"You're gonna have my ass? Don't be such a cliche."
In a summer filled with high concept, big budget fare, R.I.P.D. somehow managed to fly almost completely under the radar. The advertising campaign for the film was admittedly lousy (I think I only saw a trailer for this film once in all my trips to the movies) and they seemed to be trying to sell it as Men in Black-lite. While the film certainly takes great, often unnecessary, strides to differentiate itself from that franchise, R.I.P.D. is a much better film than I would have given it credit for based on the advertisements.
Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is a good cop who did a bad thing. He stole some gold pieces from a crime scene, along with his partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon). En route to a major drug bust, Nick has a change of heart and tells Hayes he's going to turn in the gold to evidence, and at the bust, Hayes guns Nick down in cold blood. In what is, visually, the coolest sequence in the film, Nick walks through the crime scene, frozen in time, and then floats up to the sky. He is intercepted from the white light, however, and brought to what appears to be a police holding room. Here he is given an offer by Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) that he can either take his chances with his impending judgment, or help boost his afterlife stock a bit by serving as a cop of sorts, hunting down "deados," or people who've escaped judgment and are hiding out on Earth.
When told that his beat will be Boston, the city where he lived, Nick decides to take the offer, in hopes of setting things right from beyond. He is then partnered with Roy (Jeff Bridges) a salty old west sheriff, who reluctantly agrees to show Nick the ropes. Nick sets out to make things right with his still living wife (Stephanie Szostak) and protect her from Hayes, who seems to be on a quest to find Nick's gold. As Roy & Nick dig deeper, they uncover a vast conspiracy that may lead the dead to try and take over Earth.