Nov 18, 2013

[Movies] R.I.P.D. (2013)

Here's another comic book adaptation movie that involves source material that I've never read before. This is also another movie review that I'm writing for a movie that was generally panned by most critics. And while movie was definitely more of the "popcorn flick" variety, I don't necessarily think it was all that bad.

But yes, I think the movie does involve a lot of elements that we now consider to be part of the Hollywood formula for many movies of this nature. And as much as the formula can be rather predictable at times, no every movie needs to be a trailblazer of some sort in terms of expanding our cultural horizons or something like that.

This movie movie is a good amount of fun, but it definitely could have been better in many respects. And as much as I've been known to enjoy a little Ryan Reynolds eye candy in the past, I'm not too sure whether or not it was a good idea to include him in this movie. But let's go through the review proper before we address this at length.

Synopsis: R.I.P.D. is a 2013 supernatural comedy directed by Robert Schwentke. It was based on the Dark Horse comic Rest in Peace Department created by Peter M. Lenkov with a screenplay by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi.

We first meet Boston Police Detectives Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) and Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) steal a chest of gold acquired during a drug bust. Nick buries his half of the gold in his backyard, but later regrets this decision and decides to return the gold. But before he can do this, he is killed by Hayes during a shootout. Thus Nick dies and his soul is pulled up into the afterlife and directly into the office of Mildred Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker).

She offers him a position in the Rest in Peace Department - an group that "hires" the dead to capture spirits that failed to cross over. These spirits take on human forms that hide their rather monstrous nature. Nick is assigned to an old wild West lawman named Roy (Jeff Bridges). He's a rather gruff member of the RIPD who doesn't appreciate being burdened with a rookie. And as Roy shows Nick the ropes of the job and the unique abilities they have as being among the dead who walk the Earth, the slowly uncover a greater mystery out there.

As much as we have Ryan Reynolds as the sort of lead character in this story, the show is certainly stolen by by the quirky antics of Jeff Bridges. For what is essentially a supernatural buddy cop movie, the chemistry between the two just wasn't there. This is especially evident given how the movie shares a lot of fundamental elements with the Men in Black movies where you replace aliens with dead people. It certainly takes the whole Hollywood formula concept and rubs it in your face.

All that aside and Reynold's lackluster performance here, there's a lot that works in favor of the movie. The element that the worked best for the comedy was definitely the whole notion that RIPD folks are given avatars to disguise their appearance on Earth. And the director certainly milked the fact that Roy's avatar is that of a super model level beauty as played by Marisa Miller. They had everything including a consistent theme used when her appearance comes into play plus the fact that Bridges would occasional act out what his female avatar would do. And it totally worked.

Beyond that, the movie has a fair amount of decent action scenes, decent special effects and all that good stuff. The movie is rather average in this regard, but it's not necessarily bad. It was certainly weird to see Kevin Bacon involved, and he's really getting stuck with the whole villain bit.

R.I.P.D. is a fun romp that's worth the price of popcorn and an enjoyable way to kill an afternoon. It won't change your life, but at least you can forget about your troubles for 90 or so minutes. So the movie rates 3 ridiculous camera zooms as the director spoon feeds you key moments out of a possible 5.

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