movie film review | chris tookey


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  R.I.P.D. Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
2.80 /10
Ryan Reynolds , Jeff Bridges , Mary-Louise Parker
Full Cast >

Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

Released: 2013
Origin: US
Length: 96

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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And you thought this year’s blockbusters couldn’t get any trashier? R.I.P.D. is so wrong-headed that the people who made it couldn’t even manage a decent rip-off of Men in Black; they decided to copy the abominable Men in Black 2 instead.

Yet another expensive comic-strip movie of astonishing vacuity, this is based on the Dark Horse series of graphic novels by Peter M. Lenkov.

Screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi already gave us two stinkers in Aeon Flux and the Clash of the Titans remake. This is just as devoid of originality, excitement and wit. It makes you despair of the people who gave it the green light.

Ryan Reynolds (pictured right), an actor whose handsomeness is exceeded only by the slackness of his jaw, plays a murdered cop who’s recruited into the afterlife’s crack police department, the R.I.P.D. This is run, not altogether probably, by Mary-Louise Parker, evidently knackered after all that running about in Red 2. She seems barely interested in attempting to appear engaged, and is upstaged by her own kinky boots. Nothing her character does suggests why on earth – or off it - she might be qualified to head up a police force.

Reynolds, miraculously even less interesting here than he was in his last comic-strip blockbuster fiasco, The Green Lantern, appears to be suffering from some new form of rigor mortis that enables him to move around but removes all traces of life behind the eyes, along with any vestige of talent.

He is given a reluctant partner in an irascible wild west sheriff – an overacting Jeff Bridges (pictured left), lazily repeating his Rooster Cogburn from True Grit, minus the comic timing and occasional moments of intelligibility.

You’d think the joke here would be about a modern law enforcer getting teamed up with a cowboy, but the script never exploits this aspect at all. Neither actor has chemistry with the other, which in a dead buddy-buddy movie is a distinct minus. Actually, both actors look as if they hate what they’re doing and who they’re with, which is understandable but no fun to watch.

Their mission is to keep the living safe from the dead, who turn out to be grotesquely fat, badly CGI-animated zombies with no personality and an aversion to Indian food. Why? Who knows? If the script-writers do, they’re certainly not telling us.

There’s a plot afoot to collect the pieces of the Staff of Jericho, an ancient, golden obelisk that will reverse the ascension of the evil dead to judgment and send them back to earth, to do terrible things to the living. Why? Not sure. The evil dead are just evil, I guess. And can you guess the magical, ingenious way you stop this evil, biblical obelisk thingy from completing its dastardly work? You drop a truck on it. Simples!

The movie assumes unwisely that the audience is (a) unborable, and (b) very, very stupid. Anyone of even modest intelligence may wonder why only two misfit, suspended cops are available to save the world when the cops in the R.I.P.D run into hundreds. What are the others doing? Traffic detail?

It’s also mysterious that, as all those amateurishly animated zombies terrorise a weirdly underpopulated Boston (couldn’t a 135 million dollar movie afford extras?), there doesn’t seem to be a single cop running around who is alive.

The one potentially amusing idea – that Reynolds and Bridges appear on earth disguised as an ancient Chinaman and a blonde supermodel – is wasted by German director Robert Schwentke, who doesn’t have a clue how to make anything funny. He’s probably too catatonically depressed after reading the script.

In the absence of comedy, passable special effects or exciting action sequences, the film-makers resort to grossing us out with 3D, poorly added in post-production. Character spit, spew and spray all over us. So it’s obnoxious, as well as inept.

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