Year 2013

Jeff Bridges as  Roy
Ryan Reynolds as Nick
Kevin Bacon as Hayes
Mary-Louise Parker   as Mildred Proctor
Stephanie Szostak as Julia
James Hong as Nick's Avatar
Marisa Miller as Roy's Avatar
Director - Robert Schwentke  
Screenwriters - Phil Hay
  - Matt Manfredi
Comic Book Writer - Peter M. Lenkov
Music - Christophe Beck

Forget about all of the bad things that you may have heard, R.I.P.D. defintely works as an action comedy. Not because of the pedestrian special effects, not because of the less than original plot, but because of the dialog, the acting, and the music.

The plot? A cop is killed by his partner over some gold. The slain officer, Nick (Reynolds) becomes part of an afterlife police force whose job it is to bring evil souls who are still on Earth (deados) back to the afterlife for justice. Actually, they bring the deados to the afterlife to just sit in a cell until Judgement Day. And more often than not, these R.I.P.D. members just shoot the deados in the head with special bullets and erase them from the universe.

Oddly enough, all the deados are evil. I'm not sure why and the movie doesn't address this.

The writers are not going to win any theological points with their premise. They're not even going to try. What they're going to do is force comparisons with similar movies. Like, for example, M.I.B. Or perhaps Robocop. How about, ahem, Ghost Busters. Yes, it's like all of them and more rolled up into one. You can even add a touch of Lethal Weapon although the banter is much more spririted (Spirited? Get it? They're dead? Nevermind.) in R.I.P.D.

Here's an early example. Nick (Reynolds) is talking about his bullet proof vest and comparing it to his partner Hayes' (Bacon) charm bracelet. "Mine stops bullets. Yours stops you from meeting girls." The movie is filled with lines like that. And the chemistry between Bridges, Reynolds, and Bacon makes it all work.

The visual humor in the background can be amusing in itself. In one scene a billboard advertises, "Don't be dead broke." I thought it was funny.

There's a lot, and I mean a LOT, wrong with this movie. The plot just does not convince. Of course there's a gate that must be opened, like in Ghost Busters and it requires pieces to be assembled. So where are these pieces? On Earth. What is the plot? Send the pieces to the afterlife and THEN return them to Earth. Why? Do they get frequent dier miles? You've got the pieces, use them!

Or the biggest unexplained item in the movie which is how the people waiting for Judgement Day become deados on Earth. Sometimes when people die, they get missed and don't make it to afterlife is the explanation. Weak. Very weak.

The movie forces you to stop asking reasonable questions all of the time. By that I mean that you should never ask a reasonable question while watching this movie. Like where's the traffic in one of America's busiest cities? I've driven through Boston. You don't want to drive there. It's always bumper to bumper and you're better off taking the train. In this movie? No traffic.

Nick keeps complaining about being shot in the face as the way he died. But, it's a broken neck from a fall that kills him and he was never shot in the face. Ignore the disconnect, I guess.

There's even a lack of phycial objects following any laws of gravity. That's got to be a problem in any movie. One huge Fat Elvis Wannabe walks up the side of a building. No one else can, but he can. Why? I dunno. But it is funny hearing him say, "Thank you very much."

And the special effects are distracting. Was that a real face attached to a cartoon CGI body? Was that a cartoon CGI face attached to a real body? Was that a cartoon CGI building blowing up around a scribble by a kindergartener? Who knows?

Got cliché? Lone wolf police officer? Check. Dysfunctional partners? Check. Man who loves his wife is killed? Check. Afterlife like Beetlejuice? Check. Vortices opening in the sky? Check. Brought back from the dead? Check. Guns run out of bullets to extend the final fight scene? Check.

And those are probably the reasons why the movie was panned by people. It doesn't even hold to its own inane universe rules. If this movie was anything other than an action comedy, it would've sunk lower than a pound of lead in Okefenokee and smelled just as bad.

But it IS an action comedy. And it's funny. Not scatalogical humor funny. Not gross out funny. Not obscure references as humor funny. It's jokes and spot on timing funny. If you think that Will Ferrel is a comic genius, then give this one a pass and come back after puberty.

The lines and the deliveries are the best part of the movie. Bridges plays a "lawman" named Roy from the 1800's who is doing penance working for the R.I.P.D. A lot of humor is based on the fact that he's still got that wild west mentality. Some of the quotes are not 100% accurate, but you'll get the idea.

In a one-upmanship contest about their deaths... Roy: I wish I was shot in the face with a bullet!

Why deados need to be killed. Proctor: They rot, the world rots - global warming, black plague, bad cell reception. Get it?

Roy: Maybe there's a pact for him to come to your house and erase your porn from your computer. I can understand that kind of a pact.

Getting ready for an old west style street shootout... Roy: Just like Main Street, Dodge City. Them dudes, they picked the wrong venue to make a stand. I invented this s***.

Nick and Roy agree. Roy: Feels strange. Kind of tingly.

There's a Doctor Strangelove send-up with Roy riding Nick like Kong rode the bomb which made me smile in spite of myself.

Then there's the music. Ah, Christophe Beck. The man who made RED better than it should have been does it again here with R.I.P.D.. He's the master of these types of action/comedy soundtracks. Part rap (very small), part techo, and part metal (shades of Black Sabbath at times), his cadences and riffs work subtlely to keep you in a frame of mind where the humor works.

With the exception of Marisa Miller, the acting is top-notch throughout. I wish James Hong had more screen time. He only had a couple of lines but the sight of him holding a banana like a gun, and meaning it, only made me appreciate him more.

No nudity, some profanity, and a touch of blasphemy. If you like Jeff Bridges and verbal humor, you will like this. It might not be a bad date movie, either.

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