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Righteous Kill 

Righteous Kill offers the kind of mild entertainment you’d expect from a straight-to-video crime thriller. You know, it’s the sort of film that makes for a pleasant enough evening in front of the TV with a six-pack, but you wouldn’t really want to plunk down 10 bucks to see it. Normally, you wouldn’t expect a movie like this to star Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Nonetheless, here they are. DeNiro and Pacino have been in films together before (Heat, The Godfather 2), but this is their first true co-starring vehicle. The supporting cast — Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo and 50 Cent — is good, too. Director/producer John Avnet delivers a polished and professional looking film, but it’s hard not to feel like you’ve seen this all before. Written by Russell Gerwitz (Inside Man), Righteous Kill thinks it’s smarter and cleverer than it really is. As DeNiro and Pacino try to solve a series of vigilante murders, the script works so hard to misdirect the audience that it actually had the opposite effect on me. I still enjoyed the performances, and Gerwitz does give the actors a few good lines, but that doesn’t entirely make up for the by-the-numbers plot. HH 1/2

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