The first (and only, since I already wasted nearly two hours of my life on this flick and don’t intend to give it the satisfaction of sucking up much more than that) thing we need to talk about when discussing director Robert “guess I should have done Red 2 after all” Schwentke’s abominable R.I.P.D. (based, apparently, on a Dark Horse comic that, thankfully, I’ve never read) is the potential for two lawsuits its release on a viewing public that can only be saying to itself “Dear God, I know we’re stupid, but what could we have possibly done to deserve this?” has ushered in — one against the studio that put it out, Universal, for blatant plagiarism of intellectual property, the other against yours truly for saddling this review with the most heavy-handed and overly-obvious headline one can possibly imagine. Let’s take both in order, shall we?
First off, Barry Sonnenfeld and anyone and everyone associated with the venerable Men In Black blockbuster franchise should be calling up every lawyer they know and seeing if there’s grounds for suing the fuck out of the “brains” behind this film, since it’s basically a big-budget, but decidedly low-rent, MIB 4. Okay, sure, we’ve got ghostly undead spectres hiding in our midst rather than aliens, but whatever. Jeff Bridges is essentially playing Tommy Lee Jones plus a beard while Ryan Reynolds is on board as a melanin-free Will Smith. Everything else is the same — young hotshot teams with older crotchety partner to blast the bad guys only they can see with special guns that will kill their targets in plain view for all to see — except, of course, people can’t see what’s going due to the advanced technology of said weapons. Throw in a nominal semi-romantic interest in the form of Mary-Louise Parker and have Kevin Bacon on hand to be — well, Kevin Bacon — and maybe you can fool a few of the more thick-skulled dunderheads out there for a few minutes, but even they’re bound to catch on to what’s happening here before too long. In short, this movie doesn’t even attempt to disguise what a blatant rip-off of a better idea it is because that would take more effort and originality than anyone was willing to bring to the proceedings.
As to the second potential claim to legal action, that’s a bit dicier since, while my headline is admittedly lame and bereft of anything resembling cleverness, there’s no law against being lame and/or cleverless (is that a word?), and besides, it’s still nowhere near as bereft of originality or intelligence as is R.I.P.D. itself. Therefore, I think, I’m off the hook. I deserve your scorn and derision, sure, but no jail time.
Still, maybe some kind of penalty is in order for your lazy host here. You could always choose to go see R.I.P.D. just to spite me, I suppose. But the only person you’d be punishing is yourself.