Review by Kam Williams
Veteran detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is very content between his 15-year career with the Boston Police Department and being happily-married to the love of his life, Julia (Stefanie Szostak). However, his American Dream is irreversibly ruined the fateful day he is assigned to bring down a drug cartel conducting business out of an abandoned factory along the waterfront.
For, greed gets the best of his partner, Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon), after the ensuing shootout, when they discover a stash of gold artifacts. And instead of taking the antique ingots back to headquarters, he decides to shoot Nick dead and blame the murder on the bad guys. To add insult to injury, Bobby consoles Julia and even has the temerity to put the moves on the grieving widow.
Meanwhile, Nick finds himself neither in Heaven nor Hell, but in a police purgatory where a proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) offers him a chance to return to Earth as a member of a squad of zombie cops called the Rest in Peace Department (R.I.P.D.). He leaps at the opportunity, and is immediately paired with a late, Old West lawman, a salty cowboy named Roycephus Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges).
The grizzled gunslinger grudgingly agrees to work with a partner for the first time, and in the blink of an eye the two are teleported back to Beantown to round up renegade dead souls who have somehow evaded the afterlife. There, Nick conveniently also has an opportunity to check in on Julia and plot his revenge on Bobby.
Like a poor man’s version of Men in Black, R.I.P.D. is a disappointing action comedy both in terms of action and comedy. Think “ghost” instead of “alien” adversaries and you have the basic idea of what director Robert Schwentke is going for.
Unfortunately, the obsolete special f/x leave a lot to be desired, and the corny jokes fall flat. Another major structural flaw is the lack of chemistry between the protagonists, a no-no in any unlikely-buddies adventure. Ryan Reynolds looks lost opposite the drawling, generally unintelligible Jeff Bridges who behaves like he’s still on the set of True Grit.
R.I.P.D. is D.O.A.!
Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, sensuality and sexual references
Running Time: 96 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures