RIPD Should Rest in Peace

RIPD poster

Though RIPD is a big budget film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker and Kevin Bacon, the movie is a confusing mish-mash that never manages to make much sense. First, the overall premise is an unapologetic rip-off of Men in Black, just substitute aliens for ghosts. In the movie’s universe, recently deceased police officers are offered a position in the Rest In Peace Division. (R.I.P.D. – get it? Unfortunately, the humor of the entire movie is about this level). They hunt down Dead-O’s, ghosts who refuse to go to the afterlife. These undead are corrupting and killing the earth. Even worse, a Dead-O conspiracy is afoot to bring all the dead back to the planet, which would end life as we know it. How do ghosts come back? Why do some ghosts remain and others move on? Where is God in all of this? These questions are either poorly or never answered, making it so the plot confuses or insults the viewer’s intelligence the more one thinks about it. From a faith perspective, there IS an interesting moment where Ryan Reynolds approaches “judgment” to answer for the wrong he did in life. This very Christian look at the afterlife in today’s media is refreshing. However, it gets immediately undercut by the fact that the filmmakers refuse to mention heaven, hell, or even God, and refer to whoever is running things as “Up There” or “The Universe”. This lack of commitment, in my opinion, is what kills this movie (pun intended). Ultimately, it’s not funny enough for a comedy, it’s not exciting enough to be an action film, and it lacks the gumption to have a real theme (see Looper if you want a Sci-Fi film that means something). For these reasons RIPD is largely DOA.