Plot: In the near future, humans prolong their lives with artificial organs purchased on credit, but if you can't make your payments, the organs are reclaimed by repo men with extreme prejudice. Remy, one of the best organ repo men suffers a near-fatal injury and awakens to find himself fitted with as top-of-the-line heart replacement…as well as a hefty debt.
Cast: Jude Law, Forrest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Live Schreiber,The RZA
Bottom Line: ***
By Jonathan McMillan
Feature film freshman Miguel Sapochnik’s film “Repo Men” has had the burden of overcoming a growing Internet comment board controversy in which fans of the cult favorite “Repo! The Genetic Opera” claim that Sapochinik’s movie, based off of a novel by Eric Garcia called “The Repossession Mambo” is a “blatant rip-off” of “Repo!TGO” as fans call it.
The meat of both movies is the not-so-unimaginable premise that in a not-too-distant future, a company has solved the world problem of organ transplant waiting lists by perfecting, manufacturing and leasing artificial organs. But that’s pretty much where the similarities of the two movies end.
In “Repo Men” the company is the Union and their products are called artiforgs. These babies are literal lifesavers and Liev Schreiber (“The Omen”) plays Frank, the smooth-talking sales manager who markets them as such. Like any good salesman, Frank offers convenient financing on the pricey artiforgs with a low APR of “only” 19.6 percent. Add in the “generous” 96-day grace period, and customers are willing to pay an arm and leg for a much needed liver.
However, once that grace period expires, The Union sends their highly trained collection staff to retrieve the organ from delinquent lessees. (At no cost to the customer of course – well, except for the liver, plus the aforementioned arm and leg, and probable loss of life.)
See, the best of Union’s highly trained collection staff are Remy and Jake (“Sleuth’s” Jude Law and “The Last King of Scotland’s” Forest Whitaker”). They are life-long friends and former military men currently without a war to fight. They have fallen into and in love with the repo man profession because it gives them opportunity to do what they do best: kill.
But as with every workaholic, Remy’s dedication to his job is beginning to interfere with his relationship with his family. His wife is nagging him to transfer to the sales department – a move that not only jeopardizes the status quo Jake is comfortable with but also their friendship. Forced to make a decision that will either cost him his wife and son or his best friend, Remy reluctantly chooses to make the transfer, after doing the proverbial “one last” repo job.
Shot on location in Canada, the un-named city that offers cover to Remy and Beth looks a lot like a futuristic Manhattan - on steroids. Almost as complementary to the film as a supporting actor is the splendid soundtrack featuring a diverse assortment of artists from Rosemary Clooney to Method Man.
For movie lovers with complex tastes “Repo Men” is a theatrical gumbo simmering with wicked humor, complicated relationships, well choreographed martial arts, tear jerking romance and wince inducing gore. Add in popcorn and sodas and you’ve got a date both him and her will enjoy. Fans of films like “Fight Club”, “Kiss of the Dragon” and even “Titantic” will all find something to enjoy throughout this film’s 111 minute runtime.
This was printed in the April 11 - April 24, 2010 edition