Bob Balaban's dark comic horror about a young boy suspecting his suburban parents to be cannibals
On Film4: 7 Dec 12:40AM
Shot dead during a routine drug bust, a Boston detective (Ryan Reynolds) is recruited by the ghostly Rest In Peace Department and partnered with a grouchy 19th century sheriff (Jeff Bridges).
Developed from writer Peter M. Lenkov and penciller Lucas Marangon's Dark Horse comic-book series and chock-full of references to buddy cop movies (48 Hrs., Lethal Weapon) and previous supernatural comedies (Men in Black, Ghostbusters), Red director Robert Schwentke's muddled action-comedy/3D spectacle achieves a level of tonal inconsistency that defies belief. Interviewed in a celestial office by the officious, ultra-sarcastic Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker), a woman wearing a 60s mod outfit and plastic kinky boots, recently deceased Boston cop Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) hears Steely Dan's 1990 track Hey Nineteen playing quietly in the background. Like Reynolds' disorientated character, you might be wondering, “What's with the Steely Dan thing?” That is, if you're old enough to remember the sophisticated jazz-pop duo, which most of the audience for a 12A-rated film are unlikely to be.
Peculiar choices like these are what make Schwentke's comic-book adaptation such a frustrating mess, although it's not a film bereft of ideas. Perhaps, given the script's lengthy gestation, it has retained too many random elements from earlier iterations. Jeff Bridges, as a belligerent old coot with an old timer's sense of justice, and Reynolds, as his pissed off 'rookie' partner, have some fun with the antagonistic banter. The over-complicated plot, on the other hand, gets bogged down with some dull stuff about the undead cops' efforts to stop the bad guy Deados (souls reluctant to pass on to the other side who inhabit stinking human bodies) from opening up a portal that will allow myriad dead folks to return and take over the Earth. Not to mention an awkwardly handled Ghost-style romance between Reynolds' dead cop and his grieving wife, Julia (Stephanie Szostak), a necrophiliac love affair hampered by the fact that Nick's earthly avatar makes him look like an old Chinese guy (played by 84-year-old James Hong).
Thanks to Alwin (Sunshine) Küchler's classy 3D cinematography the film looks a lot better than it sounds, but none of the Deado monsters is interesting enough to hold our attention, so we're left with a sub-plot about Walker's double-crossing ex-partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) and some random, CGI-tastic set-pieces that go nowhere. This is all made doubly frustrating by some neat touches that hint at what might have been: the R.I.P.D.'s HQ is hidden behind a VCR repair shop and the interrogation of suspected undercover Deados involves the use of surreal stock questions about spicy Indian food. If there had been more of this kind of thing, this might have been a tent-pole movie less ordinary.
A patchy attempt to wrangle quirky, other-worldly comic-book mythology into a mainstream 3D blockbuster format, but one which lacks the oddball imagination to pull it off.
The follow-up to the UK¿s most successful comedy film of all time reunites the hapless Jay, Neil, Simon & Will in Australia. The Inbetweeners Movie 2 will start shooting in Australia on 7th Decemb
Film4 correspondent Simran Hans reports from the Underwire Festival, an annual celebration of short films by women... Underwire Festival (19-23 November) has just had its fourth birthday. Developed i
Film4.com looks over the best chases, fights, shootouts and stunts to grace the big screen and pick the 25 greatest ever action movie sequences.
Film4.com's pick of the best films that have made that toughest of transitions: from comic book page to the big screen
@Film4 Thanks for playing #AdventTrivia, folks! Coming up nowish, some brilliantly spooky horror villains in our 9pm premiere of Insidious.
@Film4 Ok - the villains are as follows: a) Michael Myers - Halloween b) Pamela Voorhees - Friday 13th c) Jigsaw - Saw d) Mark Lewis - Peeping Tom.
@Film4 Ok, we've had correct answers for all four of our horror villains now... answers in a moment. Can you bear to wait? #AdventTrivia
@Film4 Clue d): Mark Lewis is so far stumping a few of you... he appears in a film that effectively ended the career of a UK director in 1960.
@Film4 Clue c) Jigsaw, appears in a successful horror franchise also starring Billy the Puppet. #advent