Following the recently deceased cop Nick, we follow him through his first few days of being on the R.I.P.D., a law enforcement group of the afterlife that tracks down spirits that stay behind on Earth avoiding judgement. The plot involves the Deados collecting an ancient artifact to reverse all the spirits back onto Earth and a not so hidden enemy emerges from Nick’s past; it’s up to him and his partner, Roy, to stop them.
Now, if you are already rolling your eyes at the cliched plot and familiar premise, then R.I.P.D. probably isn’t for you. A lot of the effects feel a little dated already and the 3D isn’t a strong post conversion for this day and age and this will surely turn some people off looking for at least a fun technical experience. I took the look as part of the film’s charm though as it certainly feels like a late 90’s summer blockbuster and it looks like one too. That isn’t to say the effects can’t look great, when time stops in particular, but the monsters and some of the CG doubles for the stars can lack from modern standards.
So if you are still with me, the film (like I said) feels very late 90’s sci-fi action and I was able to enjoy myself from start to finish. Sure the concept is very similar to MIB, but this universe has enough of its own quirks and rules to set it apart from its world protecting cousin. The story is simple and it never gets convoluted, but that might lead you to see where the film is going from the opening scenes. Still, the pacing never wallows and when it does slow down it is usually for some affective scenes between Ryan Reynolds and his widow. The action set pieces keep on coming and the film spends the majority of its run time chasing monsters and saving the world while mixing up the formula every step of the way. The ideas and concepts in the film are actually quite clever at times and it is just a shame that the studio so clearly was cutting corners on this thing as they seem to have shorted the budget just about everywhere.
I mentioned Ryan Reynolds was in the film and as a fan of his I am always happy to see him run around in just about anything. Nick isn’t the meatiest, funniest or the best character for him by any means, but Reynolds nails the moments with his wife and I think that is what mattered the most. Jeff Bridges also gets to have a grand old time playing Nick’s partner Roy who is an officer from the Old West who still acts like a six shooter outlaw of his times. Bridges gets all the laughs and is clearly having the most fun and if you are a fan of him being silly I am sure you will enjoy him here. Kevin Bacon also seems to be having a blast getting to ham it up in this monster movie and he is particularly enjoyable in the film’s final act. Mary-Louise Parker also knows exactly what kind of movie she is in and she gets to be over the top and fun as well; but why does she always end up with old guys in movies? Stephanie Szostak plays the aforementioned widow and while she doesn’t have a whole lot to do, she helps those scenes between her and Reynolds be as effective as they are.
R.I.P.D. might not feel terribly new, but I had a fun time while I was in the theater. There are plenty of things you can point a finger here, but the cast and pacing make the film easy to enjoy if you are willing to give yourself over to it. A lot of people will probably have fun with this on cable down the line, and I certainly am not going to send you running out to see it in theaters, but if you are a fan of any of the actors involved it is definitely worth checking out sooner or later.
R.I.P.D. is a C