It hardly seems possible that a big-budget action movie based on a comic book, starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, would sneak into theaters under the radar. But that's the case with director Robert Schwentke's supernatural flick "R.I.P.D."
Bridges and Reynolds play a pair of dead cops recruited by Higher Powers to track down also-deceased bad guys who've managed to stick around Earth instead of facing Judgement Day. The duo discovers a bigger, more sinister plot by several "deados" to take over the world.
Of course, a lack of marketing and early reviews usually indicate a movie is bad news. So, is "R.I.P.D." D.O.A.? Read on to find out.
1. "R.I.P.D." = "Men in Black" + "Ghostbusters" + "Cowboys vs. Aliens"
Based on a comic book by Peter M. Lenkov, "R.I.P.D." is going for that blend of action, humor, and special effects that made "Men in Black" and "Ghostbusters" hits in their days. Just for good measure, the movie throws in Bridges's cowboy character, too.
2. Jeff Bridges Is Always Entertaining
If Roysephus Pulsipher seems familiar to you, it's because his mannerisms and accent are very similar to another Bridges lawman, Rooster Cogburn in "True Grit." Roy is a grizzled, ornery, "I don't play by the books" rebel like Rooster -- just without the eye patch (and the hat, for most of the movie). Bridges is one of those actors who's always interesting to watch.
3. You Will Laugh Out Loud
The script has some clever moments that made us chuckle -- particularly little touches like a Steely Dan reference and the need for a VCR repair shop. Bridges and Reynolds banter well together, with the latter's Nick Walker displaying the deadpan humor we saw in "The Proposal."
4. Jeff Bridges Is a Hot Blonde Woman
One of the best gags in the movie is what Roy and Nick look like to living humans -- Roy is a busty blonde babe, while Nick is an elderly Chinese man. When a guy tries to hit on Roy, the cop dresses him down like only an Old West cowboy can.
5. More Mary-Louise Parker, Please!
Parker's drily funny police boss Mildred Proctor is an enjoyable surprise. She crackles on-screen, and steals quite a few scenes from Reynolds and Bridges. We're not sure why she doesn't do more movies, since she was also great in "Red."
6. The Special Effects Are Nifty -- Particularly in 3D
The movie opens and closes with eye-popping set pieces that jump off the screen thanks to 3D. In between, the deados' transformations are all very cool to watch. The final battle features some nifty (and humorous) action sequences, including a car chase where cars come at the cops from all directions.
7. The Story Is Very, Very Silly
The ridiculous premise involves portals, artifacts, and dead people who don't like Indian food. Look, this movie isn't going to blow your mind, but it can be entertaining as long you don't think about it too much.
8. Jeff Bridges Sings!
We all know from "Crazy Heart" that Bridges can really croon, and his lawman Roy sings a little ditty about his death. He reprises it during the end credits, so make sure to stick around for that treat.
8. Let's Give a Hand to the Casting Director
With so little known about "R.I.P.D." going in, it was a pleasure to see faces like Kevin Bacon, Robert Knepper, and Mike O'Malley pop up. Bacon really makes a great, smarmy bad guy, while Knepper has been a creepy fave since his days on "Prison Break."
9. The Love Story Is Light
"R.I.P.D." doesn't try to cram in too much romance, focusing mostly on the action. Nick Walker has a gorgeous wife (Stephanie Szostak), but they can't be together since, well, he's dead and looks like an old Chinese guy -- very "Dead Like Me." Bridges and Parker have a snappy flirtation, and she does something to him at the end of the movie that just killed us. Two words: Billy goat.
10. It's a Short Movie
Don't know about you, but we're a little tired of nearly three-hour-long movies. "R.I.P.D." clocks in at a breezy 96 minutes. You won't even need a bathroom break!