In terms of “most anticipated summer movies,” “R.I.P.D.,” a new supernatural action film from Universal that stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, didn’t even chart before today. In fact, we’re not sure we quite understood what it was even supposed to be – it has a primo July 19th release date but very little in terms of pre-release hype, save for a vaguely “Men in Black“-ish teaser poster and a funny/cool name (it stands for “Rest In Peace Department” – love the puns). But with the debut of a full trailer, it looks like “R.I.P.D.” could be one of the sleeper surprises of the summer, promising gobs of goofy, spooky fun.
The trailer sets up the basic premise, which is borrowed from an obscure Dark Horse comic book by Peter M. Lenkov – Reynolds plays a young cop who is killed in duty and then whisked away to a “Beetlejuice“-y afterlife, where he’s reassigned to the Rest In Peace Department, keeping escaped demons and other ghouls from interfering with the human world. He’s partnered with Bridges, who, by the looks of it, plays some kind of old west lawman (we’re not really sure what the rules of time and space are in this vague supernatural situation). “We,” Bridges growls, “are the greatest lawmen that ever lived and died.”
Cut to: a bunch of gruesome, ripped-from-“Hellboy” monsters, some impressively inky visual effects (we like that the creatures turn into a cloud of ashy smoke), and some truly awesome production design (courtesy of the perennially underrated Alec Hammond). For the most part, it all works. It looks like a hellzapoppin’ amalgam of “Men in Black,” “Hellboy,” “Ghostbusters” and “Constantine,” and while not all of the jokes hit (we’re unsure on the gag about the agents’ human-world disguises), it still looks undeniably cool. Noticeably missing from the trailer: Kevin Bacon as the movie’s big bad.
“R.I.P.D.” was directed by German filmmaker Robert Schwentke, whose first American film, “Flightplan,” was drenched in an admirable style, but who has since coasted through middling studio projects like “RED” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” This looks like he’s stepping things up considerably, and we honestly think that this could carve out a niche for itself amongst all the bigger, more high profile properties on the market this summer. It seems like it’s got just the right amount of spooky and scary and the action sequences look comparably choreographed. Also, put a grizzled wild west Jeff Bridges with anybody and we’ll be there.
Watch the trailer below courtesy of Hey U Guys. The film opens on July 19th (and in the UK and elsewhere on August 30th)