Sep 152013

The first port of call in the afterlife? Judgement. For obvious reasons many want to avoid judgment and instead they hide in plan sight on Earth, among the living. The job of the Rest in Peace Department? Send those suckers to eternal damnation where they belong. My review of R.I.P.D. after the jump.

Boston Police Department Detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is a good guy who made some really bad decisions. He, along with his partner (played by Kevin Bacon) kept gold that they found at a crime scene. He just wanted to give his family a hand, but it was something he felt incredibly guilty about. When Nick is killed he escapes judgment (which wouldn’t be kind on a dirty cop) in exchange for 50 years service on the Boston R.I.P.D. Nick’s new partner? A gun-happy ex-U.S. Marshal from the 1800s (Roy Pulsipher, played by Jeff Bridges), who whips the training wheels right off Nick and throws him headfirst into the hunt for ‘Deados’, those who are attempting to escape judgement by lingering on Earth. If adjusting to the afterlife isn’t enough, Nick has arrived at the time of the biggest assault from the Deados. Not happy with escaping judgment, they want to reverse the flow of the dead, so they all pour back to Earth, and take it for themselves.

Adapted from the comic book Rest in Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov, R.I.P.D.certainly has the feel of a mad-cap, comic adventure about it. The film embraces its silly concept and runs with it, never taking itself too seriously or getting bogged down in emotions; instead the film has fun. Deados are smelly, ugly and rather ridiculous, and the characters take a certain about of pleasure in bringing them down. Even when the fate of the world is at stake, the film takes time to add in some decent action, such as a car chase in which Jeff Bridge’s character revels in the perilous situation, cracking jokes and enjoying the adrenaline rush. Special effects are also surprisingly good, and certainly serve the action well.

Jeff Bridges looks like he is having a great time here. Throughout the film his character makes jokes, enjoys making light of the often dangerous situation and generally seems like the job is terrific fun. His handlebar moustache and overall casual body language coupled with his attitude make for an interesting, amusing character, which Bridges plays well. Unlike other actors (I’m looking at you Bruce Willis) who might “phone in” these types of action flicks; Bridges makes a real effort, and it pays off. Reynolds is fine as the newly dead cop, but his key task is to act as a sounding board for Bridges’ wise-cracks.

 R.I.P.D. has a silly concept, but it’s a fun one that results in an entertaining film.

By Sam McCosh


The Facts

Director: Robert Schwentke
Screenplay: Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon
Runtime: 96 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: September 12 2013