R.I.P.D. was a flop. It didn’t make its money at the box office. Critics for the most part lambasted it for having more style over substance as well as a lack of originality. Thing is, it’s not a bad film. It does have some flaws, but overall it’s enjoyable.
A cross between Ghostbusters and Men In Black, R.I.P.D. features Ryan Reynolds as Nick, a police officer in Boston. He is killed in the line of duty, and as a second chance he is given the opportunity to work in the Rest Of Peace Department, bringing back those souls who refuse to leave. He gets partnered with a former U.S. Marshall from the “wild west”, Roy, portrayed by Jeff Bridges.
Naturally those of us in the living world don’t see the dead for what they are. Instead we see “avatars” – a sort of physical place holder. Jeff Bridges is an attractive female and Ryan Reynolds in James Hong. Sadly there isn’t as much use of the natural comedy inherent in this dichotomy.
At the beginning Nick and his partner Bobby (Kevin Bacon) are not the most honorable of cops. Naturally this comes into play for the plot as there is some redemption necessary. Somehow of course what happened to Nick in life is tied to what is going on in his afterlife.
Ryan Reynolds wasn’t great as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, but here he does a decent job as a police officer. He’s not ready to step up and take on the mantle of leading man in an action film. He’s no Bruce Willis or Jason Statham, but this was a good fit, a little action, a bit of comedy, and a strong co-lead.
Sadly, I found more at fault with Jeff Bridges – it was almost as if he was trying too hard to create a character that could live up to the legacy of The Dude were this film to be turned into a franchise.
And tying everything together so neatly instead of just giving us a sort of origin story and introduction to the world of the dead felt forced.
These problems aren’t killers, but they do narrow the scope of the potential audience. R.I.P.D. really is a genre film for those that sort of know ahead of time if they are interested in it. It’s not great, but it’s fun enough to watch. It could have been more, which is the biggest disappointment.
On Blu-ray the film comes with a batch of special features. Two alternate openings kick things off, then the gag reel and deleted and alternate scenes. A couple of featurettes round out the offerings. One is a series of animated storyboards from the film where the “avatars” of the R.I.P.D. officers are used, then we get 4 actual featurettes that total just over 30 minutes. Why they weren’t strung together into one is … puzzling.
You probably know if you’re interested in R.I.P.D. or not. If you know what you’re in for and go in with lowered expectations, you’ll probably enjoy it.