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· Blu-ray Reviewer
15,837 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Overture/Anchor Bay - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 Minutes
Genre: Crime drama/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Robert De Niro Al Pacino, Curtis Jackson, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, John LeGuizamo, Brian Dennehy
Directed by: Jon Avnet
Music by: Edward Shearmur
Written by: Russell Gewirtz
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 6, 2009

"Most people respect the badge. Everyone respects the gun"

Film Synopsis:

After 30 years as partners in the pressure cooker environment of the NYPD, highly decorated Detectives "Turk", played by Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro (Raging Bull) and "Rooster", played by Academy Award® winner Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman) should be ready for retirement. But, before they can hang up their badges, they are called in to investigate the murder of a notorious pimp, which appears to have ties to a case they solved years before.

This adrenaline fueled psychological thriller features hip-hop superstar Curtis Jackson (Get Rich or Die Tryin'), Carla Gugino (Sin City), John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge!), Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II and III) and Brian Dennehy (Death of a Salesman ) and was directed by Jon Avnet (Red Corner) and written by Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man).

My Take:

Righteous kill is a serial killer/cop drama that stars two of the most revered actors of our generation. Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino last worked together in 1995's HEAT and in that film they only had one scene together. Fans will be pleased to hear that in this film they spend the majority of their time onscreen together. While their chemistry and acting chops are never in question the strength of the script in this film is. The story revolves around two 30 year veterans of the NYPD who are partners and dedicated to one another. The story is told in a narrated flashback of sorts by Turk (DeNiro) and begins with the story of the murder and rape of a ten year old girl 4 years earlier. The perpetrator was arrested but was later acquitted by a jury. Turk and Rooster (Pacino) took matters into their own hands and planted evidence that send him to prison. What follows is a series of killings where all of the victims are criminals or criminal elements who have gotten around the system one way or another. The killer leaves a calling card in the form of a poem that is particular to each and the murder weapon (handgun). Turk and Rooster are assigned to investigate the case along with two other detectives, Riley and Perez (Wahlberg and Leguizamo). As the case unfolds it becomes more and more apparent that the killer is more than likely a cop. As suspicion grows and circumstantial evidence points to Turk, tension mounts that could derail the careers of both men.

I thought that this was an average crime drama that didn't hold any real secrets. It tried to build suspense but for me it never amounted to much. The outcome was rather obvious to me and the payoff didn't offer any satisfactory reasoning and felt contrived. What made the film entertaining was seeing the interaction between DeNiro and Pacino. They are such fine actors and while I tend to favor DeNiro over Pacino I respect him immensely as an actor. The supporting cast was well placed and featured fine character actors in Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg and the very attractive Carla Gugino. In the end I think that this film is worth checking out based solely upon the presence of these two iconic actors. We may never again have the opportunity to see them together onscreen. The story itself is average and felt a little longer than it needed to be but it kept my interest.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 84

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 90

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Righteous Kill comes to Blu-ray Disc from Overture/Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3 mbps.

This was great looking high definition presentation that featured crisp high definition detail and three dimensional imagery. Close up camera shots of the cast looked exquisite as the fine minutia and subtle lines of their faces were clearly discernible. The weave and texture of clothing and the intricate structure of objects onscreen were rendered cleanly and looked like you could reach out and touch them. There were a handful of instances where sharpness wavered but they were brief and could have been innate to the photography. This seemed more prevalent during wide angle shots but I noticed it in a close up of Al Pacino later in the film during chapter 18 as well. Colors were natural in appearance without over saturated or blooming primaries. Complexions were beautifully rendered with excellent tonal description and delineation. Blacks were deep and dynamic with gradational shadow detail and multi-dimensional depth of field. I thought this film looked excellent in high definition.

The lossless sound offered energetic dynamics, succulent dialogue reproduction, and palpable low frequency detail. The opening segment is shot in an indoor shooting range and has DeNiro and Pacino firing at targets using 9mm pistols. This sequence utilized the entire system platform and featured pulsating, rhythmic bass that energized the room. The acoustic sounds of the primer blasts from their weapons reverberated throughout the listening area with dynamic impact and resonating clarity. Directional cues such as the motorized target hangers being reeled in passed from the rear to the front of the room with precise imaging that seamlessly matched what was occurring onscreen. While this segment sounded quite good I noticed later in the film that sounds mixed to the rear channels were on the hot side. This made panning effects feel less cohesive and drew attention away from the events onscreen as the effects were louder than they needed to be. This wasn't a big issue as the mix wasn't an active one from a discrete surround sound standpoint however I wanted to mention it. Ambient surround detail was better integrated and created a noticeably enveloping atmosphere that blended the front and rear soundstages quite well. Dialogue was rich in tonal depth, fair in room penetration, and transparent in detail which allowed even subtle shifts in pitch to be appreciable.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) The Investigation: An in depth look at Righteous Kill - 14 minute making feature

  • (HD) The thin blue line: An exploration of cops & criminals - 19 minute documentary on the challenges facing police officers.

  • (HD) Theatrical Trailer

  • (HD BD Previews - Henry Poole is here, Sleepwalking, The Visitor, Traitor

  • BD-Live Access

  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc - Includes a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device

Final Thoughts:

Righteous Kill is an average crime thriller that is made better by the presence of two screen legends in Robert DiNero and Al Pacino. Its script isn't paced very well and the story is both predictable and unfulfilling. It did hold my interest however I think that had more to do with the enjoyment of watching the interaction between its co-stars than getting engrossed in the plot. On a high note its presentation on Blu-ray Disc is solid as it looks and sounds great. The bonus content like the film is just average but there are cast interviews and a mildly interesting police documentary. I think that for DeNiro/Pacino fans this film is probably worthy of adding to your collection. For everyone else I would recommend a rental.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player

Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

· Registered
1,254 Posts
Never caught this one in the theater but heard it was a big letdown. I'll rent it first to see, though. There are others like We Own the Night that I loved that also were not that well-received.

· Registered
1,729 Posts
In my opinion the acting by Deniro and Pacino in this movie was embarrassing. Look like they were in the movie just for the paycheck and not interested at all. The supporting cast did a better job. Add in the predictable ending and you got one if not the most disappointing movie of 2008.

· Registered
9,410 Posts
I think the next time they team up will be in "Grumpy Old Men: The Next Generation." Their choice of roles has been suspect for the past couple of years, that's for sure.

· Registered
5,739 Posts
Felt more like a B level straight to DVD movie. The twist was predictable and both actors have played cops so many times they did seem like they were just going through the motions. I liked it overall just because of them, but this movie about 10 years ago could have been epic. Now it's like watching Jordan with the wizards or any legendary athlete past his prime....just not the same.

· Premium Member
25,078 Posts
Thanks Ralph, I was just about to order this film.I think I will rent first.

· Registered
88 Posts

Thank you for your honest description and appraisal of this film. I happen to be a fan of both and was curious how they worked together.

But, when a movie does not do that well in the box office, or there is not much buzz, or family and friends telling me to go check it, it makes me suspect.

So, for a $1.00 at Stop`n Shop in White Plains,NY, rental time!!

· Registered
1 Posts
Thanks for the review. I have not seen the movie yet. I look forward to reading more about other movies you've watch before I rent of buy.

· Blu-ray Reviewer
15,837 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Originally Posted by bsdweb1110 /forum/post/15537714

Thanks for the review. I have not seen the movie yet. I look forward to reading more about other movies you've watch before I rent of buy.


Your more than welcome Rene. Welcome to AVS!


· Registered
447 Posts
I saw it this weekend and was not impressed. It was watchable... that is the best that I can say about it. Denero's character was barely believable -mostly because of the script, but I think that it was also one of his worst performances - very little energy. Pacino's performance was a little better and it seemed as though he at least tried to put out an effort in this very predictable cop flick.
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