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February 5, 2014
R.I.P.D. Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
12/9/201315/1/2014Universal SonyRobert Schwentke
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MRyan Reynolds

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Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D.

As a big fan of the Men in Black and Ghostbusters franchises this looked like the perfect mash-up film with a sense of humour, the dead rising from the grave, and a battle with good guys. Development of R.I.P.D. though was apparently a little troubled, and the resulting film is one which left us, well, just read on...

After being double-crossed by his partner Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is a dead man heading to the afterlife - but before he makes it there he is thrust into the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.) where he is partnered with Roy (Jeff Bridges) to protect and serve the living from increasingly destructive spirits hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork to restore the cosmic balance... or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way.

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The CG is occasionally a little too CG looking.
Before starting this film my friend asked me what I think of Ryan Reynolds and my response was "meh - don't have an opinion either way". The primary reason for that is he's never done anything memorable enough for me to remember. Not only that but he doesn't stand out as someone with a lot of charisma and this film does nothing to change that whereas actors such as Will Smith can carry the MIB franchise while Bill Murray and Harold Ramis carry Ghostbusters with their charismo. Sadly, Jeff Bridges, also seems to mumble his way through this film - and yes, I know it's an intentional Wild West styled accent - but it just becomes annoying.

It's not just the actors though that fail to bring this film to life with a lacklustre script, poor direction and some mediocre CG effects. It's a shame because the premise is solid but it just fails to come back together.

R.I.P.D. is a poor man's Men In Black with worse acting, worse visual effects, worse dialogue and is devoid of any sense of fun. This is a film I desperately wanted to love, but it wasn't long before I realised this film was going to be a struggle and it was with the only highlight being the moderatly spectacular final 10 minutes or so. R.I.P.D. is a rental a best, and only if you've exhausted all other options (especially the Men in Black trilogy which has a surprisingly good third entry, or the classic Ghostbusters).

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Taking aim at the script - we hope!
This Blu-Ray presents R.I.P.D. in the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and it's a pretty nice transfer with colours that pop out of the screen, but a retention of detail in the many darker scenes. If there is a negative however it's that the CG work isn't great and the High Definition transfer brings out some of the flaws - we're thinking fatso running up the building in particular - however the finale has some pretty nice destructive moments.

We should also point out that R.I.P.D. is also available on 3D Blu-Ray and there are certainly some scenes - including the frozen death scene near the beginning or the final battle - that we could imagine would look pretty stunning in 3D. If you love the format - as we do - it might be worth checking out the extra dimension.

It's not surprising to discover that R.I.P.D. on Blu-Ray is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track that really is quite lively with aggressive use of the surround sound channels during the opening action sequence and also the climax of the film. Sound prioritisation is good so dialogue - besides some of Bridges intentional mumbly voice - is generally clear while the music is decent, but ultimately rather forgettable.

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Probably the funniest joke in R.I.P.D. (we won't spoil it).
There are several other audio tracks on this release including French, Italian, German and Spanish DTS 5.1 each encoded at 768kbps and each of which, from our brief sampling, should get the job done if you need it. The final track is an English Video Descriptive track encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps.

Subtitles are available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portugese, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and, we think, Arabic. Sampling the English track demonstrated accuracy to the dialogue, with the subtitles placed near the actors talking which works well in the faster dialogue scenes in particular.

Before we get to the extras we have to mention the menu system on this disc. There are literally just icons, no words and while you can work out what they mean (a book means chapters, and asterix means extras, the speaker means audio settings) would it have been too hard to write what they are next to it? Stupid, confusing and not cool.

Anyway onto the extras and there are a few on this disc and with plenty of on-set footage some of these are definately worth checking out in your spare time.

Alternate Openings (10:06/HD): Two similar alternate openings are presented here with Jeff Bridges character Roy interrogating the owner of a fish shop. The scenes are similar, but with different dialogue and unifinished visual effects.

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Looks like a Deados lineup at the police station.
Deleted Scenes (7:15/HD): Four scenes in total including :Alternate - Nick & Hayes to Raid", "Alternate - Julia Jogging", "Alternate - Made Love To My Skull" and "Deleted - Roy's Partner Shot Him". There's nothing too much here that would have added to the final film, but the final car sequence could have been nice with completed visual effects.

Gag Reel (3:46/HD): Not too much to get excited about here but fluffed lines - actually it's a shame more of this light-heartedness wasn't in the film.

R.I.P.D. Motion Comics: Bringing the Avatars To Life (6:08/HD): Here's a handful of scenes from R.I.P.D. in animated comic form. Mildly interesting, but nothing mindblowing.

Nick's New Avatars (1:00/HD): A quick look at some of the Avatar's for Nick at the end of the film. Some pretty interesting, and amusing, options.

Transferring R.I.P.D. (8:18/HD): This "Making of" featurette gives a bit of an insight and plenty of on-set footage into the making of this film, but ultimately it's a bit EPK-ish and too short to have any real substance.

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Mary-Louise Parker is solid as Proctor.
Filming The Other Side (6:29/HD): This focuses filming for the dead characters, the set design and a focus on the very awesome frozen scene from the early part of the film.

Walking Among Us: Deados and Avatars (7:25/HD): Also worth your time is this featurette which looks at the Avatars, filming and the visual effects required for the completed film.

Anatomy of a Shootout (7:59/HD): This featurette focuses on the final shootout in the film and gives a good insight into the 7 months of work that went into the final sequence. This is actually probably the pick of all the extras on the disc.

R.I.P.D. was a bitterly disappointing film for me. Sure there are some nice visual effects (particualrly at the end of the film), but the film lacks humour and was a struggle to get through the 95 minute runtime. Having said that the audio visual transfer on this disc is impressive and there are a few extras worth a look. For most, a rental will suffice.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Sony Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.