R.I.P.D is property of Universal Pictures
Hello, Spongey here.
As you can tell by now, I’m on a quest to review every infamously bad 2013 film.Like I said in my Escape From Planet Earth review, I didn’t think it was an awful year, but it had plenty of misfires.
We’ve already looked at Movie 43, Inappropriate Comedy, Escape From Planet Earth, Planes, Super Buddies, After Earth, Getaway, Grown Ups 2, and of course, 30 Nights of Bullshit. Well, that’s what I call it anyway.
And we’re not even close to done. The Host, Mortal Instruments, Die Hard 5, Free Birds, Walking with Dinosaurs (when it comes out on DVD anyway), The Purge, and of course, The Lone Ranger.
Today, we look at another flick that ended up on a few worst lists. Sure,it didn’t reach the infamy of some of the above films but it was still hated. Right from the trailer, this was passed off as a Men in Black clone, for reasons we’ll get into later.
I wasn’t interesting in it, but I was shocked at how hated it was. It seems like the rip off element wasn’t the only thing people hated about it. It also bombed at the box office, which means not even audiences were fooled by it.
It’s based on on a Comic Book, which I didn’t even know until I did the research. That means it’s likely they just an old comic and made a bad movie out if it. Hollywood is good at that.
Anyway, there isn’t much else to introduce. I’ve been wanting to dig into this to see if it’s as bad as everyone says. So I guess it’s time to look at one of the worst films of 2013. From the writers of Clash of the Titans, and Ride Along, comes…this. Yay.
This, is R.I.P.D
The movie opens with some narration by our hero, Nick, played by Ryan Renolds. Goddammit dude, Green Lantern, The Change Up, and now this? You really need a better agent. We get a scene of him and Jeff Bridges here fighting a monster, as Nick tells us that, 3 or 4 days ago, he wasn’t in the “Rest in Peace Department”.
We then cut to “3 or 4 days ago” because some movies just like this pointless storytelling device. We see Nick with his hot wife, Julia, who has sadly graced this blog before as Julie from Dinner for Shmucks. (Great creativity on those names).
After some banter, Nick goes to work. He’s a cop and he talks to his partner, Bobby Hayes, played by Kevin Bacon. Through some forced exposition, we find out they found some gold during a drug bust, and Nick was supposed to keep his share to get a better life for him and Julie. But he regrets his choice and tells Kevin Bacon he wants to return the gold.
Bacon isn’t up for it at first but quickly decides Nick is right. Right after, the cops must do a raid on a warehouse with some bad guys.
“Don’t get shot today”
“That’s great advice”
aaaand, he’s dead.
During a shoot out at the warehouse, Nick is shot down….by Bobby Hayes.
“I can’t let you turn that gold in.”
Eh, saw it coming.
Instead of doing the “Movie’s over!” joke, let’s skip to the part where Nick is suddenly sucked up into a big whirl pool in the sky and finds himself in this room with this lady.
“You have skills that we want, so we’re giving you a choice. Take your chances with judgment or you can join the RIPD. The Rest In Peace Department.
She explains the RIPD finds recently dead cops and recruits them to patrol the afterlife and captured “Deados”, spirits that failed to cross over and instead stayed on earth as Monsters, but those pesky earthlings still see them as normal people.
So let me get this straight: We got a group of people who go after creatures on Earth who masquerade after humans. Remember how I said this was called a Men in Black ripofff? Yeah….this is why.
Now, I know this doesn’t sound 100 percent like MIB, as some bits are different. But come on, even the style (with a mix of action and “comedy”) is similar. Hell, the opening MUSIC kind of reminded me of Men in Black!
But hey, maybe it’ll get better. Hopefully it’s more of a MIB 3 than a MIB 2.
Also, why does Nick take this so well? Not to mention that there many questions about how this even works that I won’t get into. Also, way to jump into the plot right way when I know so little about Nick. Hell, I got to Alex Murphy a tiny bit before HE died.
This movie clearly needed RoboCop.
Nick will be joining the Boston Division of the RIPD and we find out the new young guy will be partnered up with an crotchety old guy. Yeah, they aren’t even hiding at this point. Besides, Ryan Renolds is no Will Smith and…well, Jeff Bridges could make a good Tommy Lee Jones but I doubt he will be.
Anyway, this is Roy, a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy typed, played by Jeff Bridges. Will I need to break out the Big Labowski (Don’t care if I spelled that wrong) jar? Only time well tell.
Of course, Roy doesn’t want a partner but he has one anyway. Then the two just go down to Earth, without learning more of how RIPD works, or even going through the “Here’s how it goes” crap with Bridges and Renolds.
I could be happy since that just makes the movie get closer to the credits but it would be nice to actually get to know this world before we go do stuff. They visit Nick’s funereal, and wait what? He was up there for a few minutes, how is a funereal here already?
Well anyway, Nick has to deal with the fact that he’s dead and his wife is kind of alone now. This would be a sad scene, except they rush through it and The Dude here keeps making jokes.
Nick tries to talk to Julia, but she says she doesn’t know him and some cops kick him out. Roy explains that the universe, or whatever, has made it so those Earthlings don’t see the RIPD cops as their normal selves.
Nick’s avatar is James Hong here, while Roy is-
…a hot chick. It’s a cheap joke but the sight of a hot chick and a old Chinese dude getting into a car to find some non-sexual Action, is honestly kind of funny.
Also, why didn’t Roy explain all that to Nick BEFORE he tried to talk to someone? So they head to the apartment of a bad guy who is suspected to be a Deado. Then Roy sees a hot chick a take notice of her…ankles.
“In my day, women dressed more conservatively”
“Yeah, that makes you way less creepy”
Okay, that was funny.
They talk some more, and it turns out Roy died because a partner of his turned on him and killed him. There’s a different between a clever parallel and lazily copying the back stories. Guess which one this is.
Anyway, they head into the apartment and talk to Stanley, the Deado suspect guy. Long story short, they are right and an action scene ensues. They kill him and two argue in a very un-funny fashion. Some of their conversations were slightly amusing before now, but now they are just talking endlessly about who keeps talking.
Also, Roy gives Nick’s “performance” on this first job a C+. This move wishes it was lucky enough to get that.
“New grade, F”
Okay, it’s NOT that bad so far, dude!
They go back to the RIPD HQ. In that last scene, they found gold similar to the gold Nick had and he notices Stanley was trying to hide it from them. Nick asks Roy if he has an informant they can talk, and he does. A Deado that he lets stick around in exchange for information. Also he’s a Red Sox fan because that’s…funny?
They visit the informant and Nick tries to interrogate about the gold. Elliot here says it’s “crap” so they leave Nick lets him keep a piece of the gold, and from their car, they see Elliot give it to his contact. Said contact is Kevin Bacon.
“Color me interested”
At least you’re interested. You would think I would have more to say but I don’t. This all pretty standards, and nothing is sticking out as awful or great, so I don’t have much to say. I do like how Nick was able to trick even, if that is typical for this kind of story.
Really, this all just “been there, done that’ so far. But we’ll see if it gets any worse. I will say that at times, Jeff Bridges dedication to this part can get some laughs, but at other times, he feels forced. Also, Renolds isn’t leaving much of an impression.
Anyway, they head follow Bobby to Nick’s house. He is comforting Julia, which means Nick thinks he’s gonna bang here. But actually, he is telling Julia that Nick had some gold, making her think Nick was corrupt or something.
Nick explains to Roy why he took the gold in the first place, and this leads to them bickering some more. Movie, this stopped being funny ages ago. Yes, I talk to movies. I’m not crazy!
Then they follow Kevin Bacon but Nick is sulking about how his wife thinks he sucks.
For once, I agree with someone in this movie. By sadly, it leads to more bickering! Roy tells Nick to suck it up or whatever. This makes some kind of sense but makes Nick whiny and Roy an asshole.
Actually, since this movie loves to rip off Men in Black, let me explain why that film got it right. Why the age gap did lead to some bickering and hijinks, there were plenty of moments where they had some respect for each other. On top of that, the characters themselves were actually charming, likable and funny.
Here, they are one dimensional, and they just bicker and it has no charm whatsoever. But their bickering is interrupted as some dude is stricken by Roy’s hot avatar. …Yeah.
Jeff Bridges telling someone that he is a “Woman” and “not a piece of meat” is somehow dumb and kind of hilarious at the same time. He smacks the dude, he leaves and that was pointless.
They see Hayes give the gold to some deado dude. They corner said dude and try to interrogate him.
Also, another joke involving a perv wanting to bang Jeff Bridges as a woman. By the way, the chick playing the female avatar is a model with this as her first film role. Yet it’s still not as obvious as the chick in Transfromers 3.
The deado dude goes full monster, which leads to a chase scene in the city. The effects on the Deado dude are kind of crappy but this action scene is okay otherwise, if a bit standard. Roy and Nick running around doing stuff is a bit of a distraction for the citizens due to their Avatars….which I think the powers that be should have just made them invisible to humans, like ghosts.
Would have saved us another “durr Jeff Bridges is hot chick/’ joke with these office dudes. They fail to capture the Deado dude as he causes a ton of damage. We cut back to RIPD HQ as Procter is more than a little pissed about the damage they caused.
But the guys upstairs give her a message informing her that the gold is part of some evil ancient artifact and Nick kind of helped doom everyone by unearthing it. The McGuffin can destroy the living world or whatever.
And a result, they are off the case. Now the writers are just hitting every beat of this kind of story, with the “off the case” crap. Besides, it makes no sense. Sure, they causes damage but they are likely the ones who could figure out how to stop Kevin Bacon and all that.
On top of that, they will be suspend and…erased. One mistake and bam, they are gonna be flat out erased. Geez, those guys upstairs are strict.
“Tomorrow is my last day”
So Nick runs off to talk to Julia. His attempt to talk to her is futile due to the whole…Avatar thing. This is first attempt at emotion that almost kind of works, to be honest. Even Roy doesn’t ruin it as takes this chance to explain they do what they do to protect people her, and yada yada.
“The job is all you have now”
“We don’t have the job anymore”
And one cliché piece of dialogue..damages it. But what will ruin it? The two bickering, of course! Only this time, Roy goes on about how life in his day sucked and he has been repressing anger and whatever. This could have worked but they stop it before we get real insight into his character.
“A Coyote made love to my skull. Do you know what that practice is known as?”
“I do. And I hope he got both eyes”
Aaaand, Nick is now a douche.
The movie notices that but they ruin it by having Roy…sing about it to himself. Huh? Then Nick literally apologizes a second later and they back to the issue of losing their jobs. The one chance this movie had at saving itself with an emotional scene has gone down the drain.
Seriously, not only do they rush through it but the way it’s written makes no indifferent to both characters! We didn’t really get enough insight into either anyway so that was all pointless.
With that, the two decide to go after the case on their own. We cut to Kevin Bacon as Julia calls him about her encounter with the “Chinese guy” as she suspects it;s Nick….somehow. He tells her to stay there as we cut back to Nick and Roy.
Roy talks to Bobby since his avatar makes for a good disguise. Nick then goes up to Bobby, who can tell the old man is Nick cuz of Julia’s call. Yet he doesn’t suspect the hot chick who happens to be close to him is an RIPD person.
“I know it’s wrong, but the cowboy talk thing? It’s kind of working for me”
So Nick and Roy arrest Bobby which means the movie is over….Yeah, you know by now that it’s not. They take him it and Roy brags about how he got the gold back and all that. As it turns out, Kevin Bacon is a Deado and he uses this device he smuggled to slow down time for the RIPD guys, but not the Deados.
I was about to ask how, in this case, Bobby couldn’t tell the chick was Roy but I think he did now, he was just humoring him so he can let them take him to RIPD to pull all this off. Okay, you escaped me this time, movie.
So now Bacon’s Deado pals storm the city and our heroes go there for a big action scene. Now the two are working together because we save slowly start to like each other as partners,and- actually no, it was extremely rushed.
Either way, they kick some ass while this big “end of the living world” storm thing start ravaging the city. Bobby shows up along with Julia and he reveals his whole Deado thing to her and explains his whole plan.
He needs Julia as a human sacrifice so he can use his ancient thingy to bring the dead to life and yada yada yada. How is that this plot is kind of overly complicated yet insanely standard at the same time?
Our heroes continue to kick ass, and I must admit, this whole climax is …fine. The action in this movie is actually kind of solid with some cool carnage, so at least the film has it’s moments.
Nick finally confronts Hayes while Roy works on destroying that ancient machine thingy. Long story short, Roy does so and Nick delivers the final blow to Kevin Bacon.
“I have a new partner now”
We see that line through the mouth of the old man Avatar.
Also, even though the action went on for a bit, this STILL feels Anti-climatic! So Nick finally kind of talks to Julia again and I hope this made her see Nick instead of the Avatar or this kiss is really awkward.
Anyway, this bit could have worked if I knew anything about these characters. At least there’s an attempt at emotion (putting this above some of the crap I’ve covered on here) but it’s not an earned attempt so, BOOO.
Oh, and the reason she could see him is that she was dying. Okay, that makes it work a bit better….but one cut later she’s recovering in the hospital cuz Protector gave her a 2nd chance. Moment ruined!
Anyway, back at RIPD HQ, Nick is told that he was left off with a warning as a new recruit cuz they had their hearing while they were gone. So even if they the world wasn’t in danger, they would have been home free. …Okay.
As for Roy, 53 more years have been added to his term even though he kind of saved the world.
“You just like having me around, Mildred”
She confirms that by making an odd gesture at him. At least these two had chemistry.
“She covered up her ankles with those damn white boots”
Yeah, I wanted to see his ankle fetish again.
Anyway, Roy pulled some strings to get Nick a new avatar. The new Avatar is a girl scout.
As dumb as that joke is, this image is glorious. And it’s the image we close on as the credits role. I don’t mind the abrupt ending as much this time, but like New Years Eve, the abrupt-ness just reminds me how empty the movie is. What did they learn? What was the point? I don’t know!
But hey, at least it’s over. After the hell I went through to get this review up on time, I’m glad it ended quickly. The end!
Unlike After Earth, I’m most certainly on the hate train for this. Well, okay not hate, as the film isn’t as awful as some make it out to be, but it was fairly weak. The main problem is that they pretty much rip off Men in Black, but fail to grasp why it worked so well.
So what we get a badly written version of MIB that makes MIB 2 look good. At least that one still had chemistry with it’s leads. There really isn’t much I can say about this movie as it’s pretty empty.
The story is pretty basic, hitting not only plot points from MIB, but any cop you’ve ever seen. I could forgive that if they clearly weren’t taking from MIB with the tone. I could even forgive that if it was still enjoyable…and it almost is.
I like this type of movie enough to almost give in to and, and I like the idea of a Cowboy Jeff Bridges with Ryan Renolds. When they start out, they almost have chemistry….but as I said, their bickering gets to be too much and they get involved in one poorly written scene after another.
Now I see why people say they had “no Chemistry”. They mean they had weak chemistry. The characters themselves aren’t very good either. Nick could have been interesting but in the end, he’s just the “rookie” and I didn’t like the forced stuff with his wife.
Roy starts off cool, but in the end there is little to him. Put them together, and we have a weak pair of leads. The villain is dull too, and he’s not even fun to make up for it. Protector is mostly fun but she doesn’t do enough to save it.
Even the decent idea doesn’t hold up as they don’t much new with it that MIB didn’t. See, Men in Black worked because they really took advantage of the world they created and the pacing worked to keep us finding out more and giving us development, and chemistry with the leads.
This movie just saps out any charm it could have had. The story itself doesn’t go into it awful or bokers zone, but some scenes are so weakly written it almost goes there. I admit, the film isn’t really painful as there is some okay comedy at times, and the action is mostly solid.
Half of the movie is especially lame but the other half is just meh. I can’t see this movie as awful, but it is kind of bad. The more I think about it, the weaker it gets. At least it looks good (except for the weak effects) and is decently acted, (though Renolds leaves no impression, unlike his other films we’ve covered).
Because of that, I’ll let it off a bit easy, but man, I’m shocked at how much I disliked this one.
Next time, we go back a bit for a good movie that you may know about.