R.E.D. director Robert Schwentke returns to the world of comic-book adaptations with one of Dark Horse comics lesser known properties, R.I.P.D. But will this one be more Sin City or Tank Girl?”
The basic premise is rather simple, a Boston police officer is brutally slain in the line of duty, but a misdemeanour in life means that instead of going straight to heaven he must prove himself worthy first. How? By joining the afterlife’s very own law enforcement agency the Rest In Peace Department. Here he is teamed up with a gruff former cowboy with a penchant to shoot first and ask questions later, and is sent back down to Earth to capture demons who have escaped God’s justice. The only catch…he does not look like himself anymore…
R.I.P.D. marks Ryan Reynolds fourth attempt at bringing a comic-book hero to live after misfires with Hannibal King in Blade Trinity, Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and the Green Lantern in Green Lantern. And sadly this too is a misfire. It’s not that he’s cast incorrectly, but rather, like the three other adaptations his character suffers from a convoluted or non-existent script. You really have to feel for the guy. Reynolds natural comic ability is perfectly suited to the movie that this is trying to be, and for all his gurning he is perfectly adequate in his role. Jeff Bridges on the other hand is hamming it up in a awful pastiche of The Dude mixed with Rooster Cogburn. Perhaps if the action beats connected, or the other characters were developed, or there was some semblance of a plot then it would work, but unfortunately it is just distracting. Kevin Bacon is phoning in his performance, while Stephanie Szostak is completely underused, and Mary Louise Parker looks extremely bored. The treatment of James Hong and Marissa Miller provides some comedy, but seems a bit racist and misogynistic. I would like to believe that there is more to the two of them than simply being a Chinese man and a stunning woman.
This film suffers terribly by the obvious comparison to Men In Black. The mismatched law enforcement agents versus otherworldly creatures was defined by MIB and R.I.P.D. does not bring anything fresh or different to the table. That coupled with a plot that has an incoherent through-line, CGI effects that look like an 1980’s video release, and the hammy acting do not add up to a good film. The action sequences seem designed to through everything at the wall and see what sticks, the fast-cut editing helps alleviate some of the boredom but makes the fights lack heft. In fact you will be had pressed to remember any of this once the credits start rolling.
A disappointingly dull action comedy. Feels like a straight-to-video rip-off of Men of Black made with absolutely no effort or budget.