Thursday, 1 August 2013

R.I.P.D.: unspeakably bad from start to finish

Directed by Robert Schwentke
Written by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi and David Dobkin
Starring Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Marie-Louis Parker and Kevin Bacon
Running time: 96 minutes
Review by Geoff Dale
One might expect a film starring one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors and an Oscar winner to boot, Jeff Bridges, to be worth at least the price of admission.
Sadly that is the not the case of the abysmally awful R.I.P.D., an unwatchable, disjointed mess with a clever premise that was destroyed by bad directing, even worse writing and too much reliance on useless special effects that do little more than blur action scenes into inconsequential moments of mind-numbing but ultimately boring flashes and streaks of light.
In a summer season that has already produced a substantial number of box office bombs, most notably Johnny Depp’s nonetheless quite entertaining The Lone Ranger, R.I.P.D. surely ranks as the worst of this dismal lot – noisy, nonsensical and devoid of any real entertainment value.
So, what’s it all about? R.I.P.D., the Rest In Peace Department, is purportedly based on a Dark Horse comic created by Peter M. Lenkov. It’s a heavenly police force that hunts down dead villains and dispatches them to hell. Sounded promising until writers Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi and David Dobkin, along with director Robert Schwentke, got their collective hands on this rather clever premise.
Ryan Reynolds is a Boston cop by the name of Nick Walker, assigned to be a gunslinger for R.I.P.D. after being shot dead by his nefarious partner (Kevin Bacon). When he arrives, Mary-Louis Parker brings him up to speed on his duties, introducing him to his new partner, a wild-eyed 19th Century lawman named Roy Pulsifer (none other than Jeff Bridges), who looks and sound like a cross between Buffalo Bill, Rooster Cogburn, Yosemite Sam, KFC’s Colonel Sanders and Slim Pickens all rolled into one uncomfortably silly package.
Bridges could have reasonably funny in the role, at least in the looks department, but when saddled with such inane dialogue as, “You know, one of those coyotes had his way with my head. You know what that’s called”, it simply leaves you scratching your head in bewilderment, all the while questioning the writers’ sanity.
Reynolds on the other hand simply sleepwalks through his role while Parker appears to be looking for the nearest exit to get out of this cinematic mess and Bacon may be up for an award as the most non-descript lackluster villain ever to hit the silver screen.
Then there are those chaotic special effects that fly at you from every direction and set designs that assure you the R.I.P.D creators were keen on creating another Men In Black. That’s unfortunate for them, because the end result looked more like the disastrous, soulless Men In Black 2.
Now before you consider wasting good money on this wretchedly bad comic-book adaptation, consider this little tidbit – it was not screened in advance for critics. Small wonder because it would have been savaged well in advance of its opening weekend, primarily as a public service to potential unsuspecting audience members.
Rated PG-13 (numerically that refers to the required IQ for a ticket purchase); this is the fourth outing for Reynolds in a comic-book adaptation, his worse and, let us pray, his last.
There’s still time left in the summer but at this point R.I.P.D. (which should have done exactly that – rest in peace) is clearly leading the pack in contention for worse blockbuster of the season honours.

A mainstream film can’t be much worse than this.
1/2 star out of 4
This review was originally posted on line at Donald's Dish.

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