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R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned is dreadful 

Co-writer Paul Leyden directs this sequel to the 2013 action comedy R.I.P.D., about an afterlife law enforcement agency whose operatives go after Deados—monsters and demons disguised as humans. (102 min.)

click to enlarge ROUGH RIDE Jeanne (Tilly Keeper) and Roy (Jeffrey Donovan) are dead, but they're also law enforcement sent from the afterlife to stop an earthly breach of Hell's Gate, in R.I.P.D 2: Rise of the Damned, streaming on Netflix. - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Universal 1440 Entertainment
  • ROUGH RIDE Jeanne (Tilly Keeper) and Roy (Jeffrey Donovan) are dead, but they're also law enforcement sent from the afterlife to stop an earthly breach of Hell's Gate, in R.I.P.D 2: Rise of the Damned, streaming on Netflix.
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Glen I think the first question we have to ask about this unnecessary and unwelcome sequel is why? Why make a sequel of a box office bomb that cost $130 million to make but that only returned $78 million? The original even had Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and it still sucked like a brand-new top-of-the-line vacuum. At least the sequel producers had the good sense to send this straight to Netflix and not embarrass themselves by attempting a theatrical release. The story opens in the American West circa 1876, and Sheriff Roy Pulsipher (Jeffrey Donovan) is shooting it out with a notorious gang when he's shot in the back and finds himself at the Rest In Peace Department office, where he's offered a chance to go back to Earth to stop Otis Clairborne (Richard Brake), who's really a demon who plans to breach the Gates of Hell and release all the demons. Of course, Roy has other plans, such as revenge for his murder and seeing his soon-to-be-married daughter, Charlotte (Tilly Keeper), again and saving Tilly's milquetoast fiancé, Angus (Richard Fleeshman), but instead he's teamed with Jeanne (Penelope Mitchell), his sword-toting R.I.P.D. partner, who has to keep Roy on task. It's as ridiculous and convoluted as it sounds, but lucky for you, there's so much ham-fisted plot exposition that you'll never get lost. This film stinks more than the poisonous gas seeping from the breach in Hell's Gates.

Anna I like Donovan, and he worked hard to try and make this funny, but the material just isn't there. I'm not sure why this got greenlit. Maybe the first film had some "so bad it's good" renaissance I don't know about or an underground cult following. Unfortunately, the premise is so ill-conceived that the cast spends half the time explaining plot points to get the audience invested. It didn't work, at least for me. On IMDb, this comes in more than a full point behind its predecessor—not a great sign for any more films from this "franchise." Roy and Jeanne get a third character to quip with in Slim Samuels (Jake Choi), an outlaw/Deado they capture who wants his soul to have a retrial. Unfortunately, adding more ingredients to this soup didn't help; it's just a mess.

Glen Donovan did his darnedest to re-create Jeff Bridges' Roy Pulsipher, but the film didn't have a Ryan Reynolds. Instead, Roy is teamed with a humorless woman warrior who turns out to be a famous heroine from history. I won't tell you who, but in addition to her sword, Jeanne's afraid of fire. Like the original, the "joke" is that living humans can't see Roy and Jeanne as they are. Instead, they have human avatars—in this case two Black women (Rachel Adedeji for Roy and Evlyne Oyedokun for Jeanne), and you can imagine the kind of treatment they get in the Wild West. Cue tepid racism jokes. The first film should have been left buried and forgotten.

Anna I didn't see the original, so I can't speak to its merit, but its follow-up fell totally flat for me. There just isn't a whole lot here to root for besides the "don't let the demons out of hell" thing, and the attempts at humor didn't work. I zoned out quickly on this one—not a great sign. I don't want to knock the actors; they just weren't given much of anything to work with, and what they were given just stunk. I hope this is the last attempt to make R.I.P.D. a thing. Skip it. Δ

Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Split Screen. Glen compiles listings. Comment at [email protected].

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