MRR Review: "R.I.P.D."

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Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds headline this supernatural action crime comedy about a recently slain cop who joins a team of undead police officers in an effort to find the man who murdered him. Based on the comic Rest In Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov, the film is directed by Robert Schwentke and stars Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker in supporting roles.
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Movie Review: "R.I.P.D."

Rating: PG-13 (Violence, language)

Length: 96 minutes 

Release date: July 19, 2013

Directed by: Robert Schwentke

Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime

 

"R.I.P.D." is an action comedy about two police officers who protect the land of the living from the world of the dead. "R.I.P.D." stands for the Rest in Peace Department, an organization that helps undead creatures move on to the afterlife. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as two R.I.P.D. agents. Bridges plays Roy, a long-time agent whose unorthodox methods have gotten him into his fair share of trouble. Reynolds plays Nick, a young and talented detective from the Boston Police Department. When Nick is killed on a routine drug bust gone awry, he finds himself with a tough choice to make. He can either face an uncertain fate in the afterlife or serve the R.I.P.D. for 100 years and receive certain reward.

The main action of the film starts when Nick chooses to become an agent for the R.I.P.D. Nick and Roy are assigned as partners, and the two officers form a tentative relationship. Roy is pessimistic and jaded after so many years on the force, while Nick is still young and optimistic. Naturally, the two contrasting personalities rub against one another in the beginning. Mary-Louise Parker plays Proctor, a buttoned-up senior agent for the R.I.P.D., who trades sarcastic jabs with Roy on a regular basis. Proctor is tough and witty, and Nick's fate in the afterlife depends solely on her recommendation.

The agents of the R.I.P.D. protect the human world by masquerading as living people even though they happen to be dead. Their human avatars are generally unassuming to avoid attracting the attention of human civilians. Unfortunately, the otherworldly beings the R.I.P.D. is charged with helping along into the afterlife have also taken on human avatars. Like wolves in sheep's clothing, these beings prey on the souls of the living and must be stopped at all costs. Even more is on the line when a menacing threat arises from the underworld, threatening to destroy the world of the living as we know it. Roy and Nick find themselves thrown into the middle of the conflict, solely responsible for saving the world from complete destruction. 

"R.I.P.D." features a truly innovative storyline. While the film contains elements reminiscent of "Die Hard" and "Men in Black," it also brings its own completely unique story to the screen. "R.I.P.D." turns the buddy-cop genre on its head by adding a supernatural twist. Nick goes from fighting drug dealers, mobsters, and other mortal foes to battling supernatural entities with various abilities beyond his wildest imagination. The dynamic between Roy and Nick adds even more depth to the story, particularly since their backgrounds are so different. Roy has always straddled both sides of the law and made moral concessions to get the job done. Nick was a good police officer on his way to the top, but he still doesn't trust his character enough to be certain of his judgment in the afterlife. The partners eventually learn a lot from one another, once they manage to learn how to work together.

"R.I.P.D." excels in visual storytelling as well as character development. Loaded with fast-paced action sequences and thrilling special effects, audiences are easily immersed in the film's supernatural world. The viewer's perspective constantly switches from what living people are seeing to what the supernatural R.I.P.D. agents see. A beautiful woman may really be a demon in disguise, as Nick soon finds out. The process that R.I.P.D. agents use to subdue these otherworldly beings and send them to the afterlife where they belong is a unique twist. Visually speaking, "R.I.P.D." often feels like a blend of "Ghostbusters" and "Men in Black," with wild graphic effects that make the film's undead characters come alive and over-the-top fight scenes full of enjoyable camp and suspense. 

"R.I.P.D." is a fast-paced action comedy that is sure to please fans of the buddy-cop and supernatural-action genres. The film casts classic tropes in a whole new light and uses them to create a universe that is somehow both familiar and unique. Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges have great chemistry as the main crime-fighting duo of the film, and the characters strike just the right balance between zany and relatable. The visuals of the film are stunning and larger than life at times, with just the right amount of CGI to keep things interesting and communicate the idea of the real world merging with the afterlife. With plenty of action, special effects, and a compelling storyline, "R.I.P.D." is one summer blockbuster that more than lives up to its hype. 

Rating: 3 out of 5