For the time being, it’s probably best to hold up on whatever excitement you may be feeling over the re-teaming of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Righteous Kill, which Overture Films will bring out sometime next year.

The first concern is the fact the director is Jon Avnet, whose previous films include Red Corner, Up Close & Personal and The War. None of these films were hugely flawed, exactly, but I don’t recall anyone doing cartwheels or back-flips over their quality when they first came out. (The late production designer Richard Sylbert worked with Avnet on Red Corner, and he told me lots of stories.)

The Avnet factor is mitigated, I’ll admit, by the fact that Inside Man‘s Russell Gewirtz has written the Righteous Kill script.

The second concern is that Pacino and De Niro are both going through that gradual downward swirl phase that many big-name actors start to experience when they hit their 60s. Because they’re less in demand at this age they tend to appear in films that they wouldn’t have considered in their prime. Pacino, especially, has been on a fallow streak lately, his last three films being the underwhelming Ocean’s Thirteen, the barely noticed 88 Minutes (also directed by Avnet), and the moderately awful Two for the Money. The last decent performance he gave was his “Roy Cohn” in Angels Over America four years ago.