R.I.P.D. Review

Posted: July 22, 2013 by moviebuff801 in moviebuff801's Movie Reviews

By: Moviebuff801

From the moment I left my house to see the film, my experience with R.I.P.D. wasn’t going well.  The theater I ended up seeing it at had failed to properly update their listed show times, and the movie started at 2:45 instead of the incorrectly-specified 2:35.  That meant there was about 20 minutes the person I went with and I had to wait in a n auditorium which had the audio of pre-trailer commercials running, but without the pictures.  On top of that, it turned out the screening we went to was in fact in 3-D and not our desired, and cheaper, 2-D.  We both knew R.I.P.D. wasn’t a movie we were willing to go out of our way for THAT MUCH, so we decided the hell with it, let’s see it in 3-D.  As a side note, it was much easier for me to say because I didn’t pay for my own ticket.  Anyway, I tell you this story because, you know what?  The 3-D actually ended up being the best part of R.I.P.D., and is what mainly earns the film its 1-star rating.  That, and a mildly entertaining Jeff Bridges performance.  Okay, so maybe it wasn’t THAT bad an experience beforehand, but rest assured, this is not only one of the worst movies of the year so far, it’s also one of the worst comic book films I’ve ever seen.

The plot concerns Nick (Ryan Reynolds), a police officer shot in the middle of a raid on a meth lab by his crooked partner, Hayes (Kevin Bacon).  Nick reawakens soon after and wanders through a frozen-in-time version of the raid before being sucked up into a huge vortex in the sky.  Surprise, surprise: Nick’s dead, but he’s whisked away to the R.I.P.D. (the Rest In Peace Department).  There, he’s recruited by Proctor (she most likely has a title like Captain or Commissioner before her name, but I honestly didn’t care enough to catch it), played by Mary Louise-Parker, to join the R.I.P.D.  Nick’s new partner Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges, using his True Grit Southern drawl) is a crusty lawman who’s been a dead protector of the living since his own death in the 1800’s, and…hmm, I wonder if these two will make for yet another mismatched cop duo?  Anyway, as Nick and Roy chase laughably cartoonish CGI creatures called “Dead-o’s” around the land of the living, all the while in the forms of an elderly Chinese guy and a smoking hot blonde, they uncover a plot to assemble the pieces of The Staff of Jericho because it can open a portal to unleash countless dead souls upon the world and — oh, who cares?

Just hours before I saw R.I.P.D., I also saw Nicholas Winding Refn’s new movie, Only God Forgives, which can most aptly be described as a nightmare caught on film.  The same can be said for R.I.P.D., but the difference here is that such a feeling was intentional in the case of Only God Forgives.  Building off of that, I have to say that R.I.P.D. is something of a landmark movie for me.  This is the first movie I’ve ever seen where I was hoping against hope that what I was seeing would turn out to be just a bad dream.  Alas, it was unfortunately quite real.  Actually, there’s a scene in here about halfway through where the characters are discussing this film’s MacGuffin, and Roy remarks something like, “That’s terrible!  Who would MAKE something like that?!”  It was at that point where I felt like standing up and shouting, “YOU JUST DESCRIBED THIS MOVIE!  BRAVO!”

By this point, I think it goes without saying that the acting in this movie is pretty terrible.  The main problem in this department is that everybody is either trying too hard or not trying hard enough.  Ryan Reynolds is completely bland and uninteresting (which won’t come as a shock to any of you Ryan Reynolds haters out there), Kevin Bacon pretty much sleepwalks through this thing and Mary-Louise Parker’s eyes, if you look real closely, resemble dollar signs on more than one occasion.  Then there’s Jeff Bridges, who…actually is the most tolerable of any of the actors in this film, if that’s even a complement.  Sure, he comes off as more of a parody of Rooster Cogburn, minus the eye patch, than an actual character, but he at least managed to get a chuckle and/or the hint of a smile out of me every so often.  And that’s more than can be said for any of the rest of the cast.  However, Bridges still has a look of “What did I get myself into?” stuck on his face throughout the film.  The most cringe-inducing scene of his, though, comes when Roy is interrogating a suspected Dead-o.  You see, for some odd and unimportant reason, Dead-o’s hate Indian food, so that means we get to be treated to a scene where Jeff Bridges is sloppily mumbling through a mouthful of Indian cuisine while trying to be intimidating.  That scene actually made me a little depressed to think that “Oscar Winner” now precedes his name in trailers.

But I feel bad for Ryan Reynolds.  I really do.

Even worse than the acting are the special effects, which don’t even look finished.  They lack the weight and presence that more polished ones would have, not to mention that they’re just excessive.  Remember back on the similarly-themed Men In Black, where the aliens were a mix of humans and practical effects.  Now take a look at a few of the creatures on display in the trailers for R.I.P.D., and notice how fake and obviously-CGI they appear.  You can tell that director Robert Schwentke, someone inexperienced with this kind of genre, is definitely in over his head here, not unlike the way Martin Campbell was with Green Lantern.  Also, there was one particular monster in here, a hideously deformed fat man, that gave me flashbacks to Mr. Hyde in Van Helsing, right on down to how the scene plays out, i.e. a grappling hook affixed to his body while he’s attempting to scramble away on top of a high building.  The point is: any movie that makes me remember Van Helsing can’t be good.

I suppose if I had to think of one thing about R.I.P.D. to be grateful for, it’s that it barely manages to be no worse than Jonah Hex, which is the film I consider to be BENEATH the bottom of the barrel when it comes to comic book adaptations.  But just being barely better than a movie that awful is still nothing to be proud of.  R.I.P.D. is like the demon spawn of a ménage a trois between Men In Black, Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice, only without any of the things that made those films good.  You know, like charm, creativity, good acting, a sense of fun…need I go on?


  1. pgcooper1939 says:

    “Just hours before I saw R.I.P.D., I also saw Nicholas Winding Refn’s new movie, Only God Forgives, which can most aptly be described as a nightmare caught on film. The same can be said for R.I.P.D., but the difference here is that such a feeling was intentional in the case of Only God Forgives.”

    Great line, great review.

  2. GaryLee828 says:

    This looked lame as hell just from the first image of the trailer I saw 6 months ago. You should have went to see The Conjuring instead.

    • moviebuff801 says:

      I’m actually not interested in The Conjuring because I’m not into horror. But R.I.P.D. was horrific in its own right. ;)

      • GaryLee828 says:

        LOL you saw the scariest movie at the box office! Wait a minute, that might be “White House Down”. lol.

  3. reel411 says:

    yikes..i feel bad for all involved, actually. also, only god forgives IS a nightmare. well said.

  4. moviebuff801 says:

    Gary, White House Down was actually pretty fun.

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