Posted on: March 21st, 2010 REVIEW: Repo Men

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First, I did a little digging into the question that I always get asked when talking about the just released Jude Law sci-fi thriller, Repo Men: is it based on Repo! The Genetic Opera? After all, they are both about repossessing transplanted organs from living people. Different bloggers, however, have worked out the dates, and some have posited that the book upon which Repo Men is based, The Repossession Mambo, was actually written before Repo! the rock opera. So, no, it is not the same movie.

They are about as similar to each other, as either of them are to Repo Man, the Emilio classic about repossessing cars. Cars, organs, opera, what’s the difference right?

Second, even though this movie has been determined as rotten at Rotten Tomatoes, and everyone I’ve talked to had serious problems with it, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this movie. You’d be surprised at the ‘terrible’ movies I love. My career as a movie reviewer was poorly thought out, but I digress.
Remy and Jake (Law and Whitaker) are from the Union. The Union is a company that will sell you replacement organs and body parts, called Artiforgs, at a reasonable APR of about 19%. You could be dying, or you could just want to hear or see a little better. Either way, the Union is ready to make a deal for you. It’s really what’s best for your family. You can even pick out the organ of your choice at www.theunioncares.com.
The Union has a sales branch, headed up by a white-teethed black-suited corporate manager type named Frank (Liev Shreiber). There’s also a repo branch, which repossesses the organs that you can’t pay for. They do this by tracking you down with a portable scanner that receives signals from overdue organs, and then they tazer you (maybe) and cut you open, rip out your kidney or heart or lung, seal it in a plastic bag, fill out a pink repo form, and hand the form and the organ back to their boss. Oh, and you die. They are, of course, paid on commission. The more organs they get, the more they make.
Remy and Jake are repo men, and they are at the top of their game. They are also best friends, old army buddies, and the definition of the porte manteau ‘bromance.’
repomenremyRemy’s wife, however, is sick of the danger and instability of his career, and is pestering him to go into sales. Jake convinces Remy to go on one last job, and he does, but a piece of his equipment malfunctions, and he ends up knocked out and wakes up in the hospital with a brand new Artiforg heart unit. He panics, but tries to go about his life like normal, until he realizes that he has too much sympathy for his clients and can’t stomach doing another repossession. This causes him to fall behind on his heart payments, and the shit hits the proverbial fan.

There are a bunch of twists, and there is a massively sexy scene involving Remy reaching into this chick’s chest cavity while she is still alive (and kissing him), and I should probably be committed for thinking it was sexy at all.

What I liked about Repo Men is that the allusions are more funny than they are derisive. Yes, we could sit and talk about its implications regarding pay as you go health care or the mounting levels of consumer debt, but I really don’t think that was the intention. Most of the jokes were more about what happens when you are sucked into the corporate culture that feeds your chosen way of life. For instance, Remy is required to tell you that you have a right to have an ambulance standing by while he does his repossession. No, it won’t help you, because with your credit history you’ll never get a loan for a new heart, but there is a complaints department if you are interested in filing one.

There’s also a kid in a giant lung costume. Children poke him.

When Remy is at the top of his game, life is good. The visuals are modern and shiny, and you can hear the elevator musak playing in the background. When he falls, he falls hard, living in the Repo-verse’s version of a hobo-jungle and beaten up broken down motel rooms. You have that dystopian utopia vibe that was evident in Daybreakers….. and Rollerball? Why am I thinking Rollerball?

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The viral marketing for Repo Men was somewhat impressive, and there were scenes in the movie that were tongue in cheek odes to Apple and Dell marketing schemes (the Pink Door room that’s actually white and the Artiforg lab).

Can you be both dead and alive? Are you more alive when you are immersed in the dystopia than you are when you are king of the utopia? And just how many fake metal organs can you have before you are even alive at all, and really, does it matter?

See it. Laugh at it. Think about it.

PS. Turn your ears on, as well. The musical choices are fantastic.

PPS. I want a Union neck tattoo, but my boyfriend said he’d leave me.

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Filed under: Movies, News, Review

4 Responses to “REVIEW: Repo Men”

  1. katie Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 7:22 am

    err.. there’s a paragraph missing at the top there… haha.. i was comparing repo: the genetic opera for anyone who is out there… hello? anyone? *crickets chirping*

  2. san francisco slim Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I was kind of wondering about that myself, but the context of the rest of that top paragraph sort of hints that was what was going on in there.

  3. Ryan Ferrier Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t see any missing paragraphs…

  4. katie Says:
    March 22nd, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    HOW DO YOU DO THAT? you just come on the internet and fix everything without even trying.

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