mon 04/03/2024

RIPD | reviews, news & interviews



Body-swap buddy-cop apocalypse caper adapted from graphic novel

Celestial lawmen Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds keep the peace

Sometimes, a little bit of everything amounts to a whole lot of nothing. RIPD features a standard buddy cop caper bolted on to a heaven-can-wait drama channelling a body swap comedy also starring a CGI cartoon element. There’s even a heavy dollop of the old Wild West and a splodge of Armageddon alarmism. You get a grab-bag of half a dozen film styles jostling for attention. It must be like this teaching a classful of needy reception kids with ADD.

Hey, that’s the referential world of comics for you. RIPD is the latest graphic novel to move from the two dimensions of the page to the, er, two dimensions of the screen. No matter that this is in 3D. Previous outings from the same stable at Dark Horse include The Mask and the Hellboy films.

RIPD stands for Rest In Peace Department. Boston cop Nick (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself recruited after being shot at a drugs bust by his corrupt partner (Kevin Bacon, inevitably). He is whisked up to the great cupola in the sky almost exactly like one of those twats in This Is the End and greeted by a wry celestial receptionist (Mary-Louise Parker). She offers a choice: take his chances at the doors marked heaven or hell, or sign up to a police force which goes back to earth to terminate some dead people furtively who have evaded the grim reaper’s clutches. As Nick has kept back a little gold bullion for himself after a recent bust, plus he’s never said goodbye to his wholesome young bride (Stephanie Szostak), he signs up.

He’s soon pardnering, as is the way with these things, an ornery old individual who hails from the 1860s. As Roy, Jeff Bridges has all the fun going as he channels the ghost of Clint and Lee Van Cleef and a host of mean big-screen outlaws. To ratchet up the comedy, they appear to Boston's earthlings as a foxy bottle blonde in heels and an elderly Chinaman. Roy is not the Chinaman. Meanwhile, the deados they chase down reveal their true form when brought into contact with cumin, for some reason, morphing into giant clumping animations. It soon turns out that the bullion Nick nicked is not just any old gold. It forms part of a giant portal which once assembled – by Kevin Bacon, inevitably – will summon all the damned back to earth.

So, a lot to be going on with, and at the same time, vanishingly little. RIPD has no idea whether it wants to be out-and-out tongue-in-cheek or suggest the presence of a beating heart. Whenever Bridges and Parker are on screen, it's heading in only one direction. But the charisma void that is Ryan Reynolds couldn’t sell a joke at gunpoint, while the entertainment potential of the body swap gag is barely bothered with. The director is Robert Schwentke, who also brought you RED and The Time Traveller’s Wife. Only 12-year-olds and Jeff Bridges completists need attend.

Overleaf: watch the trailer to RIPD

RIPD has no idea whether it wants to be out-and-out tongue-in-cheek or suggest the presence of a beating heart


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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