Thank heavens for Jeff Bridges! His squinting, six-barrel-slinging, Stetson-wearing frontier marshal is the only thing in this undead cop thriller with a pulse. R.I.P.D., Robert Schwentke’s uninspired mashup of Men in Black, Ghostbusters, and Ghost, had its obituary written by the press long before release, critics everywhere denouncing it as the ninth circle of mindless blockbusters. If the film is not exactly the calamity everyone portended, it’s due solely to Bridges and a sprinkling of some mildly impressive special effects. But as much as the actor tries, and as much as he succeeds to elevate his grizzled, gravely 19th century lawman turned 21st century deceased detective way above the potential and pretense of an inert script, R.I.P.D. showed up in theaters DOA. Its few isolated positives are as noticeable and affecting as a fine summer mist amidst a raging, bludgeoning thunderstorm of bad.
Adapted from Peter M. Lenkov’s Dark Horse comic series by the Clash of the Titans team of Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the movie has character types instead of characters, obvious villains, and sluggish plotting that introduces one tediously predictable element after another: the young honest cop, his adoring, beautiful French wife, and the corrupt partner who talks him into some dirty, risky business that leads to his demise. (As an aside, is it just me or does that stolen “gold” look like shineless spray-painted gravel?)