Perhaps R.I.P.D. had potential but between the casting and screenplay, it never really came together. I don’t know nor do I care how it compares to the graphic novel (heard there are major differences), but as a film while some of the action is decent as were the visual effects and the casting Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon, the only two who seemed to be having a good time, was great, everything else fell flat.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action, Comedy
Universal | PG13 – 96 min. – $49.98 | October 29, 2013
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Writer(s): Peter M. Lenkov (comic book); David Dobkin & Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi (screenplay)
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak
Theatrical Release Date: July 19, 2013
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 41.3 GB (3D), 42.0 GB (2D)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C (untested)
THE MOVIE – 2.75/5
Let me get this out of way, yes, R.I.P.D. is a complete rip-off of Men in Black and it might not be a coincidence that both movies are based on comic books, one by Dark Horse the other by Marvel (who bought out the company who owned the rights). I might get some slack for saying this, but I actually didn’t think it was an awful film. Mind you, it’s not very good but seeing some ratings out there, I’ve seen far worse.
R.I.P.D. opens with the always cringe-worthy voice over dialogue by Ryan Reynolds’ Nick, a Boston P.D. officer explaining what the “R.I.P.D.” as he attempts to capture a monster on the run before going back “3 or 4 days” to find out how he got into the predicament. See, Nick and his partner, a dirty cop named Hayes (KEVIN BACON), had stolen some gold during a raid on a scumbag’s place and while Nick took a piece, buying it in his backyard, he has regrets and wants to turn it in to evidence. Hayes pretends to understand, and Nick even promises to leave his partner out of it, but as anyone could see coming, during a drug bust, Hayes shoots Nick dead.
Nick is sent up to… somewhere (don’t think its Heaven exactly) where he’s introduced to Proctor (MARY-LOUISE PARKER) who breaks down what’s going on. She gives him an offer: either face judgment or make up for his mistakes and join the R.I.P.D. to serve and protect humanity from creatures known as “deados”, evil monsters who can wreck havoc. Partnering up with Nick is old timer and fellow from the Old West, Roy (JEFF BRIDGES). He’s a crusty man spewing wisecracks and attempts to introduce Nick to his new world.
First, Nick is no longer Nick and instead looks like an old Asian man and any attempt to say is true identity will come out as garbly-gook, which Nick quickly realizes when he witnesses his own funeral where his wife (STEPHANIE SZOSTAK) is being consoled by backstabber Hayes… or face shooter in this case.
But revenge takes a backseat for the moment as Roy and Nick hit the streets tracking down someone named Stanley (ROBERT KNEPPER) and using some unusual questions and Indian food, determine he’s a deadie and his monster side comes out. Nick is unable to detain him and the chase is on into the streets and alleys where Stan is cornered and, to tie the main plot with Nick’s murder, coughs up gold similar to that Nick buried. He doesn’t reveal the connection but back at R.I.P.D. headquarters, turns the gold in for evidence.
Roy and Nick go back out to question one of Roy’s confidential informants to find out what he knows about the gold and while he denies anything about it, they stakeout the location and find the CI meeting with none other than Hayes, giving him the gold. This in turn leads to a fence (DEVIN RATRAY) who, of course, isn’t going to lay down lightly and causes chaos in the streets. He manages to get away, somehow, but Roy and Nick recover gold Hayes had given him. However, back at HQ, the Eternal Affairs (get it?) division were none too happy that the public saw the monster on the loose and they suspend Roy and Nick with both possibly disappearing if their hearing the next day doesn’t go well, despite finding out the gold is a part of some sort of staff that opens the gate and lets loose all the deados upon the public.
With their time limited, Nick tries one last time to talk to his wife which was supposed to be sentimental but came off a bit awkward than sad and even the talk/fight between Roy and Nick didn’t exactly do anything emotionally unlike in Men in Black where the two have a well done and emotional conversation. If you’re going to rip off a movie, at least try to match those moments… In any case, Roy and Nick man up and after a twist anyone could see coming two miles away, the staff is assembled and our world is in deep trouble. Surely these two opposites couldn’t possible come together and save the world all by themselves, right?
R.I.P.D. might have been a fine idea and some of the casting was good like Jeff Bridges, even with his thick sometimes indiscernible accent and Kevin Bacon who might’ve been the only one having a bit of fun, and although Ryan Reynolds performance is nothing new and seems like the same thing we saw in Green Lantern, his casting is the least of the film’s problems.
The biggest issue despite some respectable visual effects (far exceeding those in White House Down), the script is tattered and the story uninspired. Also, as much as I like Bridges, neither he nor Reynolds shared much of a chemistry compared with so many other buddy movies that have come before (see Mel Gibson/Danny Glover, Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones, heck even Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy). As I said before, I’m not sure why some studios are enamored with Reynolds or why he insists on taking these underwhelming roles, but once again, it’s a poor choice for an actor that, with the right script, isn’t that bad.
Much like White House Down, R.I.P.D. isn’t very good but holds a moderate amount of entertainment value. The film was directed by Robert Schwentke who previously helmed the sci-fi romantic drama The Time Traveler’s Wife and the Jodie Foster thriller, Flightplan. Neither film were great, TTW especially, but seems to be an effective director, but when a screenplay – by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay (Clash of the Titans, Aeon Flux) – is has numerous flaws, short of having a Fincher or Spielberg, there’s nobody that can help.
So although the potential was there, even if it does rip off MiB, I still enjoyed portions of R.I.P.D. but it’s not the type of film I’ll revisit anytime soon, however. The visual effects are decent and Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon seemed to actually enjoy hamming up their roles, otherwise it’s a fairly forgettable flick destined for airing on FXX.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
The 3-disc set comes housed in a standard Blu-ray case and comes with a lenticular slip cover. Inside is the retail DVD Copy containing a few features and a Digital Copy download code (** Blu-ray Exclusive **) for either UltraViolet and/or iTunes.
The disc kicks off with 2 Alternate Openings (4:37/5:29; HD) both of which I preferred as it avoided Reynolds’ snarky voice over. Both of these are basically the same. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Deleted/Alternate Scenes (7:15; HD) contains four scenes that were cut down or didn’t make it into the final cut. None of them are of importance and don’t really further the story.
Gag Reel (3:48; HD) – Here we get hilarious hijinks and flubbed lines from professional actors.
R.I.P.D. Motion Comics: Bringing the Avatars to Life (6:08; HD) are scenes from the movie, in motion comic form, with the characters in their avatar (i.e. Nick as an Asian and Roy as the hot blonde). ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Nick’s New Avatars (1:00; HD) are some alternate looks for Nick. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Transferring R.I.P.D.: The Making of (8:18; HD) looks at how the film was made with on-set interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. It’s short and not entirely informative, just some basic info on the project.
Filming the Other Side (6:29; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette on the chase and fight sequences with the monsters and the “frozen world” via on location and against the green screen. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Walking Among Us: Deados & Avatars (7:25; HD) – This is a closer examination of the monsters and the avatars in the movie via behind-the-scenes footage and comments by the cast. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Anatomy of a Shootout (7:59; HD) breaks down the final action sequence in the film. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
2D VIDEO – 4.5/5
3D VIDEO – 3.75/5
R.I.P.D. arrives to kill monsters and save the day on Blu-ray presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer and in its original theatrical 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture is pristine with good detail levels, no obvious signs of artifacting, pixilation or banding, and colors look nicely balanced. Darker scenes also look stark. It’s not the perfect looking transfer or one that would be considered reference quality compared with others, but it’s still nice.
A post-production conversion, R.I.P.D. was not shot for 3D but on the whole, a good job was done. The depth is pretty good showing off foreground to background elements quite well and the clarity is equally if not more impressive as there didn’t seem to be any major issues with ghosting. The colors are also vibrant which is good given often times 3D movies are a bit darker. Albeit not the best 3D presentation, it’s still well done and for a post-conversion it’s rather notable.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track offered up is quite expansive and somewhat bombastic when we get to the action climax toward the end. Throughout the film, the dialogue levels were crisp and clear while the audio and sound effects were fantastic. Can’t relatively say its reference quality but it’s still pretty darn impressive.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, perhaps R.I.P.D. had potential but between the casting and screenplay, it never really came together. I don’t know nor do I care how it compares to the graphic novel (heard there are major differences), but as a film while some of the action is decent as were the visual effects and the casting Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon, the only two who seemed to be having a good time, was great, everything else fell flat. The Blu-ray released by Universal does offer excellent audio/video transfers and the bonus material is a tad above average though nothing special.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.