Movie Review: R.I.P.D.

R.I.P.D.

Movie review time!  We went to see R.I.P.D. last night.  Now, if you want absolutely no spoilers, I would skip this one for now.  If you don’t mind the basic spoilers that were in the trailers, then you should be OK until the end.  Part of the review will spoil the ending, but that bit will be marked off with a giant warning.

In general, I really enjoyed the movie.  It was well-paced, and the quips between Ryan Reynolds, and Jeff Bridges were great.  Jeff Bridges sometimes being an extremely attractive super model made for some really good jokes.

(Now the smooth transition into my feminist critique)  Not only were those jokes good, but they tended to be lady friendly!  Yes, there was quite a bit of ogling of this woman, but it was clearly a failure on the part of the oglers.  Their distraction was a weakness in them, and did not seem to reflect negatively on the woman at all.  Of course, the dramatic irony that Jeff Bridges is actually that woman may influence  that perception.  Either way, there is one brilliant part (spoiler for a joke), where Jeff Bridges is approached by “music video producer.”  Bridges tears him a new one, about how he is not a piece of meat put on this earth for him to objectify.  Of course, a bit of wind is taken out of that particular sail, when Bridges spends a lot of the movie commenting on women (but he is from the 1800s or some such, so he’s pretty enlightened for his time?).

SPOILER FOR THE ENDING

Either way, the movie features very little violence against women, other than the climactic fight.  She at least tries to fight back a bit, but she is fighting a dead cop.  What’s she going to do?

FINISHED THAT SPOILER

The movie was a bit lacking in female characters, but Proctor was pretty great.  She runs the Boston R.I.P.D.  It was nice to see an attractive woman in power, who could be in a sexual relationship that did not bring that power into question.  It was clearly a bit of an abnormal relationship, since they regularly “billy goat” apparently, but it clearly works for them. Reynolds’ character’s wife is not exactly a wilting flower.  She does not bow under the pressure of her grief, but she does not really have a chance to shine, either.  I cannot complain too much about that, though, since focusing too much on that would have caused some problems with pacing in the story.

Now for the really big issue.  There appears to be all of two Black characters in the film.  One is an evidence woman for the R.I.P.D., the other is Proctor’s alternate appearance.  So, really, there is only one Black character.  It is possible that there were other R.I.P.D. officers who were Black, but they were so far in the background that they are clearly easily forgotten.  It was explained to me, that a “joke” (a.k.a. uncomfortable/possibly racist fact/situation) about the Boston P.D. is that there are not really any Black officers.  However, Bridges character is clearly not a former Boston police officer, as his body was eaten by coyotes, and he says he was from the old west.  Even if it was a deliberate joke on the Boston P.D., it was not made clear.  It just looks like they failed to cast almost any Black actors at all.

BIG OLD SPOILER FOR THE END – DO NOT READ FURTHER TO AVOID SPOILERS

I loved the ending.  In this type of movie, I expect that the main character will be allowed to return from the dead to his lady-love.  That did not happen and it was great.  He tells his wife to move on, love again, and all of that.  Then he continues with his 100 year turn with the R.I.P.D.  It was great!  The acceptance of death as extremely unfortunate at times, but a natural part of life. Something that cannot, and should not be reversed.  It also had the benefit of being terribly romantic.

Ryan Reynolds also pulls off a shoulder holster very well.  As if anyone is surprise

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About Tori

I am a graduate student working on my masters in Women and Gender studies. My masters thesis is on the gender nonconformity and ambiguity in modern film.
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