Magazine article Screen International


Magazine article Screen International


Article excerpt

Dir: Robert Schwentke. US. 2013. 96mins

Transforming the supernatural into the subpar, R.I.P.D. aspires to the hip, zippy, irreverent spirit of Men In Black, but this effects-heavy action-comedy is simply too unremarkable to generate much of a pulse. Co-stars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are not without their charms, but director Robert Schwentke (RED) has made a film that culls together marketable elements without ever really getting them to congeal into anything satisfying.

There's no real spark or chemistry between Bridges and Reynolds, and the mystery the R.I.P.D. is trying to unravel boasts few twists or turns.

Arriving in the US on July 19, R.I.P.D. will probably be only the second most popular film this weekend to feature Ryan Reynolds--he's also the lead voice in the animated family film Turbo. Barely screened for critics in advance and facing a crowded marketplace, this Universal offering will need to lean heavily on its stars' bankability, although it would seem that R.I.P.D. will find more breathing room on cable and DVD.

Based on a Dark Horse comic that was first published 10 years ago, R.I.P.D. concerns Nick (Reynolds), a Boston cop killed by his dirty partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon). Angry at the betrayal, Nick enters the afterlife and discovers he's been recruited by the R.I.P.D., a team of dead law enforcement officers who keep the deceased from residing among the living. He's not happy about the situation, and he's even more miserable when he's teamed up with a 1800s Western lawman named Roy (Bridges) who doesn't want to work with a rookie.

It's not hard to notice the similarities between R.I.P.D. and Men In Black, which was also adapted from a comic book. In both, a young hothead partners up with a grizzled veteran to fight outlandish creatures and save an unsuspecting planet from unseen catastrophes. Additionally, in each case a smartass attitude pervades the proceedings, not to mention a mixture of scary, gruesome baddies and silly slapstick.

But whether it's the dully "imaginative" design of R.I.P.D. headquarters or the strained banter between Nick and Roy, R.I.P.D. plays like an uninspired riff, grabbing the most successful elements from the Men In Black franchise and grafting it onto a humdrum story that's part detective story, part buddy-cop caper and part caffeinated sci-fi extravaganza. …

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