Editor’s Notes: R.I.P.D. is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Special Features include: Alternate Openings, Deleted/Alternate Scenes, ‘Transferring R.I.P.D.’, Gag Reel.
Police officer Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is about to have a bad day. He’s done something against in morals in the hopes of building a better future for his loved one, upset a lot of people, and when he goes on a bust with his partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon), he runs into that pesky little thing called death. That’s right, Nick is dead, shot down in his prime. But instead of heading towards judgment, he’s forcibly recruited by the R.I.P.D. (Rest in Peace Department) by a mysterious boss named Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker). There, he’s assigned a new partner named Roy (Jeff Bridges) and together they are about to unlock a huge secret that separates the living and the dead…
…Or something like that. Honestly, it’s not made that clear. But it’s based on a Dark Horse comic, and it does sound like it could be a new inspiring franchise that combines humor with dark elements. With a property this full of avenue, what could go wrong?
Further stretches of character development, plot outlines, even the history of the R.I.P.D. feels like they were cut down in their prime, and all we’re given is a highlight reel that does more harm than good.
Well, there are crimes are afoot here, with almost all of them being impossible to make up for. The obvious culprit for the starter of all cinematic problems would be the script. If there was a feeling that the final product displayed onscreen was indeed the real intention of the screenwriting duo that is Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi, then by all means let’s pile on the blame. If you look at their track record (Æon Flux, the Clash of the Titans remake), you would not hesitate to proceed with the bashing. And as much as it’s easy to kill the “messenger” here, there’s something in the air that stops that. Maybe it was during the early stages, maybe it was right before filming, but it really feels like a lot was left out the initial adaptation. A LOT. Further stretches of character development, plot outlines, even the history of the R.I.P.D. feels like they were cut down in their prime, and all we’re given is a highlight reel that does more harm than good.
The handling of the material feels rushed, from the chopping done in post-production all the way down to the big man, director Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, Red). It can be argued that he’s done good enough work before, but he doesn’t have a leg to stand on here. This whole world that Dark Horse Comics gave to us is rich with potential, but it also needs time to develop. Alas, that part of the process was left in the dust. Schwentke directs this like he’s trying to rush to the next gig. There’s utter sloppiness with the structure, as if there wasn’t enough respect to even try. Yes he gives us a few scenes that are pretty to look at (Nick’s death, the start of the final showdown) but they feel like they’re placed here and there to make us forget the overall despair of the situation.
It’s one thing if this movie was put together on the fly to make an ideal summer release date, but it wasn’t. This movie’s been in production for quite a few years; enough time for everything to be kinked out and patted down with care. Schwentke was chosen to direct long ago, and Reynolds dropped a few gigs to do this (coughDeadpoolcough). The question “This is the best they could come up with?” almost deserves to be screamed from the rooftops, but honestly, that’s just how it goes sometimes. Even when things seem in place, the final outcome of an ideal-on-paper team just can’t work. The direction and the final script we’re given is weak, and it also adds more value in the negative column that composer Christophe Beck gives us a strong candidate for the worst score in a movie this year. He’s done good work before (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Muppets) but he just blew it here. Any time the movie even has a chance of progressing into something decent (which was not often), the score takes the moment and stomps on it like a kid stomps on a ladybug. It’s devastating.
Any time the movie even has a chance of progressing into something decent (which was not often), the score takes the moment and stomps on it like a kid stomps on a ladybug. It’s devastating.
The only shining aspect this movie really has is the banter between Reynolds and Bridges. Notice how the word ‘banter’ was used, and not ‘chemistry’. What they have to work with is more than likely the key that prevents their combo performance from truly being one dynamic presence. Clunky dialogue is clunky dialogue (these days at least), and they do what they can. Sometimes their energy serves as a balance for both of them. Bridges is obliviously giddy, and Reynolds holds back (yes that’s the way the character is, but stretch it out a little). Reynolds has been dynamic before, but considering he was also a factor behind the scenes as well, he probably had a lot on his mind.
[notification type=”star”]39/100 ~ AWFUL. R.I.P.D.’s content has everything going for it. It’s got a great cast. To bad the rest of the team that made this couldn’t be bothered with actually trying. There was potential here, and it might have been reached long ago in the early stages, but alas…it was indeed long ago.[/notification]