Naftali Burakovsky, left, and Lorenzo Venneri
R.I.P.D. Should Rest in Peace
To be honest, we expected director Robert Schwentke’s R.I.P.D (Omega) to be terrible just from watching the trailers. But we walked into it with an open mind and not expecting too much. We just wanted a fun summer blockbuster and this film seemed to have the necessary ingredients: comedy, grand action, famous actors, and the undead.
This hope vanished instantly. Almost every aspect of the film was a failure. In the beginning, we were hoping to have a good time at the movie theater, but by the end, we were hoping to get a refund. Unfortunately, neither happened. The only redeeming quality of this film is its outstandingly poor box office.
R.I.P.D is the story of a deceased Boston police detective, Nick Walker, (Ryan Reynold) who is recruited into a specialized police force, aptly called the R.I.P.D for dealing with the unwelcomed undead.
Nick is the rookie who pairs up with the veteran Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), and together they work to patrol the afterlife and capture “deados,” spirits who remain on earth in the form of monsters. Sound familiar? R.I.P.D is a rip-off of previous better buddy cop comedies and action films about the undead.
Watching R.I.P.D brought us back to our childhood. But only because we felt like we were in the 90s. Everything about the film feels old. The CGI is hideous for modern standards, making the graphics look as outdated as the story, which was recycled from the likes of Men in Black, Ghostbusters, Constantine, and others. But while at least two of those films were good, R.I.P.D is inferior in every imaginable way.
To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with borrowing concepts from other films. Django Unchained did it, and the result was an original masterpiece. However, this film is blatantly cut-and-dry, with writing so lazy that it is ridiculous to think it took five different writers to assemble. The plot and conflict were about as predictable as watching a clock tick and as uninteresting as watching paint dry.
The way a story is told is always more important than the story itself, and R.I.P.D’s conceptual flaws could have been forgiven if it had proper execution. However, the film devotes far more energy to its concept than its execution. This film was orchestrated to be as universally appealing as possible, a flaw that makes it appeal to almost nobody.
To give you an idea of the abysmal execution, we point to the unfulfilled comedic potential of the film. For example, every officer at R.I.P.D is assigned an avatar on earth. Nick appears as a Chinese man while Roy appears as a blond bombshell. Rather than making anything out of this long running gag, the filmmakers waste it on only a few unfunny moments ─ typical of a film that tries to do too much and accomplishes almost nothing.
From the get-go, the poor execution overwhelms the poor set-up. We wish we could tell you there were enjoyable moments in the film, but we can’t. This is not a straight to DVD movie. This is not a straight to TV movie. This is a straight to hell movie.
This film, like its namesake, should rest in peace, never to be seen again. If you’ve seen this film, we’re sorry we didn’t warn you early enough. If you haven’t seen it, count yourself lucky to have escaped what is probably the worst film of the year.
Editor’s note: Lorenzo Venneri is a film student at Rice University. He does his best to give the most unbiased, honorable, and critical evaluation of any film. Naftali Burakovsky is an economics student at UCSD who has had a passion for film from a young age. He loves film, but always gives an honest and critical judgment to preserve the integrity of quintessential movies. Venneri and Burakovsky have been watching films together since they first became friends many years ago. Together, they are committed to letting you know what’s good and bad, what’s worth two hours of your time, and what isn’t. Direct contact: firstname.lastname@example.org