So I watched R.I.P.D.
When this film came out in 2013, I didn’t exactly run to go see it. Actually, after seeing its trailer, I actively ran away from seeing it. A few brief reviews from friends assured me that I had made the right decision. However, sometimes even though you think something is going to be bad, you’ve been told it’s bad and you’re pretty much certain that it’s bad; you still need to see how bad it is for yourself, hence my viewing of this film.
Okay, basic plot: Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is a police officer in the Boston PD whose just done something less than honourable. Nick steals a piece of gold from a crime scene instead of handing it in as evidence in order to provide for him and his wife, Julia (Stéphanie Szostak). This dirty deal ends up getting Nick killed but instead of going to the after-life, he’s given a chance to repent for his sins. He’s recruited into the R.I.P.D. – the Rest In Peace Department. A police force made up of deceased law enforcement officers who police deceased souls who refuse to enter the after-life. Nick’s new partner is Roycephus Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges) – a former US Marshal from the Old West. The two uncover a plot involving the gold that Nick lost his life over that could spell the end of the world.
This film’s biggest problem is that it’s lazy. It wants to be this Men-In-Black-esque buddy cop comedy but isn’t willing to put in the work to achieve this. The film’s premise is actually cool – the idea of dead cops working to clear the streets of deceased souls who prefer to stay on Earth than go to ‘the other side’. Problem is that it doesn’t give enough detail to this world it creates. How exactly do souls avoid going to the other side? Is it only souls that are going to Hell that remain on Earth or just souls that don’t want to die? These and a myriad of other questions are what you’re left wondering because the film isn’t interested in providing substantial detail about any of them. It’s such a shame because the film could have been so much more entertaining had it just put more work into colouring in the details.
The film’s second biggest problem is Jeff Bridges, more specifically, his ‘Southern accent’. My friend gave the best description of his accent after watching it when it first came out. She said to me that it sounded like Bridges was constantly halfway through chewing a large bite of a sandwich whenever he spoke. I’m actually wondering if Bridges had a stroke or something because I can’t understand what’s happening with his tongue. It seems to be constantly in the way of the words he’s trying to utter. Bridges overall performance is overall poor as is that of his co-star, Ryan Reynolds.
This time in Ryan Reynold’s career wasn’t the best. From 2009 to 2013 he was involved in a string of disappointing to atrocious films – X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Safe House, Green Lantern and R.I.P.D. I’m sure Reynolds looks back on this time the same way we all look at pictures from our high school days – with brief nostalgia but overwhelming guilt and regret. Luckily, things have only gotten better for Reynolds. Unfortunately the acting – in this film – doesn’t get better as you scroll through this film’s cast. Kevin Bacon has a pretty meaty role in this piece but his acting is so monotonous and superficial that the twist his character is meant to carry falls completely flat.
Another area in which R.I.P.D. disappoints is in its visual effects. This film had a budget of $130 million but the effects look like they were made on a budget the tenth of that. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it a million times, if your brain looks at something and can immediately tell its fake, it becomes infinitely more difficult for you to believe it. Now if you don’t believe something is real (or could at least possibly be real), how’s it meant to frighten you? Entertain you? Engage you? The answer it can’t and that’s the final nail in R.I.P.D.’s coffin.
Overall, R.I.P.D. feels like a cheap knock-off of a much cooler film. The writing is lazy and uninspired, the acting half-assed and the special effects barely cooked. It’s not worth watching 4/10