-----------------A NO-SPOILER REVIEW ZONE. -------------------
Absolute fun riot stuffed full of both easy jokey lines and deliciously twisty, weird semi-demi-philosophical banter that I could not get enough of! Nearly non-stop *big* action and real-enough paranormal effects...plus outrageous, terrific acting by Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon. By 2013 I'd pretty much had my fill of Zombie movies, and this was a fun, genius take on other possibilities for dead dudes. And dudesses.
The bizarro rules of RIPD's universe of (sort-of) resurrected cowboy lawmen, corrupt cops, invading "Dead -Ohs", and the comically efficient bureaucrats of some Eternal Mystery Management Team/ God/s actually had enough logic to anchor the ongoing outrageous action sequences, side stories... and Looming Cosmic Battle. I watch this movie every Christmas/Hannukah just to keep the Holiday drama in perspective.
And nope, it certainly is *not* a repeat of GHOST BUSTERS, as a couple of critics said back in 2013. They had clearly forgotten GB to come up with that. My take on the panning of the film was that RIPD was so outrageously different in its paranormal horror, thriller, comedy mashupness, that many critics were too lazy to abandon their rubber stamp classification routine. RIPD --like Jeff Bridges' other great dark comedy hit THE GREAT LEBOWSKI-- violates simple categories.
I can see how this film might send a little DID I JUST SEE THAT??!!! shock up the spines of both absolute atheists and fundamentalist Christians. I think that's a good thing. And it's why I suspect there was some boycotting of RIPD.
AND THEN THERE'S THIS DEPT.: Jeff Bridges' resurrected cowboy lawman has genius and often showstopper lines; he carries the movie. It's because of the accuracy of the 1870s cowboy lawman lingo --more wordy in the kind of near-Biblical way of speaking, kind of Mark Twain, that I think it's hard to catch the jokes-within-jokes and multiple irony going on. Back in the day, many Americans living on farms and ranches learned to read from the King James vers. of the Bible. You can see it in newspapers from that era, as well. They didn't talk like comic book and vid game characters then, so R.I.P.D. has some historical accuracy built into this rich, character. The aging lawman also has a bit of kink going on with his supervisor...which spiced up the cop-buddy film aspects to keep it interesting on a whole other level.
Don't miss RIPD. It was great action + hilarious writing + some of the best pacing in any film, make that any kind of film, ever.
SIDE NOTE FOR EDUCATORS: If you teach philosophy, religion, or film, I'm betting you'd generate great discussions by screening or assigning RIPD for your class.