R.I.P.D.

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Boston Police Department Detectives Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) and Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) steal a chest full of gold found during a drug bust, and Nick buries his share of the gold in his backyard, intending to use to to create a better life for himself and his wife, Julia (Stephanie Szostak). However, he regrets his decision and informs Hayes he intends to return the gold. Later, during a raid on a warehouse, Nick and Hayes get into a shootout with criminals, and Hayes kills Nick to prevent him from returning the gold, framing one of the criminals for the murder.

Nick awakens in the office of Mildred Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker), director of the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.), an agency that recruits deceased police officers to patrol the afterlife and capture “Deados”, spirits that refuse to cross over and return to Earth as monstrous ghosts. Nick agrees to join the R.I.P.D. after Proctor promises to help him reunite with Julia and meets his new partner, Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), an ex-U.S. Marshal who lived in the 1800’s.

Nick and Roy return to Earth to attend Nick’s funeral, where Nick learns R.I.P.D. officers are assigned avatars, which is how humans perceive them. Nick’s is an elderly Chinese man, Jerry Chen (James Hong) and Roy’s is an attractive Russian woman, Opal Pavlenko (Marisa Miller). After failing to communicate with Julia, Nick accompanies Roy to the apartment of a suspect, Stanley Nawlicki (Robert Knepper), who tries to escape and is killed by the duo. Pieces of gold identical to the ones Nick stole are found in Nawlicki’s possessions and sent to Internal Affairs for analysis.

Nick and Roy then meet with Elliot (Mike O’Malley), a dealer set to make an exchange with someone, revealed to be Hayes. Nick and Roy follow him to Nick’s house, where Hayes retrieves Nick’s share of the gold, leading Julia to believe Nick was corrupt. From there, the duo tails Hayes to an abandoned warehouse where he gives the gold to a Deado, Pulaski (Devin Ratray), who escapes due to Nick and Roy’s intervention. Proctor, infuriated, takes them off the case, but they decide to continue the investigation on their own after learning the pieces of golds are components of the Staff of Jericho, a mystic device that could reverse the tunnel that transports the dead into the afterlife, returning them to Boston.

Nick and Roy visit Hayes, who quickly finds out who they are and reveals himself to be a Deado. He is arrested and brought to RIPD’s headquarters, where he and other Deados manage to escape after stealing the components of the Staff of Jericho and return to Earth. While the Deados assemble the Staff of Jericho, Hayes kidnaps Julia to use her as a human sacrifice to open the portal. Nick and Roy arrive and after killing the Deados, including Pulaski, Nick goes to save Julia while Roy destroys the Staff of Jericho and saves the city. Although Nick manages to kill Hayes, Julia succumbs to her wounds and dies in his arms before Proctor arrives and informs Nick that he has earned redemption and Julia has been awarded a second chance.

Julia is revived in the hospital and begins recovery, and Proctor reinstates Nick and Roy into the agency, in addition to providing Nick with a new avatar, which is soon revealed to be a 10-year-old girl scout (Piper Mackenzie Harris), much to Nick’s disappointment. Nick and Roy then get into Nick’s car and drive away.

REVIEW:

It seems as if Hollywood can only release a film nowadays if it is a remake, reboot or based on a novel or comic book. Until recently, I didn’t know that R.I.P.D. was a comic. Rest assured, I will be hitting up the comic book store and tracking down some issues. In the meantime, I have to wonder how far this film strayed from the source material.

What is this about?

After his murder, a policeman joins the Rest in Peace Department: a team of undead cops who help the recently deceased join the afterlife. Meanwhile, he searches for the man who killed him at the height of his successful life.

What did I like?

Tron. I have to give it up for Jeff Bridges. He plays a rugged cop from the old west who doesn’t give a damn, but still wants to do the right thing. This anti-hero, if you will, is the kind of character that seems to resonate best with today’s audiences. Pair his antics with Ryan Reynolds, who is apparently playing the straight man (ironic that a guy who played Deadpool, a character known for not being able to shut up, is telling someone else to shut up). The comedic timing that Bridges has it what really lets this character shine.

Comedy. Speaking of comedy, this is a film that could have taken itself too seriously, but instead chose to play up the comedic angle. Last summer, people were complaining that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter took itself way too serious and now they’re saying that this should have been more serious. There just is no pleasing some people. Personally, I think this is a film that would not have worked had they gone the serious route and enjoyed the comedic aspects in most places, but there were some that didn’t quite work for me, but they were forgivable.

Weapons and gadgets. For some odd reason, I was expecting all kinds of hi-tech gizmos and gadgets, but instead all the weapons were pretty humdrum. Sure, the dead all have guns that can vaporize other living challenged, but that is what they’re job requires. As explained pretty early on, regular weapons don’t work. I was more than happy that there weren’t all these Bond-like gadgets to be seen. I think we’ve seen enough of that in anther film that came out about 10 years ago.

What didn’t I like?

Similar. There are quite a few people who have picked up on the similarities, but it must be pointed out that this is very much like Men in Black. First, we have the young rookie getting paired up with the gruff veteran. They drive around in an old car, that might actually be the same make and model, but I’m not sure. To get back and forth to their headquarters, they take a transportation service in a place that no one would imagine to look, and there is a random old guy “running” the place. Do I need to keep going?

Avatar. A running joke with Reynolds and Bridges’ characters is that they don’t look like themselves. The problem with this is that it becomes a bit worn out after awhile. A couple of times they insert something new, such as the avatar for Bridges getting hit on and then him going on a somewhat feminist diatribe at him. On the whole, though, it just became a tired gimmick after awhile. Maybe it would have been better if each time they had different avatars.

Plot. The plot isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Someone finds an artifact, puts it together, and then tries to cause a sort of Armageddon. I know we’re dealing with supernatural elements here, but I’m sure they could have come up with something at least a little different. The whole end of the world thing has been done to death, especially in the last 6 months or so.

I really don’t get why everyone is being such a hater on R.I.P.D. Perhaps it is because Ryan Reynolds also is starring in the animated film Turbo and Mary-Louis Parker (does she ever age) is starring in Red 2 this weekend, and people are just tired of them. I don’t really know. What I do know is that I enjoyed this film through and through. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it, but after a second viewing I may change my tune on that. There is a little something here for everyone, action, drama, deceit, comedy, even a love story. I highly recommend you give this a shot. You might like it and you might not, but you’ll never know unless you give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

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2 Responses to “R.I.P.D.”

  1. […] Last weekend, Ryan Reynolds had two films released, R.I.P.D. and Turbo, neither did that well, which had many people questioning his box office draw and his […]

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

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