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Jon Avnet
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino
Writing Credits:
Russell Gewirtz

Two veteran New York City detectives work on a case of serial executions of criminals who escaped justice.

Box Office:
$60 million.
Opening Weekend
$16,288,361 on 3152 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

101 min.
Price: $7.99
Release Date: 1/6/2009

• Audio Commentary with Director Jon Avnet
• “The Investigation” Featurette
• “The Thin Blue Line” Featurette
• Trailer & Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Righteous Kill [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 22, 2021)

Famously, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino starred in 1974’s Godfather Part II. However, neither actually appeared onscreen together during that film.

21 years later, 1995’s Heat paired De Niro and Pacino again, and this time they actually worked against each other this time. However, they show up together for only about 10 of the movie’s 170 minutes.

2008’s Righteous Kill partnered the pair again, though it landed with a thud. With a worldwide gross of about $80 million, it didn’t totally flop, but given its $60 million budget, it didn’t make money, and both critics and audiences panned it.

Still, the presence of De Niro and Pacino together remains intriguing, so Kill made its way into my Blu-ray player. In New York City, a serial killer stalks other criminal sociopaths.

NYPD Detectives Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) get the case, but they struggle with it. This leads them to get paired with a younger team made up of Perez (John Leguizamo) and Riley (Donnie Wahlberg), and inevitable tensions result as all involved attempt to work together and find the maniac.

If nothing else, Kill finally allows fans to see Pacino and De Niro interact onscreen for an ample amount of time. Too bad they didn’t do so 30 years earlier when they worked closer to their peak.

Once we get past the semi-high of Pacino and De Niro together, we observe that they don’t mesh at all. Over the years, these two went into different directions in terms of their acting styles.

While Pacino got hammier and hammier, De Niro became more and more introverted. As seen here, these opposing approaches fail to connect.

Pacino goes broad and over the top. De Niro seems barely awake most of the time, as he feels too bland and understated.

Kill does boast a strong supporting cast. In addition to Leguizamo and Wahlberg, we find talents like Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo and Brian Dennehy.

They get little room to excel, unfortunately, as the messy screenplay and overhyped direction conspire to shoot the story in the foot. Despite my synopsis, the narrative roams all over the place and never becomes especially coherent.

Based on my overview, Kill could offer a pretty good detective story. The premise of the murderer who stalks deviants feels borrowed from Se7en but it still comes with enough juice to open up to a promising thriller.

Unfortunately, Kill flits around so much that it never gels. Instead, it meanders from one pointless plot beat to another and only sporadically touches on the main story – the only one that matters to us.

Director Jon Avnet does the sloppy script no favors. Rather than give the material a focused approach, he opts for a hyperkinetic take that makes the already messy material even less coherent.

All of this adds up to a disappointment. Righteous Kill comes with a promising story and a fine cast but it turns into a confused, sub-mediocre tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Righteous Kill appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The picture looked fine most of the time.

Sharpness was generally good but not exceptional. A few shots showed some softness, but those were fairly minor instances, and they largely reflected the movie’s stylistic choices.

I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.

Like most modern action flicks, this one opted for stylized hues, with an emphasis on the standard amber and teal. Within those constraints, the colors seemed fine, as they showed appropriate range.

Blacks were dark and full, and shadows showed good range. Outside of some softness, this became a satisfying presentation.

In addition, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Kill worked well. Various action elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. This was especially true during pieces with weapon fire and fights, and a few other sequences used the various channels in a satisfying way.

The action scenes didn’t emerge on a relentless basis, but when they appeared, they utilized the soundscape in an engrossing manner. In addition, we got some localized speech and music made active use of the different channels.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. All of this added up to a “B+”.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Jon Avnet. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing, and related areas.

Avnet occasionally offers useful notes, but he often does little more than narrate the movie and/or praise the actors. Don’t expect a lot of insights in this fairly dull chat.

Two featurettes follow, and The Investigation runs 14 minutes, 23 seconds. It brings notes from Avnet, producers Rob Cowan, Daniel M. Rosenberg and Randall Emmett, screenwriter Russell Gewirtz, technical advisor Neil Carter, and actors Robert De Niro, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, Rob Dyrdek, Curtis Jackson and Trilby Glover.

“Investigation” covers the project’s path to the screen, casting, characters and performances, research and Avnet’s approach to the film. A smattering of decent notes emerge but a lot of “Investigation” leans toward happy talk.

The Thin Blue Line spans 19 minutes, five seconds and involves police expert Richard Rivera, assistant state attorney David Waksman, and authors Samuel Clark and Philip Bonifacio.

“Line” looks at the reality of the police experience. It promotes the movie but it still comes with some interesting moments.

The disc opens with an ad for Traitor. Also on Blu-ray adds promos for Henry Poole Is Here, The Visitor and Sleepwalking. We find the trailer for Kill as well.

With two legends as its leads, Righteous Kill seems primed to excel. Unfortunately, it offers warmed-over cop flick clichés and lacks much to make it stick. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. Pacino and De Niro deserved better than this mess.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 4
0 3:
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