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If you were to take Men in Black and mix it with a dash of Lethal Weapon and stick it with a comic book overtone, you might end up with ‘R.I.P.D.’, the latest graphic novel to be taken to the big screen starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges.
When one of Boston’s Finest, Nick Walker (Reynolds), is shot by his partner, Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself recruited to the Rest In Peace Department, a police force for the undead. He is destined to walk the Earth hunting “deados”, bodies that failed to cross over into the afterlife and who walk amongst the living with his partner Roy (Jeff Bridges).
In an effort to get some closure on his death and relationship, Nick stumbles upon a plot where the deados are collecting gold pieces to try and rebuild the Staff of Jericho which will stop the dead ascending to the afterlife and allow them to roam the Earth.
It’s rather a ridiculous premise that is made even more so when its revealed that when the R.I.P.D. patrol the Earth they aren’t seen as themselves but some oddball character – the universe’s witness protection programme. Roy is a hot blonde who gets constant attention from men and Nick is an old Chinese guy. This doesn’t really work as humour with the film cutting in and out of Nick and Roy and their alter egos. The only time it raised a curl in my mouth was when Nick was trying to shoot a deado when it cut to the old Chinese man holding a banana.
We follow a rather obvious buddy cop formula too, with the experienced veteran not impressed with the rookie until they ultimately gain a mutual respect for one another. Add to this the lack of any real chemistry between the two leads and we’ve got a rather lifeless journey ahead of us.
Despite companies like Marvel and (to some extent) DC really able to pull off turning their comic material into movies, it isn’t something that everyone should try to do just because comic book movies are the in thing. Even the big players make duds every now and then, and just like the Green Lantern (also starring Ryan Reynolds – maybe there’s a connection there?), this is one that was probably best left to the print and paper.