R.I.P.D. – 3 out of 5
Alright, let’s just get this out of the way right away…this movie (and the comic book it’s based off of) is basically Men In Black only with the souls of the dead instead of aliens. Everyone and their grandmother made this observation and open mics all over the country were bombarded with thousands of stand up comics saying the same joke about how they liked the film more when it was called “Men In Black.” Thankfully, all the comics didn’t say it at the same time or it would have opened a black hole and ripped apart the fabric of reality…such is the dangers of going for the obvious punch line.
R.I.P.D. is based on the Dark Horse comic Rest In Peace Department and it focuses on the mildly corrupt cop, Nick (Ryan Reynolds), who is betrayed by his partner, Hayes (Kevin Bacon). During a raid, Hayes stabs Nick in the back by shooting him in the chest. Nick soon learns there is an afterlife and it has their own police force (get it? R.I.P.D.?). Due to his skills as a cop, the R.I.P.D. is ready to overlook Nick’s past transgression in the living world if he’ll join the ranks of taking down escaping and dangerous souls. Nick agrees and is partnered with the veteran and winner of the best facial hair in the department, Roy (Jeff Bridges). Together, they uncover a nefarious plot being orchestrated by Hayes. He plans on building an ancient device that will allow the souls of the judged to escape the netherworld and return to the world of the living.
**Warning: This review may contain some slight spoilers and it also has no lifeguard on duty**
For the most part, critics and audiences hated this film. Some even went as far as saying this was the worst comic book film since Howard the Duck. I get it that some people didn’t like the film but let’s not go crazy here. Have you seen Howard the Duck? There are duck boobs in that film and that’s horrifying on levels thought non-existent for centuries.
|The Dude > Duck Boobs.|
Unlike the majority of the critics and members of the movie-going public, I actually found myself enjoying R.I.P.D. When I saw the trailer, I thought it looked like fun (and yes, I DID think it looked like a supernatural Men In Black but since everyone else said it, I just kept my mouth shut) but I ultimately waited for it to arrive on DVD and Blu-Ray because, even though I thought it looked cool, it didn’t look cool enough for the loan that is required to take out just to see a single movie in the theaters these days. After watching it, I have to say that while the movie had its fair share of problems, I still thought it was pretty damn entertaining.
|Reynolds, seen here contemplating how he can show off his abs in this movie.|
There’s no point in mincing words here but the bad guys in this film—called Deados—look like absolute shit. The special effects on them are a joke and it doesn’t help the fact that each and every single one of them act like mentally retarded backwoods hicks who have kept the family ties over the generations way, WAY too close. They never come off as a threat to our heroes and only come off as an annoyance to the viewer as they float through their scenes like an obnoxious turd.
|The exact moment the movie's special effects decided to no longer give a fuck.|
|"I have to go now, God's anus is about to pull me in."|
|See, this part looked good. Why did they fail with the Deados?|
Hell, even the Deado version of Kevin Bacon looks great when compared to the other baddies. So why did the film’s production drop the ball so pathetically when coming up with the Deados that fill the rest of the film? Was there a production deadline? Was the rendering process not complete or did the crew in charge of the Deados just plain not give a fuck? Whatever the reason, this is a major setback for the film and was almost impossible to overlook for my score. However, the film, thankfully, had other elements that I found myself enjoying and was able to look past the very terrible, downright awful Deados.
|Clearly all the Deados special effects budget went into the Bacon Deado.|
A lot of the jokes in the film were not the funniest things I’ve heard (albeit, they were a lot funnier than the Men In Black joke about this movie) but the funniest (and probably the most entertaining part of the film) was Jeff Bridges and his amazing facial hair. Bridges is unapologetically over-the-top in this one and he doesn’t give a fuck if you care or not. His root ‘em, toot ‘em, shoo ‘em up dagnabbit lawman character really kept the film moving forward and moving forward in a fast pace way.
|I kinda want to see Bridges' character do the Yosemite Sam thing where he fires|
his guns in their hip holsters and is pushed in the air from the force.
That says a lot about the film because this movie doesn’t slow down the moment Nick is killed. Once he hits heaven, the movie hits a fast pace and doesn’t slow down—not even for exposition purposes. Even if a scene doesn’t work or ends up feeling a little stupid, the movie’s story feels like it is saying, “Don’t worry about it, we’ll get it in the next scene. Let’s just keep moving.” This could potentially be a bad thing, depending on the viewer, but, at least for me, I felt this worked for the overall tone of the film because it really helped cement that Nick is suddenly thrown into a foreign situation and is just scrambling to keep up.
|He's still trying to figure out how to get his shirt off for this one.|
Another aspect that really kept me glued to the film and kept me entertain was the performances. I already mentioned how great (and show stealing) Jeff Bridges was but Ryan Reynolds was decent in the film as well. Granted, he can’t compete with Bridges and his performance isn’t as strong as we’ve seen him in the past but when you teamed him up with The Dude as a Lawman, the pairing worked pretty well for me.
|This is the closest you'll get to a shirtless Reynolds in R.I.P.D., ladies.|
Other players in the film like Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker are terrific to watch as well. Bacon, even in the shittiest of films, is an incredibly talented actor and he made Hayes less of a “Bwaa-haa-haa” type of villain and more of a ultra-hip type of villain that, I would imagine, is how Kevin Bacon would actually be if he decided that he no longer wanted to be the killer actor he is and decided that taking over the world is more suitable for his talents.
|Bacon is such a good actor that he was actually asleep throughout the entire film|
and it was impossible to notice.
|Holy shit! Mike O'Malley did a role without wearing a |
|The Go-Go boots were a little weird though. Not entirely sure why...|
|Some reason, I can see them heading on down to Chili's for|
margaritas and appetizers after the finished their first case.
|Scientific Fact: James Hong is cooler than you or I will ever be. Why?|
Because he was motherfuckin' Lo Pan!