Director: Robert Schwentke
Roy: “I’m what they used to call a lawman. Marshall Roysephus Pulsipher.”
Roy: “It was considered a very sexy name at the time.”
Nick: “Sounds like an STD.”
As soon as I saw the first trailer for R.I.P.D. I knew, for better or worse, I would be seeing this movie. As soon as Frances saw this, she agreed, and may have wanted to see it even more than me! When it was released at least a month earlier in the USA than in the UK, and received very negative reviews, we were apprehensive, but not put off. After a tough week of work, we made it to the cinema and eagerly awaited the start of the movie.
The story follows Nick Walker, a police officer who took some gold from a crime scene. Realizing that what he did was wrong, Nick starts to try to fix this mistake, when he has to go on an urgent police raid, and unfortunately he is killed. With his misdeed hanging over his soul’s judgment, he takes the offer to join the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department in return for a good recommendation at his soul’s judgment, in 100 years. The R.I.P.D. hunt down “deados”; the dead who remain on earth, becoming monsters and infecting the areas around them with evil and decay. Much to Nick’s dismay he is paired with Roy, a dead lawman from the old west, and someone who does not want a partner. After capturing a deado, Nick realizes that there may be something bigger in play than just a single deado. At the same time, he is having trouble being separated from his wife, and learns the hard way that not only does he not look like himself anymore, anything he tries to tell her about himself will come out scrambled into obscurity. Can he and Roy work together to stop an apocalypse, and can he accept that he is never going to be alive again? You can watch the trailer below.
The first thing about this movie that surprised both France and I (and everyone we talked to about this movie) was that Kevin Bacon is in this movie. I really dislike Bacon in movies, and really hoped when he only appeared within the first 5 minutes; in other words, I hoped that he died early in the movie, explaining why he wasn’t in the trailer. Unfortunately, for those of us who do not like Bacon, he is a major character and is in the movie until the end. I have since re-watched the trailer, and still no hint that he is in the movie, which is really rather baffling.
No lie, but the first 30 minutes or so were rough. First there was the Bacon thing, then (for me at least) there were SUPER unrealistic police procedures. Everything at the beginning was just slow, and the good parts were better in the trailer. Frances and I were close to leaving, but thankfully we stuck it out. The police procedures that bothered me so much makes sense later in the movie, but they still (obviously) bothered me! There is also a very uncomfortable scene in which Roy (Jeff Bridges’ character) eats some Indian food, and it was really disgusting to watch. If you can make it through those first 30 minutes, things start to pick up, but there are still some rough spots. However, some of the later parts make this movie worth seeing.
The one other big thing that disappointed us with this movie was how different parts of it were from the trailer. The most obvious is that the line, “Don’t tense up,” which was so funny in the trailer, is never used in the movie. In its place is the line, “Relax body.” The scenes are still funny, and the use of any phrase throughout the movie was going to work, but I preferred the, “Don’t tense up,” from the trailer. There are also a couple of parts from the trailer that were not in the movie. I was looking forward to these scenes and was sad when the movie ended without them.
Luckily, there were some really good parts to this movie that saved the experience. This first is the relationship between Roy and Nick (Ryan Reynolds). They bicker constantly and it is hilarious. There are some genuinely hilarious moments with the two leads playing off each other, and complimenting perfectly. They are both flawed characters, but they grow better through the course of the movie. Roy is still dealing with his death and how modern police work, and Nick is dealing with being parted from his wife. Their quips back and forth were some of the best moments of the film. Frances and I both laughed for several minutes after this exchange (the look on Nick’s face in this scene really makes it!).
Roy: “You know, one of those coyotes had his way with my head. You know what that’s called? “
Nick: “I know. I hope he got both eyes, Roy.”
One of the things I was most worried about, based on the trailer, was the CGI. In the trailer, the CGI is clunky, and at least one sequence looks like an exact copy of a sequence from Van Helsing (starring Hugh Jackman). However, I was pleasantly surprised. There were some amazingly breathtaking moments rendered in CGI. When Nick dies, and the world is frozen as he wanders, it is spectacular. The CGI is not perfect, as Nick starts falling upwards, and while the scenery is wonderful (if a little bit hard for those who get motion sick easily), Nick is obviously CGI. There are also some great CGI backgrounds in the RIPD headquarters. Most surprising though were the deados, they honestly were rather impressive, and disgusting!
The last part that really made the movie for me (besides some of the lines) was the use of the juxtaposition of what Nick and Roy look like and what the world sees them as. From the trailer it is clear that Roy looks like a supermodel, and Nick is an old Chinese man. While I was afraid this would be an almost throw-away gag, the movie uses this laugh throughout the movie, to wonderful effect. One of my favorite lines (Which I will add once I can find a transcript of it) is when a man suggests Roy should model, and Roy who is really not politically correct at all, gives a great feminist speech. The shooting of the scene switches back and forth between Roy and his female appearance. There are also some great shots were some male characters are swayed by Roy’s charm, and we see through their eyes, then it flashes to Jeff Bridges in the exact same pose! Nick’s older Chinese gentleman also provides some laughs, especially when he is holding his gun, which appears as a harmless banana! The twist at the end in relation to Nick’s appearance is also genius!
Overall, I wouldn’t mind seeing this movie again. I think there was a lot of potential for a better movie, but there are some really enjoyable bits. However, I will most likely never watch that first 30 minutes ever again, or the last moment where Roy is “billy goated” (his romantic interest walks up and lightly grabs his goatee with her teeth for a moment…it was horrible to see)! Also I am really looking forward to a blooper reel for this one.
Final Verdict: If you can push through the first 30 minutes there are some really funny scenes.