STORY: A Boston cop is shot dead, only to have his spirit join the ranks of a police force comprising the deceased. Their job? To capture ghouls who refuse to leave Earth. REVIEW: About half an hour into R.I.P.D, its ingredients become apparent: Take one part Ghostbusters, throw in a helping of Men In Black, some Van Helsing, add a buddy-cop garnish and what you get is gloop instead of stew.

Nick (Reynolds) and his cop partner Hayes (Bacon) find themselves in a shootout in a tough part of town. Bad cop Hayes fills Nick full of hot lead, and the latter is sucked into a vortex in the sky (not quite a stairway to heaven, this!) to land up in the office of Proctor (Parker) who helms the Rest in Peace Department. She makes him an offer, telling Nick that their job of capturing spirits is critical because too many of them loitering around on Earth can cause some kind of cosmic imbalance that can prove cataclysmic for humankind.

The briefing done, Nick is introduced to his new partner, Roy (Bridges) who grudgingly accepts him. Along the way, they learn about a plot that could lead to Earth’s destruction. There are some fun bits – when the two walk amongst the living, they are visible to humans as an ‘avatar’.

Roy appears to people as a hot blonde and Nick, an old Oriental dude. An incongruous pairing from which more gags could easily have been extracted. Ryan’s expressions oscillate between angry, incredulous and gobsmacked; it’s as if he’s wondering what the hell he’s doing in such an inert, roughlyscripted movie. Bridges, resembling a gun-slinging Colonel Sanders with a bigger moustache, is his gruff, comic self. His gags save the movie from utter dullsville. On the whole, despite some zippy camera work and the occasional time-slice photography, it’s surprising how plain this big budget ($130 million) film looks. By and large, grossly underwhelming for a movie that could have delivered so much more.

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