Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, Eddie Marsan, TJ Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Briana Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna
It seems a strange, almost perverse thing to say of a film so coarse and violent, but the incredible success of Tim Miller’s Deadpool, which turned a comparatively modest US$58m budget into a US$783m worldwide gross, was one of the film industry’s feel good stories of 2016. It was both vindication for Ryan Reynolds who had worked tirelessly for the chance to redeem the character after its butchering in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and reward for 20th Century Fox’s willingness to take a chance on a superhero movie whose R-rating automatically ruled out a key demographic for superhero movies. A sequel, however, presents an entirely new challenge. Could a second film capture that same sense of freshness and difference, or would it just end up mimicking itself? Fortunately, Deadpool 2 not only lives up to the original, it arguably exceeds it on many fronts. Continue reading
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Gina Carano, Karan Soni
It is not often in Hollywood that you get a second shot at something, a chance to right a wrong. Ryan Reynolds’ first appearance as Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, was a supporting role in 2009’s disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That incarnation of the character infuriated diehard fans by deviating significantly from the source material. Nothing more perfectly encapsulated that movie’s failure to grasp the essence of the character than the decision to take “the merc with a mouth” and literally sew his lips shut. Since then, Reynolds has worked tirelessly to get another shot at playing Deadpool in a film that got it right. Seven years later, that film has arrived and Reynolds has found the role for which he will be remembered.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a wise-cracking mercenary, a bad guy who makes a living roughing up worse guys. He meets prostitute Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a kindred spirit who is compatibly messed up, and the two fall hopelessly in love. But no sooner have things started to look rosy for Wade he is diagnosed with late stage cancer. When all appears lost, a mysterious man offers him the chance to undergo an experimental procedure designed to accelerate any dormant mutations in his genes. If successful it will not only cure his cancer, it will turn him into a superhero. Continue reading
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, Marisa Miller, James Hong
R.I.P.D. is the ‘new’ movie from Universal which you can’t help but feel like you’ve seen before. While it is, like every second aspiring blockbuster these days, an adaptation of a graphic novel, most viewers will recognise it as some combination of Men in Black and Ghostbusters with a little bit of Ghost tossed in for romantic interest.
The R.I.P.D. is the Rest in Peace Department, a team of elite but deceased law enforcers from throughout history who are charged with tracking down ‘deados,’ individuals who have passed away but have somehow managed to avoid judgement and continue to live on Earth incognito. Nick is a young Boston Policeman who is killed in the line of duty only to be called up to the RIPD while seemingly on his way to a place he didn’t want to go. At R.I.P.D. he is partnered up with Wild West lawman, Marshall Roysephus Pulsipher, who will show him the ropes. But Nick has picked an unfortunate moment to start his new job, because the deados are planning something which could change the world forever.
The odd-couple pairing for a buddy cop movie doesn’t get more odd than a 21st century Boston cop and a 19th century Wild West Marshall, but the success of buddy cop comedies invariably comes down to chemistry and Reynolds and Bridges don’t seem to have it. Rather than playing the quick-talking, wise-cracking role Will Smith took opposite the stony-faced Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black, Ryan Reynolds finds himself largely playing the straight man in this movie, with much of the (attempted) comedy coming from Bridges. The Academy Award winner – I feel it is appropriate to remind you at this point that Bridges does have an Oscar – appears to be enjoying himself playing for laughs as Roy, doing a hammier version of his Rooster Cogburn from True Grit with a drawl that is equally difficult to understand.
Familiarity isn’t necessarily a problem. One of the keys to the success of a blockbuster movie is striking the right balance of the familiar and the different. Audiences want to have a reasonable idea of what they’re getting themselves into. They want to recognise things – that is why people have favourite genres and favourite actors – and then they want to be surprised by the little ways in which this one is different. R.I.P.D. falls way too far on the familiar side of the ledger though. Everything from the premise and the characters to the storyline and the outcome feels generic and rehashed. While it can rustle up a few laughs and has its share of 3D CGI spectacle, it is largely pretty boring. You are always two steps ahead of this movie. You know what is going to happen because you’ve seen it all before.
Rating – ★★
Review by Duncan McLean