Rest in peace before watching 'R.I.P.D'
By Shane Rothery, The China PostTry to think of some cliches. Write down a bunch and come back. I'll give you a minute… You done? Right, let's compare answers. Here's what I've got: Cops get suspended from duty for not doing things by the book, but they still save the day. A regular Joe wants to be a better provider to his wife, but she says “I have everything I need right here.” A dog barks to warn of danger that is imperceptible to humans. Buried treasure.
August 12, 2013, 5:28 pm TWN
All of these are in “R.I.P.D.,” and I bet most of yours are too.
So the deal is that Ryan Reynolds (I don't know what his character's name is, who cares?) is a cop who has stolen some gold (Jesus, yes gold) which should've been turned in as evidence. He has second thoughts and gets killed by his partner, Kevin Bacon, who is in on it. Instead of being judged and sent to heaven or the audience, err, hell, Reynolds joins the Rest in Peace Department. Teamed up with Jeff Bridges, playing an 18th-century cowboy, he is in charge of rounding up “Deados” — evil souls that keep walking the Earth disguised as people after death.
Reynolds is now an undead cop walking the streets of Boston, disguised as an old Chinese man, seeking out Deados, trying to communicate with his widowed wife and seeking revenge against his partner. It turns out, for no obvious reason, that Bacon himself is a Deado and has a master plan to unleash an army of walking dead using the gold from earlier in the film. That's what we in showbiz call “lame as hell.” There are some explosions and 3D. Nothing really makes sense, and it's obvious nobody tried to make it do so. The credits roll.
“R.I.P.D.” wants so bad to be a rollicking summer blockbuster, something where you just switch off your brain, laugh at stupid jokes and gawk at the action. But it fails. It fails on nearly every level. The plot just jumps around from one cliché to another and is so bad that not only does it take you out of the film, it gives you a headache. The jokes are never funny in their own right (A portal between Earth and the afterlife is hidden in a VCR repair shop, because ain't no one gonna look in there right? Har har har).
The CGI monsters look cheap and are neither funny nor frightening. The 3D is rarely noticeable and never necessary. There are a couple of good effects sequences, like one where a house begins to rattle and fall apart, but these just prompt you to think “Now why is this happening again?” and remind you that the story is unclear nuclear garbage.
The only strong point here is the acting of Bacon and Bridges. The characters are such clichés that they call for bad acting, and these two both deliver. Bacon plays his role as an evil, slimy douche with all the subtlety of a children's movie. Bridges mumbles and exaggerates every line he speaks. They're hamming it up and they know it. The highlight for me was, as the buildings of downtown Boston crumble around him, Bridges looks up and says “Holy (expletive).”
Bridges hams it up even more than Bacon. Reynolds, on the other hand, is the kind of guy who is so dull he isn't even capable of overacting. The movie is basically “Men in Black,” but instead of Tommy Lee Jones there is a Wild West Big Lebowski, and instead of Will Smith there is an amorphous pink balloon with a 5 o'clock shadow. Instead of Vincent D'Onofrio as the disgusting monstrous bad guy, there is a cartoon. Instead of a sense of cheeky fun, there is nothing. ■