I had read nothing but negative things about R.I.P.D. before and even after seeing the movie. It seemed like Men In Black 2.0 which admittedly was not the reason it looked bad to me, but it certainly didn’t look astonishing from the looks of the trailer. One thing I was not prepared for was the constant lark and the almost first-person-view stunt work done with the 3D effects.
The concept: When dirty cops die, they earn redemption by serving at the R.I.P.D. An afterlife enforcement agency tasked with getting the worlds “Dead-O’s” off the streets and put them within the confines of infernal hell. The Dead-O’s are souls who somehow managed to tether themselves to Earth even after death. The more interesting idea is that these souls actually have an expiration date and soon after it exits the body, it begins molding and deforming into something not so heavenly. Enter Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds); the loving husband/cop with one unsavory decision on his conscience. Unfortunately for him, he dies before he can make amends. After quite the glorious introduction into the light of what is assumed to be Heaven, Nick is cut off from his destination by Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) to inform him of his options. He can test his luck at his imminent judgement with his current transgressions, or he can atone for his earthly sins by serving with the Rest In Peace Department for a minimum of 100 years.
After an awkward, yet oddly enticing exchange, Proctor introduces Nick to his new partner, Roycephus Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges); an eighteenth century western lawman who’s clearly the right veteran to pair up with the new cocky rookie. There is certainly a rocky start for this couple, but if you watch closely, you can really see the love develop between these two characters in a downright hysterical way. Much to the tune of Owen and Vince in Wedding Crashers, there’s a sort of stubborn bromance going on that made me crack up over and over again.
On the subject of Wedding Crashers, Director David Dobkin lends a writing credit to this film along with Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi who are known for teaming up to write heavy-effect driven movies like Aeon Flux and Clash Of The Titans. I think this movies appeal for me came more from Dobkin’s comedic influence rather than all the action, but that isn’t to say it wasn’t one hell of a roller coaster of effects. The 3D was actually pretty worth it because most of the heart-pumping scenes were so interactive with the way they were shot that it felt almost like a video game.
I tried real hard not to laugh hysterically but every time Jeff Bridges would spout some line with his southern, marble-filled accent, I’d laugh out loud to the point where I was getting looks in the theatre. Ryan Reynolds didn’t exactly shine in his roll as the bitter-dead recruit, but the combination of the character of Roycephus and silly concepts like Avatars for the Agents when they are investigating on Earth really made for a uproarious experience. The recurring joke that Roy is perceived by the living as a hot model (Marisa Miller) while Nick is perceived as an old Asian man (James Hong) never got old and I only wish they would have had MORE scenes where we see Miller and Hong play out the action scenes.
The rules of the game were not expressed clearly, though. I did not understand Nick’s ambition to serve with R.I.P.D. if he was not working to get back to his wife. Which is a relationship that is shown to be clearly loving in the beginning of the film. I think that ultimately, I enjoyed the bromance between Nick and Roy a lot more than the love story. The plot was somewhat predictable, but the ride was well worth it. I give R.I.P.D. 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Check out the trailer:
If you’ve seen the movie let us know what you thought of it.