R.I.P.D

From direcor Robert Schwentke,based on the comic book Rest In Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov and published by Dark Horse Entertainment comes the supernatural buddy cop movie R.I.P.D starring Ryan Reynolds & Jeff Bridges with the villain role played by Kevin Bacon. Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong & Marisa Miller play the supporting roles. The movie is a lot like MIB and while watching it, one gets the feeling of having seen it already.

So the story goes like this; Boston PD detectives and partners Nick Walker (Reynolds) and Bobby Hayes (Bacon) steal some gold (mostly on Bobby’s insistence) that they found during a drugs bust. Nick however feels bad about it and wants to clear his conscience, so he decides to bury it first and then tell Bobby that he doesn’t want to keep it. During a subsequent raid on a warehouse that day, Nick and Hayes get into a shootout with the criminals inside, and Hayes kills Nick to prevent him from returning the gold. Nick finds himself walking as a spirit while the rest of the world seems to stand still and he is then pulled to limbo in the afterlife, pulled through a whirlpool towards the sky and meets Mildred Proctor – director of the Boston division of the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.). Proctor tells him that RIPD is  an agency that recruits deceased police officers to patrol the afterlife and capture “deados”; spirits that failed to cross over and instead stay on Earth as monsters. Nick is given an offer to serve for the RIPD for a 100 years after which he will be given a final judgement (since right now things are not in his favour) and meets his new partner Roy Pulsipher (Bridges) – a crusty ex-U.S. Marshal who lived in the 1800s and who has not moved on due to his actions.

Nick & Roy return to earth in different avatars – Nick is an elderly Chinese man while Roy is a hot blonde Russian woman – and attend Nick’s funeral where Nick cannot stay away from his wife now grieving widow Julia. However she is upset when he tries to contact her and Bobby has some officers escort him away. Roy & Nick head to a suspect Stanley Nawlicki, who transforms from his avatar into his monster form via cumin powder. There is a scene where Stanley is revolted each time Nick, reading from a set of cards, says the name of an Indian dish (chicken tikka masala, saag paneer etc) which contains cumin. Nawlicki tries to escape, resulting in Roy pushing Nick out of a 20-story building, and is eventually killed by Roy using a soul-killer bullet that erases him from the cosmos. Pieces of gold identical to the ones Nick stole are found in Nawlicki’s possession, and logged into evidence. They then meet with Roy’s informant Elliot who they dupe into naming his contact – Bobby. Nick and Roy follow him to Nick’s old house, where Hayes retrieves Nick’s share of the gold, leading Julia to believe that Nick was corrupt. After a brief confrontation between Roy and Nick over the stolen gold, they tail Hayes to a bus depot where he gives the gold to a large ginger-sideburned deado named Pulaski. Confronted by the detectives Pulaski reverts to his huge, mosterous true form and the chase causes much damage to property and is caught on the news.

Proctor is infuriated and they are suspended and taken off the case by The Eternals (who are in charge of limbo), while Proctor tells them they are likely to be erased. However the two decided to continue investigating and find that the gold pieces are components of the Staff of Jericho, a mystical device that could reverse the tunnel that transports the dead into the afterlife, returning them to Earth.  They then arrest Bobby, who reveals his true form, and take him to RIPD headquarters.  Hayes and some other deados manage to escape by using a device Hayes had smuggled in that slows time for the R.I.P.D. officers, but not the deados. After stealing the components of the Staff of Jericho they return to Earth and set the activation in motion, with Bobby capturing Julia as his hostage. In a showdown Roy & Nick kill off all the deados and finally Bobby but are unable to save Julia who Bobby kills and has her blood used for the sacrifice needed to set the Staff in motion. Although Nick manages to kill Hayes, Julia succumbs to her wounds and she and Nick share a tearful goodbye. But Proctor revives Julia in the hospital and begins recovery, granted a second chance as a favor to Nick. She also reinstates Nick, who is let off with a warning, and Roy, who gets 53 more years added to his already extended time in R.I.P.D. Knowing that Nick is unhappy with his avatar, Roy pulls some strings to give him a new one – much to Nick’s disappointment it turns out to be that of a ten-year-old girl scout.

While I can’t find fault with the story, the end result is a harried, rushed and unconvincing plot that doesn’t get the time it requires to settled in the minds of the audience. Hence – badly performing film gets lots of negative flack from the critics and most of the public. he film has been labeled a box office bomb, with the opening weekend bringing in less than 10% of the film’s $130 million production budget. On a budget of $130 million, the movie made $78.3 in return. It’s not all bad as there are some funny moments but not enough to save this mess. 6 outta 10!

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