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2013 | 96 min | PG-13 | 2.39:1



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Theatrical release date

 19 July, 2013
 20 September, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Technical aspects

3D (converted)

Box office




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Screenshots from R.I.P.D. 3D Blu-ray

R.I.P.D. Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, July 19, 2013

“R.I.P.D.” is a constipated picture. It’s easy to see what the production had in mind when cameras originally rolled, but editorial tinkering and general tonal indecision has coughed up a painless misfire -- a movie that could’ve been something sharper, sillier, and more direct with its action sequences. What’s up on the screen is flawed and noisy, trying to siphon “Men in Black” fuel without the imagination of Barry Sonnenfeld in play, and while it doesn’t come together, there are a few inspired moments to pick up the slack, and the presence of Jeff Bridges has the ability to lighten any mood, gleefully stomping around the effort like he owns it.

Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is a corrupt cop looking to stash away gold pilfered from a drug raid to preserve a financial future with wife Julie (Stephanie Szostak), making it clear to partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) that he no longer feels the need to steal. When Bobby double-crosses him during a shootout, Nick is killed and sent skyward to the R.I.P.D. (the Rest in Peace Department), where manager Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) informs the overwhelmed living corpse that his new gig is focused on the takedown of Deados, evil spirits that have found their way back to Earth. Paired with western lawman Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), Nick is ready to return to his life and reconnect with Julie. However, access to the real world is only allowed through avatars, leaving Nick to look like an old Asian man (the great James Hong), while Roy resembles a supermodel (Marisa Miller). While Roy attempts to break down the rules for Nick’s new reality, the recently executed cop is eager to follow the golden clues, watching Bobby collect special artifacts that reverse the gate to Earth, raining evil down on the innocents.

Perhaps it goes without mentioning, but “R.I.P.D.” is based on a comic book from Dark Horse Entertainment, with its wild visions of Deados and goofy avatars a natural fit for the ink and paint world. Bringing to the material to theaters is another story, as the screenplay is teeming with exposition, finding much to share about this law enforcement universe. There are rules to be established and characterizations to gel, most of which are only halfheartedly realized, including a strange method of Deado detection that finds the officers asking bizarre questions of the suspects to deduce odd behavior, while curry powder immediately reveals the monsters in question. There are special bullets to discuss, paperwork from godly management to be sorted, and the whole business with the gold bricks worked out, while the personalities themselves are equally in need of screentime to blossom, securing motivations and seeds of partnership between hothead Nick and old coot Roy -- a crusty cowboy who can’t get over the loss of his beloved hat early on in the film. It’s a lot of heavy lifting, and the franchise concrete is poured unevenly, as much of “R.I.P.D.” is devoted to explanation, not narrative progression.

Director Robert Schwentke (“RED,” “Flightplan”) doesn’t possess the expansive imagination to bring “R.I.P.D.” to life, content to drown the effort in excessive CGI, finding environments and Deados looking a little on the stale side, creating a boxed-in feel that makes a large film look surprisingly small. The ghouls are gruesomely designed (resembling demons from Clive Barker’s back pocket), but are little more than video game diversions, happily jumping around the city as Nick and Roy begin their pursuit. Action scenes aren’t propulsive, just scattered as Schwentke looks to inject excitement into a stale movie with car chases and gun fights. Frankly, Reynolds and Bridges look a little confused with their surroundings, never exactly sure how to gauge their performances while completely surrounded by greenscreens. The helmer doesn’t have the vision to break the plastic atmosphere of the feature, and attempts at humor are largely undercooked, killing the potential of the avatar bit.

Parker is mannered, Reynolds and Bacon are asleep, but there’s always Bridges to wake the picture up. Going full gallop as Roy, with his grizzled features and clenched voice, the actor is easily the highlight of “R.I.P.D.,” trying to enjoy himself when Schwentke labors through bogus scenes of emotion as Nick reaches out to Julia, with the movie failing to explain why the widow is so patient with the loving touch of a senior citizen she’s never met. Bridges is broad, chewy, and loud, but charmingly so, adding the only flavoring of the film. I can’t imagine what “R.I.P.D.” would’ve been like without him.

The feature opens with a flash-forward to a mid-movie chase, always a bad sign, and it concludes with a set-up for a sequel. It doesn’t seem likely we’ll encounter an “R.I.P.D. 2,” but if the dead cops do manage to return to the screen, I hope they’ll find a filmmaker interested in excitement and hilarity, not just numbing eye candy.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Robert Knepper, James Hong
Director: Robert Schwentke

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R.I.P.D., Forum Discussions

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R.I.P.D. (Ryan Reynolds) 335 Dec 08, 2013

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