Dead in the Water
RIPD jumps straight into an action, opening with two guys chasing a fat blob monster through a city. Itís one of those pointless flash forward openings that serve no function in a movie except to assure the audience that there will be action later on (as though we ever needed that reassurance). Shortly after, we are introduced to the hero, who dies, ends up working in a police department that guards the afterlife, is given a wacky cowboy partner, and is sent on his first mission to chase down "Deados" (fat mutant ghosts). This all happens within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. RIPD is a not good attempt to recycle the Men in Black franchise. Much like the sequels to that perfectly decent first movie, RIPD fundamentally does not understand what it was that made the original Men in Black so good. It thinks it can just borrow the themes, visuals and the abbreviations without achieving any of the more important things, like a coherent story or characters who matter. Take the beginnings of the two movies, for example; MIB takes a good long time to work up towards its sci-fi buddy cop premise. By the time J and K are on their first job, we know exactly who the characters are, what is going on, and why we should care about them. MIB is a confident, competent movie that eases you into its story, so you donít feel alienated (har har) by a lot of the weird shit going on. Even the weird shit is thought out well enough to have relatable analogues Ė like the metaphor of aliens as illegal immigrants, or the references to Cold war paranoia and shady government agents. RIPD on the other hand just peppers the viewer with crazy, stupid stuff. The villainous Deados can only be killed by head shots, can only be summoned with spicy food, and have some vague ambition of stopping people getting into Heaven. Also, the heroes return to earth, disguised as a supermodel and a pensioner. Did I mention these characters have no real back story, discernible character traits or a reason for us to care about them? Itís like they jumped straight to the second act and hoped the Rule of Funny would solve everything. In the end it is an incompetent, puerile movie which squanders big name actors on fat, fart and boobie jokes. It is not long for this World.