If the commercials for R.I.P.D. made you think the movie would just be one big Men in Black rip-off, well… You’d be right. Director Robert Schwentke presumably passed on directing Red 2 to make this movie. Not sure if that was the best choice. However, from what I hear, Red 2 ain’t that hot either.
Ryan Reynolds plays Nick Walker, a hot-shot Boston Police officer who’s killed in the line of duty and forced to join the R.I.P.D., the Rest In Peace Department. The department’s main priority is to detain lost souls, called Dead-O’s, who refuse to leave earth. Dead-O’s will rot the planet if allowed to remain, eventually destroying it. You can’t have that, so R.I.P.D. officers must track them down, arrest them, and send them on their way. To hell, most likely. Because, you know… they’re bad.
We’re told they’re bad, but really what is their crime? Wanting to remain on earth for a little while longer? Who can blame them? Especially if their alternative is hell?
Nick Walker, being new to the job and having no idea what a Dead-O is, is partnered with Roy, played by Jeff Bridges. Roy’s a lawman from the 1800’s. He’s been doing this a long time and is the (self-proclaimed) best in the business. Roy, however, doesn’t have any qualms “erasing” Dead-O’s. He has these fancy magic bullets that eviscerate dead people. No heaven. No hell. You’re gone. I don’t know where he gets these bullets, but even the bad guys have them, so maybe you can buy them or something.
If this all seems like it’s a mess, it’s because it is. It’s pretty obvious that the filmmakers realized their characters are dead and there’s no real danger for them so they had to create these magic bullets. If one of our heroes gets hit, that’s it for him! He’s dead! Um… again!
Men in Black worked because it was incredibly clever. All these eccentric celebrities are actually aliens? That was fun. In this film, there’s not much to set apart a Dead-O from a human. Only that things start to break or decay around a Dead-O. And because Dead-O’s stay on earth for longer than they should, their bodies begin to deform. They can hide this though… somehow. The deformed Dead-O’s are mostly all CGI and the CGI in this film is terrible. R.I.P.D. is one giant cartoon and the visual effects artists took that to heart when working on this film.
Jeff Bridges seems to have a lot of fun playing Roy, who doesn’t want a partner (of course) and thinks Nick is too wet behind the ears to be useful. Nick doesn’t like Roy very much either at first, but by the end they seem to be best pals. That’s not spoiling anything. It’s a buddy-cop cliche and it’s not even fleshed out well in the film. They just suddenly like each other.
I haven’t told you much about the plot and that’s because there’s not much of one. Reynold’s Walker notices that Dead-O’s have been stealing certain gold fragments and begins to investigate. He soon finds out the fragments are part of an ancient device that can reverse the doorway to the afterlife, essentially pouring out dead souls on to the earth. The planet would be doomed.
I actually thought I enjoyed this movie more than I did until I sat down to write this review. I’m ripping it apart pretty badly. If you can turn your brain off and just go with it, it can be an ok ride. The kids sitting behind me in the theater seemed to enjoy it. Overall, though, I’d say just go watch Men in Black instead.
Oh yeah, I forgot. Kevin Bacon is in this movie also.
I give it a D.