Detectives "Turk" and "Rooster" are two of the best detectives on the force. "Turk" coaches softball, "Rooster" is a chess genius. Both are good cops.
But after "Turk" plants evidence that lands a child killer in jail, suspects they've had run-ins with start winding up dead with mysterious poems nearby, and soon the chase is on for a vigilante serial killer with a thirst for righteousness.
Pre-release it was hoped that the film would revive its stars' faltering credibility, as the last time they teamed up the world was gifted with the modern classic Heat. Alas, it did terribly both critically and commercially.
This film provides examples of:
- All Crimes Are Equal: To the killer.
- Broken Pedestal: Rooster has lost his faith in legal justice thanks to Turk planting a gun at the child killer's house, resulting in him becoming a vigilante serial killer.
- Calling Card: The little poems left by the killer.
- Double Entendre:Karen: Put the gun down!
David: And if I don't?
Karen: I'll blow your brains out!
David: Oh, I like the sound of that!
- Dueling-Stars Movie: Pacino/DeNiro are the White Whale of this trope. They were in The Godfather Part II... but not face-to-face. They were in Heat... and shared a single Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene. This film gives them something of the Ham-to-Ham Combat everyone was waiting for.
- How We Got Here: The film opens with the killer's confession being read. It then shows everything leading up to that moment.
- It Never Gets Any Easier: Mentioned, with a "You get numb to it."
- Let Me at Him!: The first attempt to arrest "Spider".
- Mind Screw: The story does this to the audience to keep the killer's identity secret.
- Miscarriage of Justice: The killer's reason for his actions.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer gives the movie a much different feel for the story than what actually transpires.
- Off on a Technicality: What leads to the killer's Start of Darkness.
- Poetic Serial Killer: Leaving a hand-written poem at the scene is actually part of the killer's modus operandi.
- Rabid Cop: Both the main characters.
- Shoot Out the Lock: Attempted by one of the characters, but subverted."These old locks... I mean they're good."
- Smart People Play Chess: "Rooster", The Chessmaster.
- Stay with Me Until I Die: The killer requests it.
- Sympathetic Murderer: For the most part, at least.