It's been a long time since these two movie greats have appeared together, not since 1995's Heat, and in this Jon Avnet thriller, they get a chance to really go at it.
Al Pacino plays Rooster (perhaps his name is a homage to his weird hairdo) and Robert DeNiro is Turk, two NYPD detectives and longtime partners.
They're working on solving a number of vigilante-style killings of bad guys. The killer leaves hand-written notes on each body and they seem to point to one of the cops in their squad.
Tempers flare as the men come under fire from their fellow detectives and the higher ups. Lighting seems to emphasize the wrinkles and lines that each man wears, and each one is worn as a battle scar of some sleazy case or murder in their past.
The best scenes have the two men being interviewed by a police shrink (by order of their boss, played by Brian Dennehy). Each one faces the camera and responds to hard and probing questions, one with sarcasm and disdain and the other with anger.
Pacino plays the loner with a smart-aleck answer to every-thing and DeNiro's Turk is high strung and ready to lash out. He appears to have good reason, aside from the pressure of the job, he deals with his sexy girlfriend (Carla Gugino) a forensic cop who mistreats him inside and out of the bedroom.
The story is a bit clichéd, a case that turns old partners on fellow cops and each other, but Pacino and DeNiro make it all worthwhile.