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Movie Review

Turk and Rooster are best buds. They've been NYPD detectives and partners for, well, centuries it seems. These two hit work together, hit the shooting range together, hit the bars together, hit criminals in the street together. They just can't help grinning in each other's company.

Sure, this dynamic duo may not always handle a criminal by the letter of the law—they frame a child murderer after a judge springs him on a stupid technicality, for example—but, hey, they get the job done, right?

Turk's got a few pursuits he wrangles around with on the side, too. He's having an affair with a forensics officer named Karen, for instance. Karen's probably half his age and into kinky, rough sex. It's a relationship that's against department rules, but when it's kinky, rough sex against a rule or two, Turk knows exactly what his priorities are.

Back to the job for a minute: Turk and Rooster mess up a bust with a local drug-pushing club owner and an innocent gets shot. So their lieutenant has to send them to talk to a shrink, thinking they both may have passed the expiration date.

Complicating matters even further is the fact that a poem-writing serial killer keeps popping up to punish (kill) pimps and rapists and such. Turk and Rooster are inclined to give the guy a medal, but the lieutenant wants him caught. So he teams his aging cops with two young detectives—and things start sliding sideways as the case clues start pointing toward Turk.

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Positive Elements

Turk and Rooster are devoted to each other and would gladly put their lives on the line to prove it. When one of the two appears to have "gone bad," the other risks being shot to convince his partner to do the lawful thing.

Spiritual Content

Rooster and Turk sit together in a Catholic church while Rooster prays briefly. We see a cross on the wall and ornate stained-glass windows depicting religious figures. In a later scene in the church, a priest is shot in the head and he crashes through the wall of a confessional booth. Rooster speaks of losing his faith when his partner let him down.

Sexual Content

Several scenes—some of which almost come across as rape scenes—show Turk and Karen before, during and after rough sex. Audiences are asked to watch explicit sexual movement and listen to vivid sexual sounds. It doesn't mitigate the visceral nature of their onscreen encounters, but it's fair to mention that neither Turk nor Karen are ever shown completely naked. Turk has his shirt off and Karen is seen in various states of undress—including a bare back shot. She wears a bra during one encounter.

Turk makes crude comments about Karen's sexual tastes to his friend. Karen mentions her tendency to sleep around with other cops on the force along with "firemen and an occasional ex-con." She becomes aroused when Rooster tells her about a violent encounter Turk had with a club owner. One of the other cops is briefly shown shirtless in bed with an apparently naked woman facedown next to him. (She's covered from the waist down.)

Women dancing in a club wear low-cut and provocatively form-fitting outfits. The cops send a young woman into the club wearing a "wire." When the owner of the club realizes her deception, he rips open her dress revealing the wire—and her underwear. The priest who is shot in the church has his pants pulled down revealing his buttocks. It's said that the killer thought the priest was a pedophile.

Violent Content

Bloody head and body wounds fill the screen from beginning to end. Just shy of a dozen bad guys are shot execution-style with a silenced pistol. Several of these are gory headshots spurting blood and tissue onto walls. One particularly graphic scene shows a man being shot in the back of the head at point-blank range and smashing forward through plate glass to crunch to the ground a story below.

Others are repeatedly shot in the upper torso and driven backward. Blood pools on prone victims' clothing. A policeman is shot at through a window. The resulting shower of glass shards cut his face. A man's wrist is broken backward with great force.

A cop opens a body bag to reveal a dead 10-year-old girl with blood all over her face. We're told she was raped and then beaten. Karen is roughly grabbed by an unseen assailant and dragged to the floor. Implying rape, we hear violently sexual noises. Then we see her bloodied.

Crude or Profane Language

Profanity overwhelms even murder in this rancid script with well over 100 f-words and about 40 s-words. A variety of vulgar references invoke male and female body parts. An obscene gesture is made. The n-word is said, "b--ch" is hurled around and "twinkie" is used to define gay men. God's and Jesus' names are together profaned a half-dozen times. Twice, God's is combined with "d--n."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Rooster drinks wine. He, Turk and other detectives down beer. Karen grabs a beer out of her fridge. The club owner/drug dealer, Spider, pours himself a large glass of alcohol and drinks it.

Karen and another detective smoke cigarettes once. A young woman snorts coke in a bathroom.

Other Negative Elements

Rooster and Turk plant a gun on a felon and have him convicted for a crime he didn't commit. Rooster tells his shrink, "Like Dirty Harry said, 'It's OK as long as the right people get shot.'"

Conclusion

It's history in the making ... for the second time ... but not really.

Fans will tell you that seeing acting legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the same flick is a pretty big deal. Many moons ago, these Hollywood kingpins briefly performed together on the big screen in Michael Mann's Heat. But to have them both go nose-to-nose, chewing up the scenery through a whole movie? That would amount to, as a Pacino character once said, Hooah!

But we're talking about a couple of guys who've made careers out of hard-R odes to violence and murder. Pacino will forever be linked to the bloodbath of 1983—otherwise known as Scarface. And De Niro will never outlive The Deer Hunter.

So diehards may not care that Righteous Kill is a completely predictable dirty-cop (and dirty cop) flick that's chock-full of all the stuff that screams "R-rated formula thriller!" But I do. This movie holds as many bloody gunshots to the forehead—and flashbacks to bloody gunshots to the forehead—as can be unreasonably squeezed into 100 minutes. Its tagline, "Most people respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun," says much about the world in which these two men's characters have traveled for decades.

Righteous Kill's dialogue is rot-gut filthy. In the abstract, at least, vigilante murder gets a few props. And if you factor in a female lead who's only there to add sexual kink to an otherwise all-boys warpath romp, you realize that they've taken things to a whole 'nother level of unrighteous wrong.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

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