Reviewed by: John Decker
|Featuring:||Jeff Bridges … Roy
Ryan Reynolds … Nick
Kevin Bacon … Hayes
Mary-Louise Parker … Proctor
Stephanie Szostak … Julia
James Hong … Nick’s Avatar
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|Director:||Robert Schwentke—“RED,” “Flightplan,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife”|
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“Defending our world one soul at a time.”
Roy (Jeff Bridges) is a seasoned officer among those sent to what is, at the very least, a strong parallel of Catholic purgatory for imperfect lives. Their punishment is to serve in the R.I.P.D., capturing deados (dead people haunting Earth?) for 100 years. This allows them at least a better chance at entering the pearly gates. Their sentence on Earth is in a different body than their own, thus disguising them, as they investigate deado crime and capture or shoot them—contending with deado superpowers while wielding some superpowers of their own.
Critics have their gripes about this movie right out of the gate. It’s shallow. It has a lot of bathroom humor. Some say it’s a copy of “Men in Black,” some “Ghostbusters.” I am not a comic book reader, and I am not sure how close it is to the comics. If you’re looking for that information, consult your favorite comic book site.
I don’t particularly take “R.I.P.D.” as entirely unoriginal or as a copycat. Jeff Bridges’ performance is great, if redundant and perhaps a little out of place, even for this time-period-irrelevant role. It seems like he’s just begging to be type cast these days. The rest of the acting has its place among action films forgotten. The CGI is between pretty good and so-so.
Some of the humor is funny, and some of it is disgusting. At one point Bridges recalls that one of the coyotes which ate his dead body “made love to his skull.” This is not said in passing, by the way, and the thought is carried into the next scene, so you get to recall this morbid illustration. This is without a doubt the low point of the movie, and a low for movie humor, I might add.
As for the cursing, I do not have a count, but there is a whole lot of it. The Lord’s name is taken in vain a number of times poignantly, both of the GD and JC variety. Additional cursing mounts in the dozens of instances—lots of cursing with much bravado.
Sexuality: The majority of sexual content in this film is the cleavage of Marisa Miller, the woman Jeff Bridges appears to living people as. As with the trailer, the use of Marissa’s body instead of Jeff’s is a focus of the film. The movie begins with a woman in panties walking toward the camera. It’s a fairly long held shot, and since moving objects draw attention, the director knows the audience is drawn right to her crotch. This shoot could easily be deemed pornographic, even by today’s standards. This and several other cleavage shots and non-nude tight dress long held shots, as well as talk of lap dances, several references to an ankle fetish, porn, and infidelity and continuous casual sexual references speckle this movie throughout.
As for violence, this is a movie about violence. Most of it is bad guys that evaporate when shot, but there are plenty of painfully violent acts, people turning into zombies, blood, gore, rotted flesh.
Overall, this movie teaches little to nothing, although I had a revelation after thinking about movies and the revelations we get from them: Since we are always thinking, any film is basically going to teach us something—and if we are headed in the right direction, we’re bound to see a good message in part and parcel, if not in the whole. The most redeeming part of this movie is the love theme; we perceive Nick cares about Julia deeply. I don’t fall for it. If all of the above doesn’t bother you much, and you want to see some CGI zombies obliterated, well, there’s your content. As for redeeming qualities—any random short story or book most likely has mountains more to offer than “R.I.P.D.”.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.