“Righteous Kill” – Susan Granger reviews

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What propels is crime thriller is the anticipation of seeing two of our finest actors –Robert De Niro and Al Pacino–paired as co-stars for the first time. If you remember, they appeared in separate storylines in “The Godfather, Part II” and were on-screen together in only two scenes in “Heat.”

Here, they’re veteran NYPD detectives, partners for 30 years and growing increasingly cynical about the injustices of the so-called judicial system – which is why they plant evidence to frame a child killer for a crime he didn’t commit. That then becomes connected with a string of 14 vigilante murders targeting those who slipped through the judicial system, including a pedophile priest. And many of the “revenge” crimes revolve around Club 404 in Harlem, run by Spider (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), a drug kingpin /rapper who sells product to a corporate lawyer who turns “stoolie” with disastrous results.

When scowling Turk (De Niro) isn’t coaching young girls in PAL baseball, he’s having a torrid affair with a rough-sex-loving Detective Karen Corelli (Carla Gugino), while Rooster (Pacino) chews gum in his shadow, muttering, “You’re my partner; you’re my role model.” They’re trailed around by a younger pair of detectives (John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg). Hovering in the background is the chief (Brian Dennehy).

Written by Russell Gewirtz, directed by Jon Avnet and photographed by Dennis Lenoir, this cliche-filled churner adds up to little more than a slow-paced episode of “Law & Order” with the real culprit “twist” telegraphed so far in advance that there’s little suspense. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Righteous Kil” is a forgettable 5. Reportedly, the state of Connecticut contributed a 40% production subsidy (including the stars’ salaries) because much of it was shot in Bridgeport.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.