Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I guess some people have mentioned that this movie ‘Repo Men’ rips off the extremely odd cult musical ‘Repo: The Genetic Opera’ which really isn’t all that accurate. The concept of a near future where dudes repossess your mechanical vital organs is a unique one but ‘The Genetic Opera’ was a wacky, crazy, out of left field, relationship musical drama. It almost defies description. This was just a run of the mill action flick. If you try really hard you might be able to read something into the subtext but why bother? Accept it for what it is, that being a run of the mill, hyper violent action flick, and you should be okay with this one. If not overly thrilled.

In this not-to-distant future we meet Remy (Jude Law), a repo man for this ubiquitous company called The Union. The Union leases people new organs at APR’s that would make the Mafia blush and if you’re past due after ninety days… well… just find a way to pay your bill. It would seem that these repo men are independent contractors and get paid on a commission basis which has led for a halfway decent life for Remy, his wife Carol (Clarice Van Houten) and his young son Peter (Chandler Canterbury) considering how efficient Remy is at what he does. But alas his ball and chain doesn’t like what he does all that much and wants him to go into the safer avenue of sales which the adrenaline junky really has no interest in doing. Besides, his number one since childhood, Jake the psychopath (Forest Whitaker), is a repo man as well, and man… the fun they have ripping out peoples organs and leaving them to die.

Then after a freak accident Remy wakes up one day, with his best friend Jake and his boss Frank (Liev Schreiber) looking over him and finds himself in the hospital with a brand new, Union designed artificial heart. Remy knows right off the bat that this isn’t a good thing and wants it out, but I’m guessing a functioning heart is necessary for life so in it stays. Now Remy really needs to step up his repo game to make payments on his new getup, but now he sees things from a different perspective. He has totally lost his repo mojo, falls into default and now along with the lovely junkie Beth (Alice Braga) who he ran across earlier, a woman who is chock full of past due organs, the pair are on the run… and guess who is on that ass? If you said Jake, then head to the front of the class. Remy’s shrew of a wife left him way back in the first act by the way.

There’s no real way out of this situation for Remy, Beth or the thousands upon thousands who are past due because The Union is everywhere and their repo men are relentless. The only possible way to stem this is to ax the Union’s central computers so that there will be no more records of people in default. It’s a damn good thing that this company, the biggest company in the universe in this reality, has never heard of a little thing called ‘off-site-backup’.

So somebody asks you ‘how was that movie?’ and more often than not you tell this person about whatever movie he asked about ‘It was alright.’ Though I would like to drum up something more descriptive to describe how I ultimately felt about ‘Repo Men’ but ‘it was alright’ seems to just about cover it. I’ve seen some other comments about the movie which has just lambasted it but, at least in my opinion, it wasn’t nearly THAT bad, it just wasn’t all that great either. I was watching this movie in a relatively full arena and for the majority of this film, despite the presence of some bravura action sequences and a few instances of gross out gore here and there, it was mostly met with benign silence. And when it was over everyone dutifully filed out of the theater with very little to say about this movie. I thought for sure the ending of this movie would prompt some spirited debate considering the direction it took but not really. Nobody cared.

Jude Law makes for a more than adequate action hero and not that I’ve paid all that much attention to Jude Law’s physique in his past movies but it looked like he worked out a little bit in prep for this role, showing off his micro guns and his hip hop abs. Forest Whitaker looks like he’s been working out too considering the last time I saw him he was huffing and puffing running down the street in the movie ‘Vantage Point’ but now he’s all svelte and stuff. At least as svelte as Forest Whitaker can get, and he did a fine job playing Remy’s goonish best friend, at least when I could understand what he was saying.

The middle of the film, that point in between Remy getting his new mechanical heart and Remy rushing The Union Corporate Offices, kind of sags as there isn’t much going on outside of watching Remy and the character of Beth get to know one another which really wasn’t all that interesting, then in the third act the film completely devolves into an action filled, adrenaline filled parody of itself, but then in retrospect this nonsense near the end, when we learn what we learn, kind of makes a little bit of sense.

So there’s really no way around it but ‘Repo Men’ is simply an okay movie. Even though its set in the future, the majority of the futuristic sci-fi elements are generally played down to the point that this movie could’ve taken place yesterday, with the added element of mechanical vital organs, and that was somewhat disappointing. But is still wasn’t as bad as I was led to believe it was.

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