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R.I.P.D. - Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1.5 out of 5

RYAN Reynolds can’t catch a break when it comes to movies derived from comic books.

Both Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine have yet to deliver the spin-offs that were hoped for, while The Green Lantern also failed spectacularly in its bid for franchise status.

Now, R.I.P.D arrives in the wake of a US performance that places it among the costliest flops of the summer and with another franchise potential drifting in the wind. It’s a fate that feels wholly deserved given the lazy and derivative nature of the film.

Derived from the Dark Horse comic of the same name by Peter M Lenkov, R.I.P.D finds Reynolds playing corrupt cop Nick who, upon being shot and killed by his equally devious partner (Kevin Bacon), is plucked from judgement by the Rest In Peace Department to police the Earth against the dead from returning.

Saddled with gruff new partner Roy (Jeff Bridges), Nick subsequently sets about solving his own crime which, in turn, involves saving the world.

From the outset it’s clear that director Robert Schwentke is aiming for a franchise given how much this film feels like blockbuster movie-making by numbers.

Not only is it derived from a comic, it borrows heavily from the likes of Men In Black and Ghostbusters, not to mention the mis-matched cop genre. But while this may have appeared like a surefire recipe for success, especially with the benefit of a $130 million budget, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

For starters, the effects aren’t at all special, the set pieces are lifeless and the dialogue is dreadful. Even the performances underwhelm, with Reynolds content to rely on deadpan sarcasm, Bridges dusting off his Rooster Cogburn persona and Bacon doing just what’s required with no time for anything more.

Even some of the film’s better ideas, such as a sight gag involving the central duo’s Earth appearance being different, have been better employed in other movies.

As an advertisement for a lot of what’s wrong with blockbuster cinema, R.I.P.D is difficult to beat. And Reynolds, in particular, would do well to start paying more attention.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: September 20, 2013