R.I.P.D. – film review

Poster from "R.I.P.D."
Poster from “R.I.P.D.”
Have you ever wondered what happens to bad people when they die? R.I.P.D. explores that in this film directed by Robert Schwentke and starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. The film is based on a graphic novel series by Peter M. Lenkov published through Dark Horse Comics.

Ryan Reynolds’ plays Nick Walker, a Boston police detective who is killed by his partner (Kevin Bacon) when he decides to back out after they take some gold found during a drug bust. He is sucked into a giant vortex in the sky and finds himself drafted into the R.I.P.D., an afterworld police force tasked with keeping dead people, known as “Deados”, from taking over the Earth.

The plot in R.I.P.D. was good but pretty predictable. Perhaps it’s just because he always plays a bad guy, but the moment I saw Kevin Bacon, I knew he was up to no good. I think he just enjoys playing the bad guys since I can’t remember anytime other than in Footloose where he played an actual good guy. Even in Footloose, he was the rebel.

Humor was well used in the film, and I really didn’t find myself groaning at any of it. It wasn’t really laugh-out-loud funny anywhere, though it was chuckle-worthy in many spots.

There was a bit of a serious thread moving throughout R.I.P.D. with Walker and his wife (played by Stephanie Szostak). I thought it was well played and didn’t ever get too heavy or make things unbalanced. In fact, it turns into a pretty important part of the overall plot.

The CGI was done pretty well, and never made me stop and think, “Hey, that’s CGI.” The monsters were not really spectacular, though, and seemed as if they were mostly “hired” stock bad guy characters from other films. They felt fairly typical as far as movie monster fare.

I thought Reynolds did a good job as the main character, much better than I would have thought from the trailers. At least one or two scenes used in the trailers weren’t even in the release I saw, so maybe that’s a good thing. Bridges did a good job as Roy, but I thought he was a little over-the-top several times. I felt a little channeling of his character in True Grit several times, but I’ll forgive that since Roy played an Old West U.S. Marshall.

It all boils down to this: R.I.P.D. never stepped beyond average. It wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t a great film, either. It was just there, and was an enjoyable popcorn movie without ever stepping it up to become a great film.

Release Date: July 19, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13

MySF Rating: Three point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 50%


Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 4 (frequent)
Nudity: 1 (side/back of a man who comes out of locker room shower)
Sexuality: 2 (woman in shirt and panties climbing on top of husband and kissing)
Violence: 4 (a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and horror violence, scary images)

2 thoughts on “R.I.P.D. – film review

  1. Good review. I still want to see it. Maybe at the dollar theater.

    Regarding CG monsters looking like they were hired from other films… I read on an animation forum recently that one problem with Hollywood these days is that the major studios don’t have their own stable of creatives anymore. The creatives move like nomads from job to job, bringing along a sameness. If I see yet another demon dog with a catfish head, I’ll scream. It’s like they’re just reusing CG data models between movies. CG models look best when they are based on a unique illustrator’s character designs. I’m not familiar with the comics, but if the CG monsters don’t look original, you might have to blame the source material.

    1. I definitely agree about the importance of having a lead character designer who gives a unifying vision to a project. I haven’t seen any demon dogs with catfish heads, though. Which films have those? Is it time for another fry?

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