Derek Winnert

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This article was written on 17 Sep 2013, and is filled under Reviews.

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R.I.P.D. ** (2013, Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon) – Movie Review

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Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as cops sent by the other-worldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from creatures who won’t move on peacefully into the afterlife.

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This 3D supernatural action adventure comedy is firmly based on a series of Dark Horse graphic novels by Peter M Lenkov.  It must have seemed a good idea to adapt them for the big screen. It could easily have turned out another Men in Black franchise. Well, that’s the good news.

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But the bad news is that RIPD really just isn’t much good. Bridges turns in one of his worst performances, a one-note, rasping, shouting turn as veteran Western sheriff Roy Pulsifer, who is assigned the newly dead, present-day police detective Nick Walker as his junior officer.

The two grudgingly team up, and wisecrack and blast their way through a ridiculous plot involving angry spirits, the end of life as we know it and a threat to the cosmic balance. Or some such baloney. Even so, it could have been fun, maybe a lot of fun.

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Ryan Reynolds plays Walker and comes off a shade better than Bridges by noticeably underplaying. Unfortunately this means he isn’t very exciting or seen at his best either, but he does just about get away with it on his likeability.

Bridges isn’t really a funny man; he’s a stupendous, subtle, Oscar-winning screen actor, and he should never have tried this role. He’s simply not a comedic actor. Reynolds is a funny man, but he’s got nothing much to be funny about here.

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Kevin Bacon has also drawn a short straw, as Bobby Hayes, Walker’s evil, murderous, duplicitous partner, who kills him in cold blood during a raid at the start of the movie. The revenge motive, of course, gives Walker something else to do when he comes down back on Earth. This start, by the way, seems vaguely promising. It isn’t till the movie restarts in the afterlife and Bridges appears that the movie more or less collapses.

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Mary-Louise Parker, so good in RED and RED 2, is powerless and unamusing here as Proctor, the cop duo’s tough. white kinky-booted bureau chief in the RIPD. It’s got to be the script’s fault and the director’s (Robert Schwenkte, from RED and Flightplan) that these four appealing and talented actors are so stranded.

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It helps that the production is great looking, and expensive looking, the 3D excellent and the visual effects are good, even if there are too many of them and the film ultimately becomes more reliant on them than the true virtues of story and character. When the angry spirits turn from actors into cartoon figures you just give up on it altogether.

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And the lame, long-running saga of Bridges’s missing Western hat is one of the most boring in any movie. Like the film, it’s a single, daft, harmless joke driven further and further into the ground by endless repetition.

©Derek Winnert 2013 derekwinnert.com

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