| The rare opportunity to watch Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on screen together for nearly the entire movie is worth the price of admission.
Screenwriter Russell Gerwitz (“Inside Man”) had these two Academy Award-winning powerhouses in mind when he wrote the screenplay. They previously appeared in only one extended scene in “Heat” back in 1995 and left audiences wanting more. These two smooth operators dance circles around today’s crop of upcoming Hollywood stars.
The story is secondary in this tortoise-paced, psychological police procedural. De Niro and Pacino play a pair of veteran New York City police detectives on the trail of a vigilante serial killer. They view their badge as a nice thing to have as long as it comes with a gun. They have been partners for 30 years in a pressure cooker environment of frustration, hostility and testosterone.
The movie is purposely elusive about their real names and never explains how they got the nicknames of Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino).
They are both Catholic and expert marksmen. Pacino’s character enjoys chess as a hobby. De Niro plays a hot-headed brawler who takes softball seriously. He is having an affair with Karen (the beautiful and sexy Carla Gugino), a forensic specialist in the precinct who likes rough sex.
The killer’s purpose is to rid the streets of criminals who have fallen through the cracks of the justice system. His calling card is a few lines of badly written verse left next to the victims.
The movie appears to play its hand too early with a black-and-white videotaped confession running simultaneously throughout the investigation, but there are a few hidden tricks up the sleeve.
The writing has a few clever baseball references with the mention of the infield fly rule and the revered name of Ted Williams.
Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”) makes the most of a cameo appearance as the mother of a rape victim. Other familiar faces in the cast are Brian Dennehy, hip-hop superstar Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent), John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg.
Besides having the rug pulled out from under you with false leads, misdirection and red herrings, audiences will come away with the satisfaction of seeing two consummate pros bantering, bickering and bonding while strutting their stuff.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"