Even though he directed the original Red, it isn’t the sequel he will be releasing this weekend; instead it is the horror-action-comedy extravaganza, R.I.P.D. This is, of course, an acronym for the Rest in Peace Department, and the film is based on the comic book by Peter M. Lenkov, published by my favorite comic book company, Dark Horse.
The R.I.P.D. is something you probably wouldn’t know about unless you are dead–or, more specifically, a dead cop. Which is something Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) has just become after he is deceived and killed by his partner (Kevin Bacon). Now, when a cop dies, he can either go to “judgement” or stay employed and join the Rest in Peace Department. Their job is to keep “deado’s” in line; lost, corrupt souls that have escaped the afterlife and cause mayhem among the living. Walker decides to join the force, which will also keep him in his town of Boston, where he hopes to be near his beloved widowed wife (Stephanie Szostak).
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Walker may have fifteen years of police service under his belt, but he’s in a whole new arena now and he needs someone to show him the ropes. Lucky for him he’s got fallen Old West lawman Roy Pulsipher to help him out, portrayed by the one and only Jeff Bridges.
The comic was published back in 2003; writer Peter M. Lenkov has a writer and producer credit on the film, and he has had similar involvement in various television shows and films. I haven’t read the comic, but it seems like they drew somewhat loosely from it. The original is hard to come by, and is currently out of stock on the Dark Horse website, but they did do a lovely new edition just in time for the movie! You can check it out here.
The visual effects were super high quality but I always find monsters to be most pleasing when more practical effects are applied, and the beasties in R.I.P.D. rely heavily on CGI, so I don’t feel very passionately about any of them. I do, however, feel very passionately about the concept designer on this film. None of the original artists were involved (as far as I am aware), but they did themselves a solid by hiring on one of my favorite modern horror and sci-fi artists, Wayne Barlowe. I strongly encourage you check out his website , as this guy is a wizard with a wicked weird mind. His art is beautiful and he has been involved in some of kickass movies that bring his monsters to life, one of which is this summer’s action/sci-fi flick Pacific Rim (that’s right, he created those gorgeous Kaijus!) He is also no stranger to the world of comics brought to motion; he was the visual designer for both Hellboy films!
R.I.P.D. is a fun, fast-paced good time. Nothing special, nothing new, especially not in terms of comic book inspired films, but it is a lively 96 minutes worth wasting. It will certainly come no surprise to you that the best part of the film is Jeff Bridges. I think it is safe to say he is a favorite of nearly everyones, and for good reason. He is a fun-loving, good sported actor he creates a hilarious character that audiences are sure to enjoy. Usually I am not a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds–in fact, most of the time I despise him, but for once he isn’t actually insufferable. His performance is by no means impressive, but he does what is asked of him and I didn’t want to rip his face off by the end of it. Seeing Kevin Bacon always makes me giggle because I think of his bum in Friday the 13th but he plays a decent antagonist in R.I.P.D.
In reiteration, R.I.P.D. isn’t exceptional or memorable, it’s no Men in Black or Hellboy, but it is pretty fuckin’ funny, and if anything you will enjoy it for the riot that was once and will be forever “the Dude”.