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Repo Men review

by Jo Ching. Published Sun 02 May 2010 11:03, last updated: 29/08/12

From the title and the poster, one would assume this film is about two men who repossess cars; there is an expectation of a gangster tone (that’s a very big gun Forest is toting) and a little buddy comedy.

Wrong. It’s actually a horror, with more flesh slicing than Sweeney Todd managed in the Barber of Fleet Street and for the distributors to promote it as a sci-fi action is plain misleading.

Remy and Jake work for a company called The Union, who manufacture synthetic body parts (unfortunately the infomercial that sets this up appears in the trailer but has been cut from the film – Universal, what were you thinking?) and the job of the Repo Men is to repossess organs from people who have fallen behind on their transplant finance plan.

This concept screams out satire but the filmmakers walk right past that one and instead focus on blood, guts, body scan machines and shoot outs.

The job of the Repo men is, specifically, to shoot the debtor with an anaesthetized dart, remove the organ on the spot and take it back to base.

In the first scene we witness an indifferent Remy remove a man’s liver in front of his girlfriend, who also gets the dart treatment when she makes a big deal about Remy slicing up her lover in front of her very eyes.

We later see Remy and Jake mock the terrified new owner of a pancreas and then drop by a ship, slaughter everyone in sight and calmly harvest their organs. Don’t they just sound adorable?

The action scenes are a good platform for Jude to show off his great bod but when he suddenly turns into Superman, it gets boring.

Also, he spends a lot of time on the run with his ex-singer-junkie girlfriend (who he found in an alley) and there is no time for any camaraderie to develop between him and Whitaker.

To fill this yawning gap the filmmakers show flashbacks of the two together in the fourth grade, which fails to establish anything other than the fact that they both went to school.

Overall, this film is a bit of a mish-mash, with never any clear sense of time and place. It claims to be set in the ‘near future’ which is irritatingly vague and adding macabre content to our existing world is just plain lazy.

But the biggest question I have is, exactly when and how did it become legal to murder people so their organs can be returned to the manufacturer? With everything else in this film so like how we live now, it feels jarringly unlikely and needs justifying with some back story.

Why didn’t they simply announce George W. Bush had got back in the White House and the first thing he OK’d was the Organ Hard Luck Bill? It would have added oodles of plausibility.

Rated: R
Distributor: Universal
Running time: 111 mins
Cast: Jude Law (Remy), Forest Whittaker (Jake), Alice Braga (Beth)
Director: Miguel Sapochnik


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