by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
You’d be hard pressed to actually see a film and not hear it compared to some other films, TV shows, anime, etc. Prime example, Pacific Rim has been compared to Transformers and Evangelion. The same will be said time and time again when Robert Schwentke’s newest film, R.I.P.D, hits theaters. The best way to sum it up would be to say Men in Black meets Ghostbusters in the form of a buddy cop film. The only difference is the police, in this case, are the dead ones.
Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is a police detective who is killed in the line of duty. But the afterlife isn’t quite what he imagined it to be. He’s almost immediately taken to the R.I.P.D, also known as the Rest In Peace Department. This is an organization, of undead, whose main goal is to protect the living from souls who have escaped judgment up to this point and are hiding out amongst the living. In the R.I.P.D, these souls are known as a “Deado.” Nick is given a gun and introduced to his new partner, Roy (Jeff Bridges), who served as a sheriff in the Wild West period. And by the way, Roy doesn’t work with partners. Now Roy and Nick are about to face a something that threatens to destroy the balance between the physical world and the supernatural realm.
Like with any odd couple movie or television show, it only goes as far as the relationship between the two characters. And you don’t get much different than pairing a modern day cop in Nick with a sheriff from the 1800’s in Roy. They each have a different view on life, how things should go, and the conflict that arises between the characters adds to the comedy. Jeff Bridges, as always, is wonderful to watch. Upon meeting the character, I was skeptical on Bridges character choice, but it grows on you rather quick and you take to the choices he makes. Plus, he has some funny dialogue and great comedic timing (“Nope, you’ll have to earn that…” You’ll see what I mean when you see the film). Ryan Reynolds, on the other hand, tends to build off of what Jeff Bridges gives him. Reynolds, in his own right, isn’t a lead comedic actor, so it was necessary to pair him with a stouter actor who could deliver the goods. Ryan Reynolds plays the role well enough for what it is, but there’s much to be desired with the performance. But their overall relationship with one another has more than enough comedic moments to keep us entertained.
Now, being that this film is like a Men in Black meets Ghostbusters, I’d me amiss if I did not talk about the visuals. Visually, some of the Deados seem rather cartoonish in their design, and many of the action sequences involving the Deados play out just as cartoonish. It’s not a film that is going to create uniformity for the undead, and it’s also not a film to be taken seriously, so one can say it is to be expected. Also, some of the physics of the film feel a little clunky at times with people falling off buildings and getting up immediately. It just feels like it could have been digitalized a little smoother than what we are given. And, not giving anything away here if you’ve seen the trailers, what Roy and Nick look like in the living world is pretty darn funny, and those transitions are much cleaner.
In terms of the overall story, it definitely has some plot holes and you may walk out of the theater thinking, “Okay, why was that the way it was?” or “what was the point of that?” But again, it’s not a film to take too seriously and definitely not one to overanalyze post-viewing. The film has its share of issues that keep it from being great, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth viewing. It’s funny, has enough action sequences, has enjoyable performances from Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker and also has James Hong in it. So if you’re looking for something to provide laughs and get you out of the summer heat, then R.I.P.D is for you.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars