The Netflix Sci-Fi Comedy Rips Off Men In Black With A Marvel Star

By Robert Scucci | Published


It may seem like Ryan Reynolds has been in the zone for the better part of the past three decades, but the man behind Deadpool has also put out a clunker or two. But knowing how well Reynolds can take a joke, we need to talk about RIPD, the strange buddy-cop film that somehow manages to rip off Men in Black and Ghostbusters while also leaning heavily into the tried-and-true and trope-heavy police comedies like Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour. 

RIPD Streaming On Netflix


At its core RIPD has a lot going for it, and on paper its premise seems promising. Reynolds’ detective Nick Walker gets killed on the job after a drug-bust gone wrong, and finds himself in an all white HR office. It’s revealed to him that he was shot to death by his corrupt partner, Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon), after a dispute over some stolen gold that they acquired during a previous drug raid. 

Needing a partner in the afterlife, Nick is teamed up with Roicephus “Roy” Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), an esteemed but hard-nosed lawman from the Wild West who uses old-time colloquialisms as his primary means of communication. It’s worth mentioning that although Nick and Roy see each other as the men they were before they were killed, they take on new identities so as not to upset the status quo on Earth. Nick’s avatar is that of an elderly Chinese man, and Roy is seen as a smoking hot blonde who can stop any mortal man dead in his tracks with his good looks alone.  

Nick Finds A Clue


Members of the RIPD have one very important, recurring task: hunting down and capturing Deados, which are undead souls who escaped final judgment. But when Nick discovers that the first Deado he encounters is hoarding the same gold that cost him his life, he decides that some good old fashioned detective work is necessary. 

Though this egregious act of sleuthing is considered problematic by Eternal Affairs, it’s revealed that Nick actually uncovered an elaborate scheme that involves Deados collecting gold so they can assemble an ancient artifact called the Staff of Jericho. The Staff of Jericho has the power to reverse the tunnel to the afterlife, allowing Deados to take over the mortal realm if they are able to successfully operate the device. 

A Familiar Formula


Playing out exactly like the many buddy-cop films we’ve seen in the past, the only thing that RIPD is missing is that one scene where Nick and Roy fuss over the radio station in their patrol car before shooting the dashboard and driving in silence. Otherwise, this film is simply stuck within the constructs of an overused formula and sloppily supplemented with the supernatural.

Dead On Arrival

Audiences and critics alike were quick to criticize RIPD for its cosmically confusing delivery that hides just beneath its odd-couple comedy veneer. Word seemed to travel fast too, because this movie failed to break even at the global box office, earning only $78.3 million against its reported budget of $154 million. In other words, RIPD earned its 12 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes so quickly that audiences didn’t feel compelled to check it out.  

Jeff Bridges Singled Out

jeff bridges

Despite RIPD’s poor reception upon its release, Jeff Bridges was praised for his effortless ability to commit to his character. In an otherwise cliché film, his jaded yet affable persona steals the show, making a great launchpad for Reynolds’ signature shtick. 

Good For A Fun Movie Night

ryan reynolds

Giving credit where it’s most certainly due, we have to point out that RIPD will have some staying power in your household, especially if you have young children who like cop movies but aren’t yet mature enough to watch films like Bad Boys. Most acts of violence are tastefully implied off-screen, and the humor, while edgy, is pretty tame by today’s standards. RIPD may not be Ryan Reynolds’ finest hour, but it’s still a great film to fire up on Netflix on family movie night.