R.I.P.D: RISE OF THE DAMNED
Here we go again with yet another spicy bit of entertainment news. From the well known but not to love movie R.I.P.D released in 2013 by universal studio starring Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker and Jeff Bridges as Old Roy Pulsipher.
As the name applies, R.I.P.D: Rest In Peace Department, in the afterlife, Nick Walker, a detective who used to work for the Boston Police Department, is hired by a director of a group of deceased police officers to fight against the renegade ghosts also known as the damned.
While it was very thrilling and a lot of people found it interesting, it performed poorly with numbers, R.I.P.D. was tracking poorly and Universal knew they had a complete creative misfire on their hands and reduced the marketing spend to cushion the blow.
Speaking about the movie, Jeff Bridges was quoted as saying “I was a little underwhelmed.” Indeed. Critics reviewed it as Overall, a directionless mess: too expensive for a B-movie, too grown-up for a kids’ movie (funerals, bereavement and jokes about Steely Dan) and too infantile for everyone else. Adding insult to injury was the box-office report; Robert Schwentke’s action-comedy cost Universal $130 million and failed to break even.
The studio had been quiet ever since then on anything concerning the movie, but fast forward to 2022. The RIPD surprise spinoff RIPD: Rise of the Damned directed by Paul Leyden is available on DVD/Blu-ray as well as for Digital rental and purchase starting on November 15.
This spinoff is meant to serve both as a prequel and a reboot. Like in the first movie, R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned follows the otherworldly misadventures of two officers from the Rest in Peace Department. The most remarkable change here, however, is the setting.
While Bridges and Ryan Reynolds’ characters wrangled escaped souls in modern Boston, Jeffrey Donovan and Penelope Mitchell are chasing Deados in the wild, wild west circa 1876. We get to see the death of Roy Pulsipher and how he was first introduced to the R.I.P.D long before he meets Nick Walker in the RIPD movie.
The team behind the surprise spinoff R.I.P.D 2: Rise Of the Damned understands a cardinal rule of prequels: They should stand on their own, rather than endlessly calling back to the film that spawned them. That’s the only way to avoid making a film that primarily speaks to the most dedicated fans.
Rise Of the Damned’s creators most likely understand this because the original R.I.P.D doesn’t have any fans. Enough time has passed since its unheralded 2013 release that it may not be more than a dim memory for anyone on Earth. (It’s currently streaming on HBO Max, for the curious and/or understandably forgetful.)
This is an origin story of sorts for Roy — though it’s easy to forget it’s the same character, because lead actor Jeffrey Donovan, star of Burn Notice, makes no effort to imitate Bridges’ cottony, tobacco-stained drawl, or fake a 19th-century cowboy affect at all, really.
Where Old Roy was a gunslinger out of a Saturday-morning cartoon, Young Roy is more the type you’d find in a local TV ad during that cartoon’s commercial breaks. Donovan seems only momentarily committed to the part.
(It’s entirely possible that, like most people, he has not seen the original RIPD). All this said, I’ll leave you to have the final judgement on your take on the movie.