“Okay, get this,” said the team of writers. “There’s this comic book out there.”
“Another comic book movie?” said the rich executive. He was smoking a cigar, even though it was illegal to smoke indoors. But screw the rules, he had money!
“No, but this is awesome. See, the comic book is about these two cops…”
“A buddy cop comic book?”
“But they’re dead, right? One is a Boston cop and the other is a marshal from the old West.”
“A zombie buddy cop comic book?”
“And they have to go around, saving living people from undead escapees from hell.”
“It’s their way of earning their way into heaven, which is completely theologically inaccurate, but…”
“No, no forget the theology, no one likes theology.”
“Also, there’s this Lovecraftian scheme to cause the Apocalypse, and it’s kind of taken from some kind of Middle Eastern mythology too, and the undead escapees show their true forms if you give them curry, and...”
“I have one thing to say.” The executive chewed on his cigar, because he heard it made you look intimidating. It didn’t, and he spit out tobacco in disgust before going on.
“MAKE. THIS. MOVIE.”
There ya have it, folks! R.I.P.D. Rest In Peace Department, where Jeff Bridges is a cowboy, Ryan Reynolds is in a permanent state of dull surprise, and everyone else chews the scenery so thoroughly that by the end of the movie there’s little scenery left.
And yet, I love this movie so much. It’s like a giant double shot mocha. You know it’s bad for you, but it’s so chocolatey, and has so much energy, that you can’t resist.
It’s not trying to be a deep movie. It’s not trying to be serious. It’s fun.
Ryan Reynolds plays Nick, a Boston cop who nicked some valuable gold from a crime scene along with his partner. However, his conscience getting to him, he wants out. His partner does what anyone would, and shoots him. Nick is promptly shoved into the Heavenly Bureaucracy, because if there’s one thing we want in our afterlife, it’s bureaucracy. (Is this kind of like the Greeks making their gods as screwed up as humans? Just go with what you know?) He is given a chance to redeem himself and earn his way into heaven (again, not heavy on theology here) by joining the R.I.P.D., the celestial police force that catches souls that try to escape their eternal burny fate by living amongst mortals as, well, basically zombies in disguise. Nick is paired up with former old West marshal Roy (Roicephus-it was considered a very sexy name in the 1800’s!) Pulsipher, played by a mumbling Jeff Bridges whose antics keep adding years to his time on the force.
Roy tries to show Nick the ropes, but Nick discovers that one of the “Deados” has some of the gold that he and his partner had found before. They start uncovering an Evil PlanTM to cause the flow of souls to the afterlife to reverse, and must find a way to stop it, because this is a universe where heaven is a bureaucracy.
This is a fun, silly movie. It works strangely well even though the premise is so insane, probably because all comic books have insane premises. It worked quite well that nearly everyone else was a large ham while Ryan Reynolds remained deadpan. He was the audience surrogate, the “normal” person thrust into this bizarre world. For a movie about two undead cops chasing down souls from Hell, it’s quite funny and energetic. By all means, watch it.