Music By Christophe Beck
Featuring "The Better Man"
Performed By Jeff Bridges
Backlot Music Digital Download
23 Tracks/Disc Time: 38:53
In a summer full of ironcald hits and lots and lots of misfires, Unfortunately the comedy R.I.P.D. is another such case that much like the much ballyhooed "The Lone Ranger", which was another film with a seriously huge budget and very little box office success to show for it. Based on the graphic novel on Dark Horse Comics by Peter M. Lenkov, the film stars Ryan Reynolds as Nick, a police officer who had recently been killed and then recruited by the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.). Paired with wily veteran Roy (Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges, "The Big Lebowski") who in their avatar human forms as a wise old Chinese man and a sexy super model, try to fight crime in the afterlife. Nick is also trying to find his real life killer and avenge his own death which maybe the way back to the land of the living. The film also stars Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds", "Red 2") and Kevin Bacon ("The Following"). The film will make its' Blu-Ray/DVD debut on October 15 by Universal Pictures.
After directing the brilliant and ingenious "Red" which starred Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman amongst others, Director Robert Schwentke returns to bring this big screen adaption of the comic book and with that success was hoping to recreate the magic along with the help of his "Red" composer Christophe Beck. Beck, who's career started off with the hit Fox' TV series, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and graduated to solid film projects that include "Elektra", "Tower Heist", "Death At A Funeral" and "The Hangover Trilogy" to name a few along with the aforementioned, "RED". Beck's score for this film is pretty much a take off on Danny Elfman's memorable and charmingly goofy scores to the "Men In Black" trilogy which were pretty much take offs upon themselves.
From the album's opening track "R.I.P.D." with its' cool and energetic brass establishes the score's meain theme that would return later on in various guises through the score. Beck underscores the demise of Reynolds' character with dramatic and serious undertones that switch over to those of awe in the tracks "The Ascent" and "Nick's Funeral", featuring some nice choir, lush strings and a touch of rock guitar. Beck underscores Reynold's initation into the R.I.P.D. with fun and hip rock beats featured in "Orientation" and the cool James Bond-esque guitar in "Partners" under scoring the partnership of Reynolds and Bridges' characters. There's plenty of cool and vibrant action material here showcased in the tracks "Raining Cars", "Hunting Hayes", "High Noon", which features a fun, Morricone-esque take off on Westerns and "Mano A Mano". The album closes with the tender "Goodbye" which features a fine, dramatic reading of the theme. The album wraps up with the Country-Western song performed by actor Jeff Bridges, "The Better Man" which has the feel of his album released on Blue Note Records last year.
Backlot Music's digital album is a nicely put together one but it's a real shame that a physical CD was not released of it and at the very least, it does exist in some format mainly because the film was a major box office flop. The problem with this score despite how good it is, is the fact that we've been down this territory before and Danny Elfman's name always come to mind in terms of inspiration and for writing memorable scores for this genre. Beck does a really admirable job mimicking Elfman and for the majority of it, it really does work. However, the fact that the films' failure might not spark as much interest in this score as many others, but it should warrant a solid curiosity because it does have some fun, entertaining moments despite the material treading water in this genre. Still, I will give it a marginal and affectionate thumbs up and barely simply for the reasons that there have been better scores written for this type of film in the past.