Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is having a very bad day, his police squad assists a S.W.A.T team on a routine mission to apprehend a gang and Nick is killed during the bust. Nick is then sucked into a portal that opens in the sky and transported to a special police station for special police officers. It turns out that this is a place for dead cops known as the R.I.P.D. or Rest In Peace Department. The department is like a Men In Black unit for dead cops. A place where cops with exceptional skills are recruited after they die. Their job is to find and apprehend dead souls who have chosen not to move onto the afterlife but instead stay on earth disguised as the living. Nick accepts the job and is partnered up with a dead lawman from the wild west called Roy Pulsipher played by Jeff Bridges. The duo then try to catch the dead people who refuse to leave earth and terrorize the living.
Many viewers will see some similarities between this film and Men In Black which is understandable. Both films follow a similar formula even though Men In Black deals with aliens and this movie deals with ghosts. Both films feature a young cop who is recruited into a clandestine organization and then introduced to a secret world where they have to do battle with strange creatures. Both films also have the new recruit team up with a grizzled veteran partner who shows the newcomer the ropes. As time goes by the two cops become friends and they work together to deal with a big threat that could end the world or make life very difficult for human beings. R.I.P.D. is also quite similar to other movies that deal with the same subject matter like Dead Heat with Treat Williams.
The cast is good as Ryan Reynolds is a dab hand at comedy and he has a nice everyman demeanour. Jeff Bridges can also be hilarious when he plays certain characters and he seems to be enjoying himself here. His performance here is a Rooster Cogburn impression as his personality, look and voice are exactly the same as the character he played in the remake of True Grit. The supporting cast includes Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon, Robert Knepper and also veteran actors like James Hong aka David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China. The director Robert Schwentke also knows how to handle action comedies as he directed RED with Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman.
The trailer itself is a decent effort as it gives details that explain the plot and also showcases some nice action set-pieces. There is also an increasing sense of urgency to it as there are plenty of quick cuts and rapid close ups towards the middle of the trailer. All this happens as Pulsipher explains the rules of the job to Walker. The ghosts look rather goofy and comical which fits with the tone of the movie. They resemble the odd looking gangsters from Dick Tracy as their attempts to mimic the living makes them look deformed and like caricatures. The action shown is fun if rather cliche as the film includes the obligatory car chase and various other scenes of the two cops in pursuit of their quarry.
R.I.P.D. is another film that does nothing new and that is really its biggest flaw based on the trailer. It looks like a formula movie that will have a predictable plot and few surprises. Some viewers may even write the movie off as a mere Men In Black ripoff involving ghosts instead of aliens. The film needs to rise above its inspirations in order to really stand out.
Jeff Bridges is always a welcome addition to any cast but it would of been nice to see him play a new character instead of a rehash. The actor is talented enough to play a broad range of characters and doesn’t need to repeat himself. There is a certain appeal to watching a wild west lawman take on ghosts though so it’s not all bad.
R.I.P.D. will be released in the summer and it could appeal to family audiences and fans of films like Ghostbusters, Men In Black etc. Kids will be on holiday from school at that time and they may be attracted to a movie like this. Fans of Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges may also give the movie a look.
You can catch this movie at the cinema when it comes out on July 19th. Have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.