message.

I’m not saying the actors didn’t do well with what they had. They did okay. But with what they had in terms of script, the whole thing was destined to fail from the beginning. If you are going to write a murder mystery – firstly, make sure its actually a mystery. Secondly, ensure that you are not taking illegal drugs while writing. And thirdly, friggen proof read and check the whole thing makes sense and is realistic.

Here endeth the lesson.

Overall, a very disappointing 4/10. And Carla Gugino pretty much earned all four of those stars. Because she’s awesome.

Anyone who has the sass to be in both Sin City AND Watchmen… well they are my heroes. Period.


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