Sunday, September 5, 2010

Repo Men

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik.
2010. Rated R, 111 minutes.
Jude Law
Forest Whitaker
Liev Schreiber
Alice Braga
Carice van Houten
Chandler Canterbury
Joe Pingue
Liza Lapira

Remy (Law) works as a repo man for The Union. The Union doesn’t deal cars or anything simple. They peddle organs. That’s right, fall too far behind on your payments for that transplanted heart, or liver, or kidney, or whatever and Remy or his co-workers will pay you a visit and take it back, literally. Of course, through a rather unfortunate event, Remy ends up getting a brand new ticker of his own and finds himself unable to make the payments. He and Becca (Braga), the stray chick he took in who is also in arrears on a laundry list of parts, running and hiding from The Union ensues.

Those of us that pay attention to Z-grade cinema know that RM is a blatant rip-off. A couple years ago, a straight-to-DVD flick titled Repo! The Genetic Opera surfaced and became a cult hit. The two main differences are in that movie the repo man didn’t need the transplant, his daughter did and most noticeably it was a musical. It was odd, morbidly funny and unafraid to take chances. RM has some of those same attributes but is definitely more restrained to meet more mainstream sensibilities. Its obviously much bigger budget justifies this approach.

It uses that budget to give us wild imagery and outrageous situations. There are also some darkly comic moments. Often enough, it gives us all of those things simultaneously. However, story-wise many things happen that are either too simple or underdeveloped. This is especially the case in regards to Remy’s relationship with his son. There needs to be more of it. Once the movie kicks into high gear, he wants to see his son but it’s not something we can feel. In fact, the boy becomes a prop in one of his narrow escapes and little else. This disconnects us from him a little, reminds us it’s just an action movie. We’re never vested in him. So, while it excels at entertaining us, it never really engages us.

All is not lost. Like I said, it is entertaining. It’s helped along by its three leading men. Jude Law continues to prove, to me at least, he’s one of the more underrated actors working today. Forest Whitaker as his best friend Jake and Live Schreiber as his boss seem to be having a blast. Whitaker seems to be particularly giddy and it is infectious.

Yes, take it down a notch for being a rip-off of a movie that not only includes Paris Hilton in the cast but has the nerve to have her singing. That sentence alone should tell you that RM doesn’t revel in being bad the way the older movie does. Still, it’s not the worst movie ever made as some would have you believe.

The Opposite View: Ian Buckwalter, NPR

What the Internet Says: 6.3/10 on, 22% on, 32/100 on

MY SCORE: 6.5/10

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