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REPO MEN, starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, should not be confused with Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2008 cult rock musical REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA—although, as you’ve no doubt read, it’s very similar. In fact, REPO MEN has had fans screaming bloody plagiarism, as it’s an almost concept-for-concept echo of Bousman’s film—sans the songs, of course.
But rest assured, after seeing director Miguel Sapochnik’s film (based on the novel THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO by Eric Garcia, who scripted the movie with Garrett Lerner), there is little point comparing the two in terms of quality. Ultimately, REPO MAN is so wretched it elevates the admittedly flawed REPO! to the level of masterpiece.
The film begins impressively enough, with some flashy sequences involving Repo Man Remy (Law) skillfully entering people’s homes and efficiently extracting organs from clients who have failed to make their payments. That’s the basic drive of the film: A corporation called The Union profits from artificial organs and body parts and offers its clients payment options, with exorbitant interest rates of 18 percent. For the first half hour, the film is somewhat engrossing, leaving the viewer curious as to how it will all pan out. But REPO MEN can never decide what it wants to be. Is it horror, or science fiction, or a dystopian version of SNATCH? I’m still not entirely sure, and I don’t think the filmmakers are either.
The plot is thin, and the central conceit—the whole “good company man becomes a victim of the evil corporation he or she works for” shtick—has been used and abused so often in these sorts of films that it has grown tiresome. You’ve seen it all before, in much, much better movies.
In all fairness, there are certain redeeming qualities to REPO MEN. The “futuristic city” is actually Toronto, and truthfully, the city has never looked so good. Law works as an action hero, and it’s a shame that viewer can’t care less about his journey. For horror fans, the gore is ample, but is awkwardly handled and feels inserted.
REPO MEN flops on many other woeful levels, with its bad dialogue, poor art direction, silly acting (Law excepted) and nonexistent plot, and the surprise ending (don’t worry, no spoilers here…if you still care) is completely ludicrous. The film will no doubt be a faded memory within a week’s time; hell, I was forced to pop in Bousman’s film to help ease the pain of the precious time lost. Avoid REPO MEN like a disease.
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