Sunday, July 21, 2013

Totally R.I.P.D.

Poor 'R.I.P.D.'  Even before it hit theaters on Friday, it was all but R.I.P.D.ed to shreds by movie critics and declared D.O.A. by those who predict how a movie will perform on its opening weekend based on advance screenings and tracking data.  Who can blame them?  Universal didn't release 'R.I.P.D.' for critical review until right up to the movie's opening, and it's competing head-to-head against 'RED 2,' another action-comedy expected to draw the same demographic.
'R.I.P.D.' has been billed as 'Men in Black' meets 'Ghostbusters,' and it does bring to mind these two earlier films.  Like MIB, it is also based on a Dark Horse comic title, and as derivative as it may be, it's still a fun-filled popcorn flick and entertaining as hell.  For those unfamiliar with the title, 'R.I.P.D.' stands for 'Rest In Peace Department,' a law enforcement agency staffed with dead cops from different eras who are tasked with apprehending 'deados,' fugitive evil souls who have escaped eternal judgement (okay, going to 'hell').  In that sense, it is reminiscent of the short-lived but well liked WB series 'Reaper.'
As a supernatural buddy-cop comedy, 'R.I.P.D.' surprisingly works due to the chemistry between Jeff Bridges as a gunslinger lawman from the Old West and Ryan Reynolds, a contemporary cop murdered by his corrupt partner (Kevin Bacon).  Bridges is simply a hoot throughout the movie as Roy Pulsipher, but Reynolds is also very good with his sardonic deadpan humor.  And as the villain, Kevin Bacon portrayed his role with the same stab-you-in-the-back smarminess as he did in 'Super.'  In a very funny twist, which is no less funny despite the fact that it's given away in the movie's trailer, the two lawmen appear very different to mortals on earth.
Let's face it, 'R.I.P.D.' is far from a great movie, but it's not nearly as bad as the critics would have us believe.  It's really a shame that this movie, with a budget of $130 million, is all but assured to be the latest summer blockbuster to bomb at the box office.  Too bad.
Grade: B

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