What happens when you die? In the first official trailer for Robert Schwentke’s R.I.P.D. - which stands for “Rest in Peace Department” - the first thirty seconds detail how the souls of the dearly departed make it to the other side, while the other 220 focus on the ghastly things Nick Cruz Walker (Ryan Reynolds) must deal with once he gets there.
If there’s no rest for the wicked, there’s no rest for the just, either, at least if Universal’s adaptation of Peter M. Lenkov’s graphic novel has anything to say about it.
The film follows Nick, a deceased police officer, as he acclimates to life after death and becomes a member of the titular spectral law enforcement group. He’s partnered with veteran R.I.P.D. officer and former cowboy Roy Powell (Jeff Bridges); together, they’re pitted against a seemingly endless parade of phantasmal foes, dispensing their brand of posthumous law and order as they see fit while Nick, a fish out of water, struggles to figure out who murdered him.
On paper, it sounds like fun, and the brief, quick-cut trailer seems to support that notion. R.I.P.D. has been in the works for the last two years, ever since Schwentke first took the directing gig in 2011, so the sight of a trailer may actually serve to remind some people of the project’s existence.
At the same time, it’s likely to strike some people as a cross-genre cocktail combining elements from Men In Black, True Grit, and Ghostbusters, and that’s probably fair. Bridges looks like he’s in full Rooster Cogburn mode here, while the playful, creepy, and varied monster designs – and the high-tech weaponry – recall the exploits of Agents K and J as well as Peter, Ray, Winston, and Egon.
But there’s a lot of other common ancestry here, too, both on the page and on the screen. Inspiration from titles like Constantine and Hellboy - as well as Hellboy‘s comic book spin-off, B.P.R.D. - echoes in the action displayed here, while the clash between the wild West and modern, sci-fi elements recall a little bit of Cowboys & Aliens. In other words, R.I.P.D. looks like it contains a veritable smorgasbord of influences, and the results look like they’ve got potential.
Schwentke isn’t new to making comic book movies – he made RED back in 2010, a film that did surprisingly good business and earned some strong critical praise as well. (That film’s sequel, RED 2, comes out at the end of the summer.) R.I.P.D. will reunite him with Mary-Louise Parker, his leading lady for RED, and Reynolds rounds out the casting with his Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine experience.
At a glance, it looks like the performance to savor here will be Bridge’s; he’s going ham, and if Schwentke and the rest of the cast understand the sort of movie they’re making as well as Bridges appears to, R.I.P.D. could be an awesome ride (though we’ll have to wait until July to know for sure).
In tandem with the release of the trailer, Universal has also unveiled the film’s official poster – sleek, cool, and to the point, though admittedly lacking in the wacky supernatural elements that give the teaser its appeal. You can check out the one-sheet below:
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Alright, Screen Ranters, it’s your turn to weigh in. Does R.I.P.D. look like it’ll live up to its potential, or will it just be remembered as a riff on franchises like Men in Black? Let us know in the comments.
R.I.P.D. opens in the US on July 19th, 2013.