Movies: R.I.P.D.

Clumsily written and poorly executed on every front, there's good reason this film was a flop.

R.I.P.D. is based on a comic book. And it's not a bad idea. But the conversion here from comic to film was hamfisted and, well, just plain terrible. It's like they weren't sure what to go for. Should it be funny? Full of action? Big FX? Instead of picking something, they stayed in the middle, and the result is a muddle that isn't funny, has ridiculous action sequences, and is far from impressive on the visual front.

Seriously, there were moments when I said, "Well, if they'd done that this way, that would have been clever. What a missed opportunity."

And the story here was just so blunderingly handled. You've got Nick (Ryan Reynolds), recently deceased of the Boston Police. He's been killed by his partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon) because they chose to keep some gold instead of submit it for evidence, but then Nick found his conscience and wanted to turn it in. Okay, already this is a cliché. Bacon as Hayes could sleepwalk through the role it was so by-the-numbers. And we weren't even given time to like or care about Nick because they didn't bother to do more than hit the basics (loves his wife? check) before killing him.

Next thing we know, Nick is part of the Rest In Peace Department, a 100-year assignment that involves finding dead people faking it to make it on earth as they try to thwart Judgment. Okay, right, that could be fun. But again, instead of being fun or clever, we get a predictable tale of how the gold Nick and Hayes had been hiding is really part of some Staff of Jericho that, if assembled, will make the dead come back to Earth. So instead of the Avengers' Battle of New York, we end up on a rooftop in Boston, with a device that is about to open a portal . . . And we get a much smaller Battle of Boston that no one really cares about because, again, they've failed to establish character in any way that engages the audience.

I mean, I love Jeff Bridges. And he chomps and stomps his way through this morass with all possible style. But his character Roy, like all the others . . . No one cares. The writers have a big FAIL here because we just don't care. (And these guys have seven more projects in development? Really? Hollywood is going to let them keep doing this?)

Of course I knew going in R.I.P.D. wouldn't be good. Just look at the reviews. But I was hoping it would be so awful that it would be good for a laugh. But no. It was just bad, bad, bad all around. What really gets me, though, is that I chose it over Paranoia because on Rotten Tomatoes R.I.P.D. was 13% fresh and Paranoia was only 4% fresh. So if this crap is 13%, how awful was Paranoia??? . . . I may have to find out . . .

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