Review: R.I.P.D. / Cert: 12A / Director: Robert Schwentke / Screenplay: Matt Manfredi, Phil Hay / Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker / Release Date: September 20th
Summer 2013 has been the most divisive ever in terms of your modern blockbuster. Almost everything that came out got praise followed by an angry backlash by the time it was on general release. Some things flopped massively like The Lone Ranger and you could sort of understand it, but then Pacific Rim disappointed and the old adage that ‘nobody knows anything’ proved true yet again. R.I.P.D. is a film, based on a comic, with a huge budget that was a gigantic flop in the states in July. It’s a perfectly serviceable, live action cartoon of a film but because it’s uncynical and not over two hours, it perhaps was released at the wrong time.
The films that R.I.P.D. seems to get lumped in with are Men in Black and Hellboy and it does have elements of both, but beyond the initial set up it becomes its own thing, which is a witty riff on the buddy cop action movie. Nick (Reynolds) finds himself shot dead and betrayed and ends up working back on Earth for the R.I.P.D., tasked with controlling dead souls who refuse to stay dead in our world. He is teamed up with former western gunslinger Roy (Bridges) and they begin working a case that links to why Nick was killed and may bring about the end of the world.
Perhaps too simple to succeed in our over-convoluted, bloated times, R.I.P.D. works largely based on the comedic chemistry between Ryan Reynolds doing his sarcastic schtick and Jeff Bridges doing a riff on his Rooster Cogburn. Their dialogue is the most surprising thing about the film and remains funny throughout – running gags about how Roy has died and reappeared on Earth somehow never growing old.
R.I.P.D. also has some wonderful special effects. The dead souls our duo hunt appear like large bloated men with obvious undead features and when found out they end up running amok across buildings and through windows in some really impressively shot action scenes where you can actually tell what is happening, all too rare nowadays. Added to this, this is the most impressive use of 3D for a while and you can tell that they took time with this aspect behind the scenes, which makes it a pleasure for the eyes.
If there is a complaint, it’s that we don’t spend long enough in the afterlife, getting to know the rules and the big players which are only hinted at. Nonetheless, R.I.P.D. is a hugely entertaining and witty action comedy the kind of which Hollywood has seemingly forgotten how to make and shouldn’t have been so ignored this summer.
Expected Rating: 5 out of 10