Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Could be worse…
It’s not really a secret that I rate movies that are often hated higher than most. There’s a good reason for that. Besides my motto, that states: Sticking up for the Bullied Movies, I also grew up loving the art of film. I made movies with my brothers, and the thing of it is, I could never make movies like these people do. I gained appreciation for the hard work of others, and I see it better than most critics who haven’t gone through it first-hand. That being said, R.I.P.D. isn’t typically rated that highly, and my rating isn’t all that great either. It is, however, higher than most, and I hope to explain why.
Ryan Reynolds plays Nick, a city cop that was just shot in the face by his partner, Hayes (Kevin Bacon). You see, on a previous mission of some sort, the team found a lot of gold, and Nick buried his share in his backyard. Feeling guilty, he confessed to Hayes that he was going to turn it in. Hayes couldn’t risk that, so he shot Nick in the face, kick starting the movie. After his death, Nick was tasked in the Rest in Peace Department (R.I.P.D.) in order to track down “deados”, which are dead people that escaped judgment. When these deados “pop”, they turn into their true, metaphorical representations of themselves, and that is the monster that they really are inside. When Nick and his new partner Roy (Jeff Bridges) realize the buried gold had something to do with the afterlife, things turn upside down for them.
So. You can’t really escape a review of R.I.P.D. without at least mentioning the film closely resembled another series…Men in Black (MIB). Two guys, one stern, one comical, government agency that doesn’t exist, tracking down impossible-looking creatures, plenty of jokes and visual effect to go around…the list goes on. I would say it’s rather reasonable to say that at least some inspiration came from MIB. That being said, this is in fact a film based off of a comic book…but the comic came out after MIB, so…yeah either the movie or the comic was ripping off MIB.
The characters…are okay. The thing that makes Bridges funny isn’t so much the things that he says, and more along the lines of who his character is. Roy is a memorable and colorful character. He cracks jokes now and then, sure, and some of the jokes are alright, but it’s just his presence that you’ll actually remember. As for Reynolds, his character was awfully typical, unfortunately. He’s obviously made unspecific in order to connect with people on different levels, but at the same time…he’s just not unique. For a film like MIB, both characters were very funny and very memorable. There may be similarities between these two films, but MIB is clearly the more successful film.
I am okay with movies ripping each other off now and then if they can make it their own thing in the process. R.I.P.D. certainly had its moments, and there were things in there that separated it from MIB, but it just wasn’t enough to be seen as unique in anyway. The CGI and animation was a bit cartoony, some of the jokes were stale, and the story was just okay. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, since the trailers even looked like Men in Black. I guess I was just expecting something special for the movie to have. A quality that might make people second guess between a decision to watch either film. In the end, though, it is no competition, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Overall, R.I.P.D. has its moments, but is simply a clone of Men in Black when it comes right down to it, and a poorly done clone at that.