Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Recruited by the R.I.P.D., a resurrected sheriff returns to Earth to save humanity from a gateway to hell.
Review: R.I.P.D 2 is the latest example of what I like to call the “what were they thinking” prequel. The first movie starred Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges and was based off the comics of the same name, but looked and felt more like a rip-off of the Men in Black movies and wasn’t what anyone would call a hit, so why would they bother with another one? Still, it starred Jeffrey Donovan who I loved in the television series Burn Notice so I figured I would give it a shot. And let’s just say that’s an hour plus of my life I’ll never get back.
Following a similar premise of its predecessor, R.I.P.D. 2 is set in 1876 and follows a freshly dead sheriff who was shot in the back by a gang of outlaws and finds himself given a second chance of sorts when he’s recruited by the Rest in Peace Department. Teaming up with a veteran ghostbuster—sorry that should be Deado-buster—named Jeanne (who’s true identity most will figure out in the first ten minutes of meeting her) Roy (Donovan) returns to Earth with the hope of getting revenge on the man who killed him.
Now for those of you wondering how this prequel connects with the “first” movie, the character of Roy is meant to be the same character that was portrayed by the charismatic Jeff Bridges. He was definitely one of the few shining points of R.I.P.D and while I think Donovan is capable in the role, he lacks the swagger needed to play Roy and I can’t help but think someone like Timothy Olyphant (Justified) would’ve been a much better fit (sorry Jeffrey!).
Fans of the first movie will also be aware of the plot device where humans don’t see the dead as they actually are but instead as other people. This time around the roles of Avatar Roy is played by Rachel Adedeji and Avatar Jeanne is Evelyne Oyedokun. Now this could’ve been amazing considering these are two African American women and the setting is 1876, but the story only touches on this in the lightest of ways and you could tell they were afraid to go further with it. I mean I wasn’t expecting Blazing Saddles but it would’ve been nice to see some actual comedy instead of this safe for consumption PG-13 nonsense. And based on the performances from both actresses I think they could’ve more than handled the material. It was a wasted opportunity if you ask me.
This prequel also didn’t have the budget for any jaw dropping effects, so unlike the first movie with its-over the-top action sequences, we’re left with scenes that felt made for basic cable (not even streaming services folks). And the overall story itself was instantly forgettable, as in I couldn’t tell you what it was all about and I just watched the movie a week ago!
R.I.P.D. 2 may appeal to fans of the original material, although I don’t personally know of any. And I guess I give them points for having the moxie to make another one considering the first didn’t even make back half of its budget, but I would be lying if I said it was worth watching.
Who knows, maybe another ten years down the road they might attempt it again, but personally I think these comics would make for a better television series than films because at the rate the quality of these underwhelming stories keep going, they’ll have to drop the “D” in their title and just call it a day.
Score: 4 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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