Friday, 27 September 2013
96 Minutes. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, Marisa Miller & Robert Knepper. Director: Robert Schwentke.
Some films are so bad...they are actually good. In a comic-book, sci-fi fans, fantasy dream movie year that has seen box-office flops like the Smith family spaced out affair 'After Earth' and Johnny Depp's Tonto ride with Armie Hammer's 'Lone Ranger' turn out to actually be decent movies anything that has R.I.P engraved on it critically can still score more than a D for effort. This Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds comic-book, sci-fi fantasy is the perfect film to be lost in all the science fiction and comic heroes that have turned a page this year, but it's also the perfect nonsense film that doesn't take itself very seriously in a brilliant but bleak year of comic-book, science-fiction films that if they don't have the word 'Dark' in the title they are named things like 'Oblivion' or 'World War Z'. Sheesh! This is no guilty pleasure, but actually a bit of fun for your Friday to give you a break from all of those end of the world, apocalypse scenarios...although they are fun...and there is some of that here too. In a film that would have been embraced with open arms in decades gone 'R.I.P.D' should find itself welcome with the likes of 'Men In Black and 'Ghostbusters' (there's even some 80's 'Footloose' meets 'Beetlejuice' for your entertainment). Still it's not aliens or spooks that Bridges and Reynolds A.D.cops have to deal with...but the dead.
Yep...zombies again...technically. More like the dead walking the earth instead of facing their judgement day like Arnie in 1992. Still, this time the undead theme is funner and fresher. Besides when it comes to these two cops they 'aint afraid of no ghosts or the worst scum of the universe. Leading this picture with a 'True Grit' stetson and a 'Django', Waltz twirl of a moustache is the dude and the legend that is Jeff Bridges. No, this film doesn't stand for 'Rest In Peace Dude', but 'Rest In Peace Department', please abide. Still, the alive talent of Jeff bridges the gap between this film being good and bad. Tieing this film together like a Lebowski rug, the man of the year plays this wild west lawman in the modern day perfectly to the tip of his hat. Funny, favourable and above all him, Bridges yet again proves he's the man, drawling and drawing his way to being this films top gun like T.C. Originally Zach Galifianakis was offered this role, but that would have been one bad hangover when compared to the great cowboy actor that is the crazy heart of the mumbling and grumbling Bridges. Doing his thing the Sinatra way his classic charisma is only charmed more by one thing.
That's his chemistry with co-star Ryan Reynolds. As these two dead cops get a new lease of life tracking down other 'deado' dudes with 'MIB' guns and chicken tikka masala (yep, that's right, just wait until you see it in Bridges beard), Reynolds trademark comedian sarcasm is the perfect plate for Jeff's insanse game that he serves up. Droll and dry as ever Reynolds goes back and forth with the one-liners in this buddy dead cop film that breathes some life back into that two men in a police car genre. With action smarts and the look and cocksure confidence of a young cop this is the perfect partnership. Still, dead cops can't just patrol around earth like they own the place without some undercover. That's where their avatar disguises come into play making for some hilarious new identites in the form of supermodel Marisa Miller and 'Waynes World' legend James Hong, undubbed and with a banana. One of the films funniest moments may have been spoiled in the trailer, but there's plenty more stupid laughs, great, grand graphics and amazing action and sensational set pieces to dig up here. Just think this is one of the biggest flops of the year that everyones wrote off and left for dead. Sure it's far rom the best film of this great year but it's also quite a distance from the worst.
That's thanks to a cast of bodies that keep this film away from the grave. From rising talent Mary-Louise Parker who after earning her 'Red' stripes, beat out Jodie Foster for this role to Stephanie Szostak who has been steadily building her impressive movie resume over the years ('Dinner for Schmucks, 'We Bought a Zoo' and this years 'Iron Man 3'). For T.V. fans there's also Kurt's dad from 'Glee' (or Mike O'Malley as he's known to the goverment) and still the best thing to happen to new milleniuum television drama and 'Prison Break' , in the ever slick and sick Robert Knepper. If that wasn't enough then it's also great (albeit weird) to see Kevin Bacon rolling in a film these days, instead of commercially before it...but we do miss those Bacon's, especially 'Apollo 13' Bacon. Also the beautiful backdrop of a brilliant captured Boston in the Summer does for this film what it did for 'What's Your Number' and countless Affleck and Damon flicks. Altogether a great cast, fun action and silly jokes that dont take itself so seriously save this film from being a stinking disaster. Sure a film where investigations are carried out with Indian food isn't going to be one that curries favour with everyone. Still, as promising as it is peculiar you're always going to have fun when one of the films subplots has Jeff Bridges mourning the loss of his hat, whilst seranading us all with an accordion. Dude, you know that could save anything from being a travesty. Try not to tense up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.