WRITTEN BY: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi,
DIRECTED BY: Robert Schwentke
STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak
RATING: 2.5 stars
To describe RIPD as being anything like Men In Black is neither fair, nor accurate. The trailer makes it look like yet another Men In Black sequel but it is actually a very distinct story. That is not to say that it is a particularly good story, but at least it is unique. The target audience are probably young teenagers and many of them will enjoy this film.
Based on the Dark Horse series of graphic novels by Peter M Lenkov, RIPD tells the story of Boston cop Nick (Reynolds) who is betrayed by his partner Hayes (Kvein Bacon) and killed on the job. Nick's journey to face judgement is interrupted by the Rest In Peace Department (RIPD) who pair him up with old western lawman Roy (Jeff Bridges) to go back to Earth and arrest those who have cheated death. But when they are on Earth, they have different bodies so Nick looks like an old Chinese man and Roy looks like a blonde bombshell. You can foretell the comedy that that creates. During their investigation, the duo learn that Hayes is a far dirtier cop than Nick thought. Also, it seems those who cheated death are assembling an ancient artefact that will allow them to trigger the apocalypse.
There is some good use of 3D in this film, as well as some special effects and clever use of freeze frames. The technical aspect is probably the best thing RIPD has to offer. It is supposed to be a comedy but it is really a one-gag film and that same joke is repeated more than a dozen times. To be fair, an old Chinese man holding a banana as a gun and running around with a hot blonde woman is quite funny, but it should not have been the only gimmick in the film.
Reynolds has copped a lot of criticism in recent years for being involved in sub-standard films. RIPD will do little to improve that image of him, particularly because he is not very good in it. He lacked the ever so important chemistry needed for a buddy film with Bridges. Speaking of the Oscar winner, he also seems to struggle to create an entertaining character and is more of a caricature. His relationship with Mary-Louise Parker's character, who also works at RIPD, is also unconvincing. The saving grace of this film is Bacon. Can he just be in everything, please?
RIPD is not likely to win any awards and it is not as memorable as similar films of its genre, but with school holidays starting in a couple of weeks, it may be a handy film for parents to send their teenage children to see.