It’s weird, watching the opening scenes of a movie knowing the protagonist is about to die. It’s even weirder when he’s already dead. Yet that’s how R.I.P.D opens, with Nick Walker, played by Ryan Reynolds, explaining as a very large man leaps over his head that he’s going to tell us how he died, and why being dead involves having a very large man leap over your head.

The “how he died” part of the story doesn’t take long to get to. Nick, a Boston cop, finds himself in the midst of a warehouse firefight while chasing a druglord, and he’s shot about a dozen times by a supposed friend. The scene is gorgeous action porn; director Robert Schwentke proved with Red that he can do action, and the scene is a hair-raising mix of video-game slow motion and jump cuts through hails of bullets. But from the moment Nick falls, hitting the ground headfirst, everything stops. First intentionally — Nick finds himself wandering through a freeze-frame of the last moment of his life — then because the movie never finds its footing again.