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The 3D Blu-ray edition of the Ryan Reynolds/Jeff Bridges futuristic actioner proves why it was one of this summer's biggest bombs....
Universal / 96 Minutes / 2013 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: October 29, 2013
I have a box of VHS tapes in my closet that contains every episode of Two Guys and a Girl, which I recorded when it was on TV. I love Ryan Reynolds, I love Van Wilder, I found good things to say about Green Lantern, and if you haven’t seen Buried, it’s absolutely brilliant. So when I found out I was going to review R.I.P.D., I knew my loyalties were going to be tested. I even asked my editor, “What more is there to say than that it looks like Men in Black with dead guys, only really crappy?” But hey, I love a good challenge.
In R.I.P.D.,Ryan Reynolds is Nick Walker, a 15 year veteran of the Boston PD. During a drug bust he and his partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) steal gold they find. Walker regrets this and wants to return the evidence, but it costs him his life. While ascending into heaven, he is pulled into the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department) and given a job capturing “deados” (spirits that have returned to Earth and live among us). Walker is partnered up with a 19th century wild west U.S. Marshal, Roycephus “Roy” Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges). Would you believe me if I told you that they don’t get along and have differing opinions on how to enforce the law and get information? I know - it’s a radical concept, and it’s never been tried before. So maybe there needs to be a few more movies like this before its perfected…
The movie is based off of a graphic novel of the same name. I love comic books and graphic novels, and I am usually a sucker for these films. Occasionally, they don’t work for me. I have a feeling R.I.P.D. won’t work for anyone. There is not one part of this movie that is enjoyable. The climactic scene (spoiler alert!) involves a portal opening for spirits from the afterlife. It reminded me of being part Avengers, part Ghostbusters (both of which I loved). This film doesn’t come close to either. I didn’t read this graphic novel, so I don’t know how close to the source material the film stayed. However, Dark Horse Comics has done some really good work in the past and I can’t imagine they were very pleased with their entertainment branch making this film.
If I told you there was a movie starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, and Robert Knepper, I think I could easily sell you on it. Unfortunately, the cast can only work with what is given to them, and that’s not much here. The best part of the film was Parker. Her Mildred Proctor character, commander of the Boston division of the R.I.P.D., was my favorite in the movie. I would have liked to see her run the department more, but I know that would have taken away from the monster hunting brilliance that was the on-Earth portion of the movie (insert sarcasm here).
I really got tired of Bridges portrayal of Pulsipher. I get that he was supposed to be a wild west Marshal, but the over the top way he played the character got really old. When a movie is this bad, I can appreciate trying to take a character a different way, but by the end I was really hoping he would just be quiet. The other part that I had enough of was the Marissa Miller objectivity. Every so often the film makers would show her instead of Pulsipher (since he’s dead, the people of earth see her as Roy’s avatar; Walker’s is an old Chinese guy... hilarious, right?), play a little Marvin Gaye, and show guys drooling over her. Yes, she’s gorgeous. We get it. It was funny the first time. The 42nd? I could have used a little more of, well, pretty much anything else.
This is one of those movies where if you saw the previews, not only can you figure out everything about the movie, but you’ve seen the best parts. That should tell you all you really need to know.