What a hoary load of bullshit this movie is. Are movies like this made to keep old actors busy? Is this the movie equivalent of an allotment or Neighbourhood Watch scheme? It’s easier to picture it that way; some feelings of sympathy might even arise in me if I could see this as two old men pottering about, amusing themselves. Maybe if they’d both stop dyeing their hair I might even be tempted not to stick the boot in. But Righteous Kill is a noxious, ego-fuelled, cliché-ridden, misogynist fire-hazard of a movie, and Bob De Niro and his little buddy Al should be ashamed of themselves. From Taxi Driver and Serpico to this in three decades takes some (un)doing.
Is there a movie more parodied than Apocalypse Now? Something about that movie seems to speak to wags in the movie business. Maybe it’s because even the making of Apocalypse Now lends itself to parody; all the self-important madness of Hollywood condensed into one film: the egotistical director, the deluded star, spiralling costs and a set caught mid-Tet offensive. Ben Stiller’s new movie, Tropic Thunder, is a satire of war movies, and it features (lo and behold) a lot of images that may remind you of Brando and co. lost in the jungle. No-one lashes out at their reflection this time around, but most actors will recognise “the craft” in this mirror.
Did male bonding exist before the buddy movie, or is it a byproduct? Sure, men were friends before Lethal Weapon and the Rush Hour series, but did men realise what being buddies entailed? Did men make dick and fart in the 1950s in the knowledge that they were sublimating their true feelings for one another? Was a gun ever really just a gun for John Wayne? …Ok, so maybe a gun was a gun for The Duke, but in the new “pot comedy” from the Judd Apatow stable, all the AK47s in the world can’t obscure the gay subtext. Pineapple Express is crude, violent and shallow as hell, but its male leads seem like they’d make a nice couple.
“Swagger” isn’t a word readily associated with British movies. We’ve come a long way from The Italian Job… through the 80s; the decade of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; that sober, serious, socially-conscious hell that movie-goers watched from behind their Guardian newspapers. But in 1998 “swagger” re-entered the lexicon, and despite a few minor wobbles, “swagger” has remained – in the form of Guy Ritchie’s movie resume – ever since. His latest, RocknRolla, is pure swagger; a giddy, Technicolor two-fingers to his detractors, suffused with such love of self and London that it’s like a French-kiss from Kate Moss.