Apoc­a­lypse again? R.I.P.D. ar­rives DOA

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Ran­dall King

IN this comic-book adap­ta­tion, a young cop has his eyes opened to a bizarre, hith­erto un­seen re­al­ity when he is in­vited to join a strange se­cret agency and is paired with a terse, cranky, older law en­forcer who shows him how to deal with the weird, oth­er­worldly crea­tures who walk our world in se­cret.

The above de­scrip­tion ap­plies to di­rec­tor Robert Sch­wen­tke’s R.I.P.D., yes, but in case you’re im­pressed with the orig­i­nal­ity of its con­cept, know that it also ap­plies equally to the 1997 sci-fi com­edy Men in Black.

To avoid out­right ac­cu­sa­tions of pla­gia­rism, R.I.P.D. spins off from a re­li­gious premise in­stead of a science-fic­tion one. Its young cop char­ac­ter, Nick (Ryan Reynolds), is killed in ac­tion dur­ing the take­down of a drug king­pin. In­stead of go­ing to heaven or hell, the mildly cor­rupt Nick ends up at R.I.P.D., a kind of spe­cial­ized pur­ga­tory for dead po­lice of­fi­cers, tasked with cap­tur­ing “dea­dos,” that is: dead peo­ple who con­tinue to in­habit the earth in dis­guise as still-liv­ing hu­mans. (One of the ways dea­dos Star­ring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds Grant Park, Kil­do­nan Place, McGil­livray, Polo Park, Towne PG 96 min­utes

out of five re­veal them­selves is a re­vul­sion to In­dian food. Go fig­ure.)

Nick is part­nered with Roy (Jeff Bridges), once a sher­iff of the Old West who takes it upon him­self to grudg­ingly ed­u­cate the rookie Nick with the pro­ce­dures of the R.I.P.D.

But Nick has some un­fin­ished busi­ness of his own to han­dle, in­clud­ing a proper farewell to his wife Ju­lia (Stephanie Szostak) and a reck­on­ing with Hayes (Kevin Ba­con), the cop part­ner who be­trayed him.

Un­for­tu­nately, in his new in­car­na­tion, Nick ap- pears to reg­u­lar hu­mans as an “old Chi­nese guy” (James Hong) while Roy looks like a sexy Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret model (played by sexy Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret model Melissa Miller).

Along the way, Nick be­comes aware of a mys­te­ri­ous deado plot that in­volves the assem­bly of var­i­ous solid gold chunks for un­doubt­edly ne­far­i­ous pur­pose.

Scripted by Phil Hay and Matt Man­fredi ( Clash of the Ti­tans), this is silly stuff. As far as vis­ual ef­fects go, in ad­di­tion to a num­ber of grue­some-look­ing mu­tant dea­dos, there is a bat­tery of end-of-the-world style de­struc­tion, an oblig­a­tory facet to sum­mer films, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer of 2013. In R.I.P.D., it is of­fi­cially get­ting old. Of course, Jeff Bridges is also get­ting old, but he of­fers up some re­deem­ing hu­mour to this masala of ac­tion, com­edy and supernatural hooey. Roy’s haunted mem­o­ries of his own earthly fate (in­volv­ing coy­otes) con­sti­tute the film’s sole ex­am­ple of orig­i­nal­ity — and one good laugh — in what is oth­er­wise a re­tread of the same old sum­mer movie: Apoc­a­lypse Again.

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