That people continue to talk 12 years later about De Niro and Pacino's two scenes together in the middle and at the end of 'Heat' - you can even get a poster of the former - shows once again just what a special place the duo hold in audiences' affections - even with all the duds they've appeared in.

So the excitement about the two of them bouncing lines off each other for an entire film was to be expected; that 'Righteous Kill's biggest achievement is how high it places on that dud pile wasn't.

The duo play Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino), lifelong partners in the NYPD and hunting for a serial killer whose victims are all serious criminals. The more the body count rises the more the evidence points towards the volatile Turk - can he and Rooster prove his innocence or has a man consumed by his job finally cracked?

From its over-the-top opening montage of De Niro and Pacino's characters at a shooting range with sub-machine guns, you get the feeling that 'Righteous Kill' won't be a film blessed with subtlety. Your detective hunch is correct: this is a ridiculous thriller where the only entertainment to be had is counting how many times you shake your head or sigh in disbelief.

Director Avnet has history here as he also directed the atrocious Pacino-starring '88 Minutes', but that he learned nothing from it is shocking. The story is flung together, the pacing is atrocious, there are only flashes of chemistry between De Niro and Pacino and their characters are colour-by-numbers. Oh, there's a twist but you'll be more interested in the texture of your seat by then.

Every cliché and mistake in the book - time to bring forward your regular viewing of 'Heat'.

Harry Guerin