There are countless films with the basic premise that sometimes, dead things don’t stay dead, and that’s a problem that someone has to deal with. In this film, the “someone” is the Rest In Peace Department, or R.I.P.D.
Ryan Reynolds plays a newly-dead cop who is enlisted to serve in the afterlife’s police force. His job is to hunt down “deaders” – rotting souls that still cling to the trappings of life. All of this is complicated by his inability to let his past die as he did – particularly with respect to his grieving fiancée and his double-crossing ex-partner.
From the opening titles, this is very clearly a comic book film. It’s based on the Dark Horse comics of the same name, which isn’t particularly well-known. Everything you would expect from such a film, you’ll get: quips, over-the-top spectacle, almost surgically-neat plotting with no subplots that don’t tie directly into the main narrative.
Nothing in the film looks realistic, with the weapons and the monsters all being a bit too obviously CGI. It’s not jarring though – Everything manages to stop just short of the uncanny valley, with the overall effect being “larger than life” rather than “clumsily faked”.
Overall, R.I.P.D. is sweet, self-aware, and somewhat satisfying. It delves into a style of humour that’s never been my favourite, but everything is competently done. It’s harmlessly fun in much the same way that Men in Black is, which makes sense given the similarities in concept and setting. The film does not have a good reputation, but I think that’s an accident of timing and audience rather than a reflection of its quality. It’s a fun way to spend an hour or so.