Entertainment Magazine

Movie Review: ‘R.I.P.D.’

Posted on the 01 August 2013 by House Of Geekery @houseofgeekery


Directed by: Robert Schwentke

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary Louise Parker, and Kevin Bacon

Plot: A Boston cop is killed in action and joins the Rest In Peace Department, an undead police force tasked with capturing those who are trying to escape judegment


I got to say, I totally love the premise. I am a sucker for stories that use horror and supernatural tropes to craft an action movie. I end up seeing a lot of bad movies because of it (cough Dylan Dog cough). Basically, the dead who are afraid they will be judged harshly, referred to as Deados, escape and end up back on Earth. They still look corporeal, but their soul starts to rot. This causes things around them to rot, and if they “pop,” as they say, they become giant freakish looking creatures. Lawmen from all eras as they die are given the opportunity to work for the RIPD to take these suckers back (send them to Hell) or take them out (erase them completely from existence). If left alone, their soul-rot could eventually effect the whole world. Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is killed during a raid by his partner, Hayes (Kevin Bacon). He is then paired up with an old cowboy, Roy (Jeff Bridges). It’s basically a supernatural version of Men In Black, except this one lacks the charm, the fun, and most of the entertainment value of MIB

Jeff Bridges is probably one of the most consistent performers to ever step in front of a camera, and I have always been a big supporter (which often times means defender) of Ryan Reynolds. I think they are both really funny performers, but they are only given the smallest amount of material here to work with. Reynolds, still acclimating to his new status quo, plays straight-man and deer in the headlights to Bridges’ over the top cowboy expert. To say this is Bridges returning to his version of Rooster Cogburn is definitely an insult to that character. He gets a few good lines and gags, but his affectations are mostly all over the map. They seem to take a big leap from hate-your-guts to partners-for-life pole-vaulting over the moment that would solidify that friendship and then expecting us not to notice. They might have had chemistry if the movie ever slowed down long enough for them to develop any.

Example of a Deado

Example of a Deado

At a whopping 96 minutes, I was hoping that this was going to be a fast and loose action comedy to distill most of the 2 hour plus event movies that usually litter the summer. Unfortunately, this run time pretty much gives them no time to do any character or atmosphere building. They have too many moving pieces to smoosh and deliver to us. It’s a supernatural movie so there is a lot of rules. There is some mythology and treasure hunting involved, so plenty of opportunities for atmosphere. And it’s not like these pieces were inherently bad. There is definitely an interesting movie somewhere here. Unfortunately, its more like someone filmed the story outline instead of an actual script.

Even the action was kind of hollow. I was hoping Schwentke was going to do better. His debut movie, Red, while a little cheesy and over the top had a nice marriage of comedy and action that made for a mostly entertaining solid 7 of a movie. It reminded me of The A-Team remake in tone and size. Just total rollercoaster self-aware enough to have a little fun. This is a little more slapsticky, which should be apparent by one of this world’s rules. The RIPD officers are practically invincible (although they seem to feel pain and get the wind knocked out of them). They are basically walking cartoons falling from great distances, getting pancaked by rolling cars, and getting dragged along by a grappling hook. I was totally prepared for some Looney Tunes physics defying but most of it seemed like an afterthought. Instead, everyone involved was more interested in developing the joke that these cops have avatars instead of looking how they originally appeared. Ryan Reynolds is an old Chinese guy (the recognizable James Hong), Jeff Bridges is a sexy blonde bombshell (supermodel Marissa Miller). It’s a joke that is funny maybe once or twice but gets old pretty damn quick, especially with Bridges fighting off flirtations and Miller trying (and failing) to sound like a cowboy.

The Avatars: Hong and Miller

The Avatars: Hong and Miller

This movie seems to suffer from the same issues as Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern. It obsesses with the concept and direction of the “rules,” but it doesn’t bother developing any characters or story. Thus, dies Ryan Reynolds’ attempts at being a blockbuster action hero (which is too bad because I still think Safe House is a badass actioner), and yet another good concept is wasted by a Hollywood machine who seems to have forgotten how movies work in the first place. They need to rewatch Lethal Weapon over and over until they realize that Riggs visiting the Murtaugh house for dinner and drinks is just as important as any action scene. 

P.S.: At one point, they CGI Jeff Bridges’ hair to make it look like the character is upside down when the actor isn’t, possibly the worst piece of CGI I have ever seen in any movie EVER! (Yes, 2 evers)

Rating: 2/10

What Else to Watch: RIPD when it was fresh, original, and fun, aka Men In Black.

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