Friday, July 19, 2013

R.I.P.D Review

R.I.P.D. is a movie that most critics are calling D.O.A. Yes. I just said that. A poorly done Men in Black rip off is what it's being labeled as. Yes, I know it's based off a comic book, but the comic book itself actually came out after Men in Black did, so I feel justified in calling it that. Both are movies about monsters/aliens that secretly exist in our society. Both star a team of secret agents working on stopping these monsters/aliens. In both cases one agent is old and experienced and the other brand new. Both try to use this premise to be light-hearted action comedies to simply please crowds without being super in depth or complicated. The differences? One of these movies works well, has a fun plot, and has decent special effects. The other just falls apart and fails in about every category. And no, I'm not dissing on Men in Black. On top of that it is coming out on a crowded weekend in a crowded Summer and unfortunately there is only so much money to go around and so many movies that people have time to see and when cheap rip offs like this come out in a busy time of year, they are good candidates to just get ignored. Well, I managed to go see it because that is what I do. I go to movies and then write about them so I can give out recommendations. You were probably planning on skipping this one this weekend and I am here to tell you that that would probably be a good decision.

So in discussing the failures of R.I.P.D., I want to start at the top with the premise of the movie. Our main character, who is a police officer, gets shot and killed in a police raid and since he kinda failed in life, while he is getting swept up to the afterlife, he gets intercepted by the R.I.P.D., or the Rest in Peace Department. They realize his failures and thus want to use him in their force because he is really good at what he does and after working for them, he can potentially redeem himself. What does the R.I.P.D. do? Well, apparently there are too many people dying these days and the afterlife system wasn't designed to handle that many deaths at once and so a lot of the people end up slipping through the cracks and are able to stay on Earth without getting getting judged. The R.I.P.D. goes out and finds these people to take them to judgement. And in the meantime, the R.I.P.D. is able to use certain foods and powders to turn them into giant ugly monsters, confirming that they are indeed dead. Yeah, that whole premise just felt completely ridiculous to me. Men in Black's premise was fun. This one was just stupid. And along with that, it felt very choppy and cheap in how in how the story line was put together. Add to that, it was also extremely predictable.

Moving downwards, the next failure comes with the two lead roles. Men in Black had Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith and they were perfectly together. R.I.P.D. has Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. Now both Bridges and Reynolds are good actors, so you would think they would be great, but there is just zero chemistry between the two. I wouldn't say their acting is bad in this, although Jeff Bridges' voice got super annoying super fast, but for some reason they just don't work together well in this and that probably has a lot to do with the script and the writing. Next up is the CGI. The "deadies" as they were called were just awful. It looked like cheap, poorly done CGI that I think was actually outdone by the first Men in Black, which is rather sad. Now all of this could possibly be forgiven if this was a kids movie. Kids in watching shows don't have a high bar and can be entertained by a movie like this. However, R.I.P.D. didn't even seem to know what target audience it was going for because this was a kids style movie, but there was enough sexual content in the movie that I would suggest parents keep their kids far away from this. They were obviously trying to go for adults and kids at the same time and sadly they missed both of them.

Were there some redeemable qualities? Well, yes. It wasn't a complete mess. Like I referred to before, the acting in the movie is actually pretty good. Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon and others all did a decent job, they just weren't given much to go with so they did the best they could. Also, while a lot of the comedy fell flat, there was several moments where I did find myself laughing or chuckling. Also towards the end the movie grows on you a little bit and thus you can have some fun with it towards last half of the movie, but overall none of those aspects were able to overcome all the follies that I have mentioned before, so I will have to recommend that if you are in the mood for a silly movie with aliens/monsters and secret agents hunting them down, just go rent Men in Black and skip R.I.P.D. Or at the very least, wait until you can see it for cheap. My grade for the movie is a 5/10. 

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