The story surrounding the film may have looked good on paper, but did not seem to translate well to the finished product. The film had a somewhat interesting concept, but never seemed to build enough traction to really execute a great picture. The premise is we have Roy (Jeff Bridges), an old West law enforcement officer, and Nick (Ryan Reynolds), a member of the Boston Police Department, come back in different bodies and now are members of the Rest In Peace Department (R. I. P. D.). Their job is to capture people who have cheated their judgments and return them for their final judgment.
Robert Schwentke directed the screenplay by writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. And it doesn’t appear there is clear evidence as to why this film did not succeed more. It seemed to fail with a majority of critics and the general movie-going public. Some may have felt the film was unfunny and uninteresting. I tend to agree – to an extent. Perhaps the real problem with it was the direction. Through most of the film, I felt the pace of the film was slow. It was like watching a live theatre performance when the actors have low energy and the play just seems to drag.
I only enjoyed (if you can call it that) this film for the fairly decent concept. But there appeared to be several similarities with Men in Black. It almost succeeded in being a bad rip-off of Men in Black. Or, it did succeed in being a bad rip-off of the aforementioned film. It depends on how you look at it I guess. The climax of the R.I.P.D. just appeared uneventful as the heroes try to stop the “bad guys” from operating a device that is to open a gateway to unleash actual “hell on Earth.”
Although, the film did have some varying characters, they mostly appeared as weak, dull, two-dimensional characters. One might expect more from the likes of Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Bacon. That’s not to say the performances were necessarily bad, but they just didn’t seem to have much to work with in the script and direction. The seemingly sole character with any sort of redeeming qualities was Mary-Louise Parker’s Proctor, the “manager” of the Rest in Peace Department. She seemed to be a simple and straight forward, while still being a tough leader who runs a tight ship in the department. You might believe the actors had fun with the material (which appears to be what the film was meant to be – a fun, summer flick), but that just didn’t work for me completely.
R.I.P.D was released in the summer of 2013. It is evident the filmmakers were trying to make this a summer blockbuster with action, comedy, and a strong use of CGI. However, they lacked in story and character development, efficient use of comedy, and an apparent waste of time and talent with its lead actors. In R.I.P.D., we find a film that struggles with itself and leaves behind a skeleton of a potentially good film.