(An edited version of this was first published in The New Indian Express)
A comic book adaptation without a single redeeming feature. Think about that. How often does that happen? We get scores of comic book films in a year, most high profile, some low key ones but almost all of them have something going for them. There is an action set piece, a bit of humor or a good performance or a great villain. You are definitely entertained. They are not – for the lack of a better word – boring. R.I.P.D that expands to Rest In Peace Department manages to be boring, dull, offensive to your senses and some more. Believe it or not, it has Jeff Bridges.
The eponymous department consists of undead police officers in the other world trying to maintain peace and calm by eradicating Deados – the “bad” dead people who are deformed and managed their way back to earth. A very wooden Mary-Louise Parker acting as the director of Boston division of R.I.P.D guides Nick (Ryan Reynolds) to his new job after he is killed by his old partner in the real world (Kevin Bacon as Hayes). It’s all a heady mix of silly things that absolutely don’t matter. All this had going for it is Jeff Bridges playing a slain Wild West Marshall. But his quips lack the punch and the B-movie feel could have been far better realized. Ryan Reynolds finds himself in another less exciting comic book adaptation. This is his second outing after Green Lantern and this one has possibly turned out worse if that was even possible.
The imagination isn’t all that great either. The R.I.P.D is just another red tape intensive police department with huge rows of desk workers and a file cabinet that stretches to gargantuan heights and opens to an endless length. The transport system between life and afterlife using restrooms is similar to what the Harry Potter world uses to get into Ministry of Magic. What came first? There are some thoughts given to staging like when Nick and Roy follow the gold trail that leads them to Hayes, there is a billboard behind that reads – “Don’t be dead broke”.
The tragic point about this film is that it has The Dude. It is painful to see such a superb actor in a nothing role, given nothing to perform with. But then, The Dude abides. Oh dear why? This one is still a colossal mess.