A decade after “Men in Black” graced the screens, knock-offs have been rampant. “R.I.P.D.,” the latest from Dark Horse comics, is no different.
The plot seems fairly simple. Nick Walker is a veteran officer of the Boston Police Department who, after a betrayal and his subsequent murder, is recruited to the Rest In Peace Department, whose job it is to keep the dead and the living separate, for the well-being of the living world. Nick is teamed up with Roy, a lawman from the 1800s, to hunt down Deado’s when they stumble upon a plot to bring the living and dead worlds crashing together by the Staff of Jericho, a mystic device being assembled to bring them together.
Where “Men in Black” had aliens, “R.I.P.D.” has the refusing-to-move-on dead. The movie sets itself up to be a winner, when it falters. It’s not for a pacing problem, which this movie doesn’t have that problem. It’s the plot itself, which is so transparent audiences will have the movie figured out in the first half hour. Which doesn’t bode well for the remaining hour of the movie.
To top off the non-existent plot, the CGI is bad. The dead look like they’re still in the clay stages of computer composition and the wormholes that open up in the Boston skyline with the floating, rotating bodies of the dead just don’t look quite right.
Transparent plot aside, the actors work with what they have. Ryan Reynolds plays Nick, assigned to Roy, played by Jeff Bridge, who has a love-hate relationship with Mary Louise Parker’s Mildred and in the middle of all this is Kevin Bacon, who is Bobby, Nick’s living partner. Where Reynolds plays Nick straight, it is Bridge’s Western sheriff that keeps things lively, and Parker’s snappy Proctor who is always good for a chuckle. To top of the insults, however, is the waste of Kevin Bacon’s talent in this film.
“R.I.P.D.” gets a flat F. While decently paced and acted, the bad effects and nonexistent plot prove that a lazy rip-off of familiar material just won’t fly with audiences. I had high hopes for the cast the movie put together, but it’s not worth a full-price ticket in the midst of far better movie in theatres now and coming up.