26 September 2013

Short Review: R.I.P.D.

(Dir: Robert Schwentke, 2013)

R.I.P.D. is a film without pretension, without belief that it's any other than generic and is just merely trying to be lighthearted entertainment. That's not such a bad thing and in essence it succeeds. It's so lean that it barely wastes time with any extraneous exposition, rapidly shooting us straight into the story of Ryan Reynold's shot-on-duty police officer who has been summoned to work for the Rest In Peace Dept - bringing back dead souls hiding out on Earth and partnering him with Jeff Bridges' old hand Sheriff. The film ain't rocket science and it has more than a strong sense of Men In Black about it, but like that film it is also based on an existing comic book and is gleefully over-the-top with its CGI monsters and end of the world destruction.

What does elevate the film is Bridges, who despite feeling like he's slumming it a bit puts in enough effort to be the best thing here. His Sheriff is resolutely a hard-assed cowboy who believes in what has to be done but only in his way, the rules be damned. Firmly sticking to this gives us some great one-liners and an interesting character. Ryan Reynolds on the other hand appears stuck in the sort of bland role that's dominated his career and Kevin Bacon is pure cartoon villain cliché. Which is actually a fairly apt description of the film as a whole. Still, the humour from Bridges character and the conceit of how Earth's residents actually see these dead police officers is enough to make it a more enjoyable than expected watch. The concept itself has lots of potential so it's a shame R.I.P.D. is such a by-the-numbers film with really average effects, but it is at least kinda fun if you're really not expecting much from it. 

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