If you've seen the trailers for the upcoming action-comedy R.I.P.D and thought to yourself, 'This seems familiar…' you're not alone. From its premise of a secret police force to its cocky rookie and curmudgeonly old-timer, jaunty score, cartoonish slapstick, and outlandish CGI beasties, R.I.P.D shares a lot in common with the 1997 hit Men in Black. But Next Movie was good enough to made the side-by-side comparison above so you can easily see just how much director Robert Schwentke borrowed from Barry Sonnenfeld's sci-fi blockbuster. And the clips of R.I.P.D shown above are only from the trailer.
Based on Peter M. Lenkov's comic book Rest in Peace Department, R.I.P.D is set in a world where the dead don't always go to heaven or hell. Sometimes they linger, full-bodied and soul-rotting on Earth, and their very existence on the planet causes all kind of problems, small and large, for the living. Boston cop Nick Walker discovers all this the hard way when he's killed during a drug bust and promptly recruited for the titular law enforcement outfit. As the mash-up at the top of this post explains, the members of the R.I.P.D. are charged with collaring Deados, the bad souls that are hiding out on Earth. After being brought in by Mary-Louise Parker's no-nonsense Proctor, Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is paired up with a long-time R.I.P.D. officer, Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges, a proper cowboy from the Old West with his own way of doing things. Hijinks and Deado-bustin' ensue.
Personally, I don't mind that R.I.P.D is mimicking Men in Black so hard. The first in that franchise was a lot of fun. And with talent like Reynolds, Parker, and Bridges on board, R.I.P.D looks like it could do some interesting things with the slightly tweaked premise. For Universal Pictures, who distributed Men in Black and produced R.I.P.D, it seems a smart move to potentially attract audiences.
While R.I.P.D is based on an existing property, it's one most mainstream audience members have never heard of. (I certainly hadn't.) But the Men in Black franchise has brought in $1.6 billion dollars worldwide. So, clearly there is an audience that might appreciate R.I.P.D's similarity to a film series that doesn't seem destined for a fourth installment. But on the other hand, looking too much like Men in Black might hurt R.I.P.D, as the disappointing box office for White House Down was said to be in part because of its too-close similarity to spring release Olympus Has Fallen. But what say you?
Does R.I.P.D's similarities to Men In Black make you more or less interested in seeing it?
R.I.P.D opens this Friday.