On paper, R.I.P.D. had a ton of potential, and could have easily launched a multi-film series had the first installment not been a complete dud. A gunslinging lawman from the Old West is forced to team up with a freshly deceased cop at the titular Rest in Peace Department to thwart a villainous plot that could bring about the end of the world, which sounds like a whole lot of fun.
There’s action, sci-fi and buddy movie elements, not to mention the fact that it was a comic book adaptation, so it also fit the bill as being part of Hollywood’s favorite genre. However, despite the best efforts of leads Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, with the former in particular clearly having a ball chewing on the scenery, everything that surrounds them lets R.I.P.D. down.
Robert Schwentke’s direction is flat and workmanlike, and the script is about as solid as you’d expect from the duo behind Jackie Chan’s panned family comedy The Tuxedo and Charlize Theron’s awful Aeon Flux, while the effects are frequently unconvincing and it all devolves into standard blue sky beam stuff by the time the third act rolls around.
R.I.P.D. went down in the history books as one of the 21st Century’s biggest box office bombs after earning less than $80 million on a $130 million budget, with promotional and marketing costs pushing the total outlay up towards the $175 million mark. Critics and viewers weren’t impressed, either, and it holds a 13% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with audiences rating it at a much higher but still not great 38%.
However, R.I.P.D. certainly has its fans, which has been proven by the fact that it’s been comfortably nestled in the Netflix Top 10 most-watched list all week now.