Review: ‘R.I.P.D. 2 Rise of the Damned’ on Netflix

R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned may be the most surprising sequel in recent memory. Ryan Reynolds starred as a ghostly cop in the 2013 Men in Black-style action comedy. It was a costly flop that studios would rather forget than develop sequels or prequels to.

1876-based Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Starman) played Sheriff Roy Pulsipher in the first and Jeffrey Donovan (Villains, Law & Order) in the sequel. He’s seeing his daughter Charlotte (Tilly Keeper, EastEnders, Marooned Awakening) and her fiance Angus (Richard Fleeshman, The Sandman, Coronation Street) at the train station when a robbery occurs and he’s shot and killed.

He’s recruited into the R.I.P.D. and returned to Earth with sword-wielding Jeanne (Penelope Mitchell, The Vampire Diaries, The Hyperions). Instead of avenging him, they’re sent to Red Creek, Utah, where a miner opened a portal to hell.

The original R.I.P.D. was funny and had good effects. The sequel was made by Universal 1440 Entertainment, the company’s direct-to-video bargain basement subsidiary, so expect shoddy CGI.

The script by director Paul Leyden (Chick Fight, Cleaners) and co-writer Andrew Klein (MacGyver) is neither pleasant nor humorous, relying on jokes like Pulsipher landing in an outhouse or dodging the tiniest buffalo stampede in film history just to be smacked by a straggler. What’s wrong? Everyone perceives the sheriff as a black woman, much to his horror. To our horror, it lets the writers use the “My best friend is black” line as though it’s hilarious.

Our hero’s killers are possessed by evil spirits, so his mission and quest for revenge are the same. Richard Brake (Vesper, The Munsters) chews the scenery as their leader. R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned is a better comedy than an action film.