RIPDReleased: 2013
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges

Not as bad as you think


One of the criticisms I have to take on board as a reviewer is that I can be a little generous with my scoring. And I hold my hands up to that. I’m a relatively positive person. I like films and books, I go into the cinema or pick up a book because I want to enjoy the time that I spend with the stories being told. I write my film and book reviews because I like to share my thoughts with people who also like films and books. I don’t try to be clever or unnecessarily negative and if I do have complaints I try to be constructive. Very few of my reviews give a total thumbs down (The Slap and Another Earth being notable exceptions). If that makes me soft then I can live with that.

This brings me nicely onto the almost universally panned R.I.P.D, a comic book adaptation which sees Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges battle the dead who are refusing to pass over to the other side and causing havoc in the land of the living. The story begins when Boston detective Nick Walker (Reynolds) tells his partner (Kevin Bacon) that he won’t be part of a dodgy deal. Almost immediately Walker is dead at the hands of pantomime baddie Bacon. As the passes over into the afterlife, he is given the option to join the R.I.P.D (Rest in Peace Department), a group of dead law enforcement officers from across the ages who bring “Deados” to justice. After being paired up with Wild West Roycephous Pulsiphur, Walker uncovers a plot which could see the dead come back to earth.

So, here’s the thing. I liked R.I.P.D, it wasn’t brilliant by any stretch of the imagination and I’m probably glad that I waited until it was available on Sky rather than schlepping out to the cinema to see it. But for the hour and a half that it was on screen I liked it. It’s not a new concept – it’s somewhere in between Men in Black and the TV series Dead Like Me – but it’s done relatively well. There are some nice visual effects, particularly in the moments after Walker’s death when his spirit moves through a frozen world before being sucked up to the afterlife. I wouldn’t exactly call the CGI groundbreaking though, just nice.

I’ve seen lots of criticism of Ryan Reynolds as Walker but again I quite like him. He’s relatively charismatic and pretty good-looking and makes a decent go of his role as the confused dead guy just wanting to make sure his wife is ok (mmm, where have we seen that before?). On the other hand I got a little bit bored of Bridges’s over the top Roy after a while.

As is almost depressingly inevitable with action films, the female roles are thoroughly underwritten. Walker’s widow is two-dimensional at best and the only decent female is Mary-Louise Parker’s sassy Proctor, the RIPD boss of Walker and Pulsiphar.

Better than Men in Black 3, not as good as Men in Black and nowhere near as good as a couple of episodes of Dead Like Me R.I.P.D has been slightly harshly treated by its negative reviews. Go into it expecting an hour and a half of mindless fun and you’ll be quite happy.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Speak Your Mind