By now, almost everyone knows comic book characters and comic book companies. Marvel is the kingpin (no pun intended #ComicBookJoke) and they're followed by DC. Between those two, they're responsible for owning and publishing 95% of the characters everyone is familiar with and loves. However there are still a hundred or so other comic book companies out there all plugging away with what they do. The next tier down are companies like Dark Horse, Vertigo and Image. R.I.P.D. is from the Dark Horse world, who also is responsible for 300, Robocop, Sin City and Hell Boy. Just like with any situation, when you step down the J.V. level the quality decreases and R.I.P.D. is no different.
There are some actors in Hollywood that I often put my blind trust in that they will always deliver a stellar performance and with that usually comes a great movie; Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges are two of them. Reynolds is my straight-man-mancrush and I have no problem saying it. He's super funny, exudes coolness, and not bad to look at. Bridges is one of the best actors out there and whether he's making me laugh no matter how many times I've seen it in The Big Lebowski or breaking my heart in Crazy Heart, he's incredible. Both of them seem to have given R.I.P.D. their best efforts but it just didn't work.
It's impossible to not compare this to Men in Black. It's almost the exact same story except insead of aliens it deals with the afterlife. However the centerpiece of Men in Black is the chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith who kill it with their comedic timing. That chemistry does not exist between Bridges and Reynolds and the script between them is awful. No matter how funny they both are, and they do both have their moments of hilarity; it's simply not enough to carry a movie that's too silly to be good otherwise.
The director is Robert Schwentke who did Red and Flightplan; two movies that I was less than impressed with. I'm not familiar with the R.I.P.D. comics so I don't know if he was trying to match the visual tone and imagery but I enjoyed it either way. His use of dramatic zooms was a nice throwback to the buddy cop movies of the '70s and '80s and he used 3D as well as anything you'd see at an amusement park. The problem with R.I.P.D. is in the script and overall plot.
Nothing about what you see is original, which I've made peace with. Hollywood puts out 30% originality every year and the rest are remakes, sequels and familiar plots with different faces. But as far as I'm concerned, if you're going to be unoriginal then you have to come at me hard with quality. This lacks that quality on almost all levels and doesn't do enough to make me hope for this to become a franchise. I'll still remain a fan of Bridges and Reynolds and I'll just hope I get zapped by the Men in Black mind-erase pen so I can forget this ever happened. R.I.P.D. (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: D+