Review: MiB turns ghostbusters in 'R.I.P.D'
"R.I.P.D." means "Rest in Peace Department," a limbo dimension where dead law enforcers help catch renegade ghosts that still roam the earth doing dastardly deeds.
This is where the soul of Officer Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) went after he was treacherously gunned down dead by his corrupt partner Officer Hayes (Kevin Bacon). Nick was partnered with crusty old-timer Officer Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges) to track down a heist of gold bars, which turned out to have a connection with the living world as well.
The execution of this film is very reminiscent of "Men In Black" (MiB), only replacing aliens with so-called "deados" (dead people still existing as monsters in the world). The computer-imagery of these "deados" even have the same look and texture used for "MiB" aliens, down to their grotesque faces and 3D constitutions. Even the firearms of our RIPD guys are too similar to those in "MiB."
Speaking of references to previous films, "Ghost," the classic 1990 Patrick Swayze-Demi Moore-Whoopi Goldberg film, also comes to mind because of the story line that dealt with Nick's wife Julia (Stephanie Szostak). The similarity is just too strong to ignore.
I don't know what is wrong, but Reynolds looked totally flat and lifeless as Nick. The ghost of his previous miscasting as "Green Lantern" haunts him here. If his Green Lantern was over-hyper, his Nick was over-dry. Reynolds' blandness was the reason why his co-stars walk all over him here, despite him being the central character.
Bridges literally chews Reynolds up with his over-the-top semi-"True Grit" performance as Roy. The best moments of the film are because of Bridges's spirited portrayal of the veteran old-school lawman. Furthermore, there was barely any chemistry between Reynolds and Bridges even as the movie progressed, which is always unfortunate.
As the villain of the film, Bacon did not really do anything new here. It is his typical Bacon villain performance we have all seen before in films from "The River Wild" to "X-Men First Class." Yet despite this, he still managed to project better screen presence than Reynolds.
I found the deadpan character of Mary Louise Parker as Proctor, the commanding officer of RIPD's Boston division, quite delightful actually. This is the second consecutive movie this year after "RED 2" where Parker stands out with a quirky performance.
There are occasional funny parts, yes, but these are few and far between. For me, there was only genuine LOL scene, and that was when we first see how regular people see Nick and Roy as: Nick as an elderly Asian guy, and Roy as ... I'll leave that for you to find out when you do watch, as that was the best scene in the film and I do not want to spoil that for you.
Of course, that happened in the first half of the film. There was nothing much memorable after that.
Overall, this is an average action comedy with special CG effects. However, the faults of this movie are so patently obvious even for the casual movie fan, even if you watch with low expectations. 4/10.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."