{2jtab: Movie Review}

R.I.P.D. - Movie Review


<div style="float:left">
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "pub-9764823118029583";
/* 125x125, created 12/10/07 */
google_ad_slot = "8167036710";
google_ad_width = 125;
google_ad_height = 125;
<script type="text/javascript"

3 stars

Despite shaky CGI, numerous reality-straining leaps in logic, and complete lack of tonal consistency, R.I.P.D. actually has a much bigger problem to overcome if it hopes to find an audience... even in this summer’s stagnant swamp of underwhelming offerings.

A more daunting task faced by this graphic novel adaptation will be finding an audience for its strange brew of procedural crime drama, sci-fi action, and buddy cop comedy. It’s never quite sure which it wants to be, and as a result, never fully manages its own identifiable persona. Instead, it speaks in faint whispers of Ghost, Men in Black, 48 Hours, and Ghostbusters, but is never as good either. That’s not to say there’s no fun to be had however. And that’s the interesting thing about R.I.P.D. Despite its numerous flaws, blemishes, and all the things it gets wrong,  the film still manages to entertain.

Born from the pages of Peter M. Lenkov’s Dark Horse comics graphic novel of the same name, R.I.P.D. the movie tells the story of two dead cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest in Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly demonic force of creatures that refuses to move peacefully into the afterlife.

Veteran Wild West sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges), killed in a 19th century gunfight on the dusty streets of Arizona, is joined by recently deceased Boston cop Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds), who was accidentally killed during a routine police raid.

Together, their mission is to arrest and bring to justice a special brand of outlaw called “deados” - essentially hell-bound souls who refuse to walk towards the light and cross over to the other side - trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the living on Earth. Once exposed by R.I.P.D. officers as deados (we won’t reveal their weakness here), these diabolical creatures “pop” back into their true nature - via digital imagery - which is usually an exaggerated manifestation of its crime against humanity. There’s ample light-hearted fun to be had from watching these creatures transform and subsequently wreak their own brand of havoc on the streets of Boston, but circa 2000 CGI always reminds us we’re sitting in a movie theater eating popcorn. Too bad.

With support from Kevin Bacon as Nick’s Boston Police Department partner before Nick dies, and Mary-Louise Parker as the Fresca-sipping, go-go booted bureau chief named Proctor, the R.I.P.D hopes to correct any ethereal shifts and ensure the natural order between the living and the dead is kept in harmonious check. But once Roy and Nick uncover an evil deado plan that could topple the delicate balance between the planes, the two cops quickly realize they are the only ones who can keep the universe from total collapse. But that’s just one of the logical inconsistencies that pops up now and again. Despite an R.I.P.D. force of hundreds, these are the only two officers assigned to quell the mayhem destroying downtown Boston?

The love story between Nick and his wife also fails to convince as Reynolds and Stephanie Szostak (as Nick’s wife, Julia) are never quite able to work up a believable chemistry despite numerous Ghost wannabe moments. Some questionable off-screen dialogue that seems to have been added after the fact never do the film any favors either.

Despite all the things they get wrong, those behind the film - including director Robert Schwentke - still manage to keep us slightly disarmed and receptive to the film’s unpredictable charm. The caustic friction between Bridges’ mustachioed Roy and Reynolds’ dapper Nick drives most of the comedy. And before all is said and done, Bridges’ loopy humor eventually wears off on us despite his - and the film’s - occasional bleed into cartoonish silliness. The film’s main conceit - that a strange world of rotting beasts, with the “soul stank” of a thousand corpses, walks undetected amongst the living - works despite its similarities to Men in Black.

R.I.P.D. feels as if its makers sensed problems early on, and in trying to salvage it, left indelible scars on their product. Then again, not sure any of this matters, as the film’s mixed-bag offerings will likely never find an audience anyway - other than the graphic novel’s couple-hundred fans.

{2jtab: Film Details}

R.I.P.D. - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality, and language including sex references.
96 mins.
: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon
: Crime | Action | Sci-fi
To protect and serve the living
Memorable Movie Quote: "Damn. I don't know what eyes to shoot you between."
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: July 19, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 29, 2013

Synopsis: Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds headline the 3D supernatural action-adventure R.I.P.D. as two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of souls who refuse to move peacefully to the other side.

Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission? To arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminals trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth.

Once the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick Walker (Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, two of R.I.P.D.’s finest must miraculously restore the cosmic balance...or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

R.I.P.D. - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 29, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English SDH, French; Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy (as download); DVD copy; BD-Live
Region Encoding: Region A

Universal's impressive 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation of the flick is pretty solid.  There’s no noticeable banding whatsoever.  Colors are natural and effective, with fiery reds and oranges, stormy blues and grays, convincingly saturated skintones, and satisfying black levels. Contrast is also consistent and detail is intact.  The look of the film is pretty clean and crisp.  Even the film's faint veneer of grain is present and accounted for.  The rip-roaring DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is quite the action-oriented experience.



  • None

Special Features:

Most of the special features concern stimulating cinematography tricks, technical stunts, and cast and crew interviews. The relentless mugging of Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon and Ryan Reynolds is on fine display in the hilarious gag reel.  Of more interest, especially to people invested in the development process, is two alternate openings, the second of which is a refinement of the first (why anyone would cut a scene that takes place at a location called Ting Ting's Fish Gift is beyond me), and a collection of deleted scenes made far funnier than they would be otherwise by the inclusion of unfinished special effects. This whole package will likely find many viewers on home video that'll appreciate it as well-executed cinematic comfort food.

  • Alternate Openings (10 min)
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes (7 min)
  • Transferring R.I.P.D. (8 min)
  • Filming the Other Side (6 min)
  • Walking Among Us (7 min)
  • Bringing the Avatars to Life (6 min)
  • Anatomy of a Shootout (8 min)
  • Nick's New Avatars (1 min)
  • Gag Reel (4 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}