R.I.P.D. Blu-ray Review

Boston Police Department detectives Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds, GREEN LANTERN) and Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon, who is exactly zero degrees from himself) have successfully completed a drug bust. Even better, they managed to lift a large quantity of gold for the both of them that should set them up for early retirements. After his conscience gets the best of him, Nick decides to return his share. Bobby seems to agree—until he plants a storm of bullets in him.

R.I.P.D.

Wait—they kill Ryan Reynolds in the first 15 minutes? Well, not exactly. Shortly after departing from New England, Nick awakens in the office of Mildred Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker, Showtime’s WEEDS), who offers him a position with the Rest in Police Department, or R.I.P.D., which is staffed by recently deceased members of the force. His partner: Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges, TRUE GRIT), a former U.S. Marshal with the outfit and quick draw to prove it.

Their job is to track down any man who has escaped certain fate and see that they get what’s coming. These individuals are known as Deados and, when they digest Indian food (could be the cumin?), they appear in the form of blubbery-bellied slobs who look like they’ve been extracted from Walmart: The Video Game. As a side task, Nick takes the time to track down Bobby, who is deeper in the grand scheme of things than might be expected.

Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D.

Those that see the Dark Horse Entertainment label and think they’re getting something in the style and quality of HELLBOY will be sorely disappointed. R.I.P.D. is a disaster from start to finish. Its idea of action is CGI-dependent explosions, and idea of laughs is having Roy’s avatar on Earth a sexy Russian blonde (model Marisa Miller) and Nick’s an old Chinese man (James Hong, the highly prolific actor who’s appeared in everything from THE NEW ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE CHAN to SEINFELD). This all from a $130 million budget.

R.I.P.D.

The movie is wildly off in nearly all visible accounts. The screenplay, by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (who previously teamed up for CLASH OF THE TITANS and AEON FLUX), wants to feel original in the same way COWBOYS VS. ALIENS did. But Hay and Manfredi apparently didn’t realize that simply mashing up different genres (here, cop actioner and ghost comedy, we guess?) isn’t a recipe for a blockbuster. Director Robert Schwentke (who adapted the WildStorm comic RED for the big screen in 2010) also doesn’t seem to have a clue on where the line between serious and jokey is and so guides R.I.P.D. into an uneven pile of, in the words of Miss Proctor, “unprecedented cock-up.”

R.I.P.D.

And then there are the stars. Bridges seems to have a fun enough time hamming it up as the 19th-century lawman (and offering a different take on the rough U.S. Marshal than Rooster Cogburn). Meanwhile, Reynolds simply recites his lines and tries not to damage his jawline. You can practically see him daydreaming about the DEADPOOL spinoff and how starring in R.I.P.D. may not be a move to get that ball rolling any faster.

R.I.P.D. BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Aside from the point that this high-definition transfer helps expose just how bad some of the special effects (namely, the Deados), this is a very strong presentation. Colors and textures are strong throughout, giving the movie an extra bit of pop.

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1; French DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. The action sequences in R.I.P.D. may not be exciting, but they at least sound like it. Dialogue is fine throughout, but it’s the sound effects (explosions, gunfire, any Deado noises) that make this transfer an extremely strong one.

R.I.P.D. Motion Comics: Bringing the Avatars to Life (6:08) features animated storyboards for a handful of scenes.

Nick’s New Avatars (1:00): This short montage features a collection of alternate avatars for Nick, including Santa Claus and a Mexican wrestler.

Transferring R.I.P.D. – The Making of (8:18): This making-of featurette uses interviews, on-set footage and clips to offer a brief overview of how R.I.P.D. went from graphic novel to movie.

Filming the Other Side (6:29) looks at the role special effects had in the action.

Walking Among Us: Deados & Avatars (7:25): This featurette looks at the importance of avatars and Deados in the story, as well as some of the SFX and stunt work involved.

Anatomy of a Shootout (7:59) is devoted to how the climactic shootout was achieved.

Deleted/Alternate Scenes (7:15): There are four here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Nick & Hayes to Raid,” “Julia Jogging,” “Made Love to My Skull,” and “Roy’s Partner Shot Him.”

Gag Reel (3:48)

Alternate Openings

OVERALL 2.5
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