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article imageReview: ‘R.I.P.D.’ should have stayed buried Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 20, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘R.I.P.D.’, a recently murdered cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who killed him.
Hollywood seems to have a lot of difficulty adapting comic books for the big screen that exist outside the mainstream superhero franchise. These theatrical failures generally fall flat, unable to capture the essence of what made the source material a success. Watching R.I.P.D., the unfamiliar viewer is given the distinct impression that this movie is probably an entertaining graphic novel – but it's a terrible film.
Nick Cruz (Ryan Reynolds) was a Boston police officer with a good track record and a heavy conscience. But death does not equal retirement for the gunned down cop. The Rest in Peace Department recruits him to their undead police force to hunt down escaped souls. His partner, veteran sheriff Roycephus “Roy” Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges), is far from conventional, but he gets the job done. When the duo stumble upon a plot to bring on the apocalypse, they break all the rules to prevent the end of the living world.
This movie is a combination of Men in Black and Down to Earth, but without the entertainment value of either. The R.I.P.D. is a secret organization that operates amongst the living to keep them safe from monstrous beings that no longer belong in this world. (Though the explanation for why they're monstrous doesn't hold water.) Unable to do so in their previous skins, they are assigned alternate identities. Everyone else sees these guises, though members can see each other’s true appearances. Roy is a tall, attractive blonde woman with large breasts; Nick is an older Chinese man.
Untitled
Universal Pictures
The film seems to aim for restrained ridiculousness, which doesn't do anyone any favours. While Bridges and Reynolds give the impression they’re trying to have fun, the picture is constantly trying to pull it back to a Spider-Man-like drama. Bridges is an over-the-top cowboy who shoots first and asks questions later. Reynolds is the standard good cop, which he instills with his signature sarcasm. But the two don't have terrific chemistry and never really mesh together.
Moreover they are apparently indestructible, emerging from any and all conflicts without a scratch. These altercations include a rolling car, a bus and being sandwiched between cinder blocks. But if you're going to make it cartoon-like by dropping everything short of an anvil on them, then follow it through with goofy injuries like squished body parts and tire tracks. It's hard to say if this would have been an improvement, but at least it would have shown commitment.
While the audience usually sees the cops' living appearances, occasionally – in what would be considered an amusing situation – their alter exteriors are displayed. But there are many missed opportunities to employ this sight gag, such as a showdown in the streets that evolves into an extended Wild West-style gunfight.
If the storyline interests you, do yourself a favour and pick up the comic instead of sitting through this poor imitation.
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Bacon
More about ripd, Ryan reynolds, Jeff bridges, Kevin bacon, Robert Schwentke
 
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