Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Have you ever seen Repo! The Genetic Opera? It premiered at Fantasia on July 18th, 2008 to a packed house. Upon receiving mixed reviews the film obtained a limited theatrical release in North America the following winter and was finally released on DVD a few months later.
Surely you must be asking yourself several important questions by now, such as “why is he wasting my time with this garbage information?” and “are my pop tarts ready?” Well, my friend, your pop tarts ARE ready and the movie I am about to review is a blatant rip off of the aforementioned one
Yes, sadly, Hollywood and its six major movie studios have sunk to new lows. Not only have moviegoers put up with remake after remake for the past decade or so, but now Universal Pictures and its visionless executives felt it was necessary to use the exact same storyline as Darren Lynn Bousman’s rock opera.
Some people might argue that there is a clear distinction between both films, as one is aimed at a particular niche (horror fans) while the other is a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster. I don’t think so. It’s obvious that the idea of organ repossession by repo men working for an evil corporation in the future is the plot for both, and there is no denying that. Even Bousman expressed his anger towards the making of Repo Men on his Myspace blog: “Okay, lets get this out – I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT REPO MEN! In fact, I am really let down. All it takes is one viewing of the trailer to see how similar our movies are.”
Now, you might also be wondering whether Repo Men is any good. There’s an answer for that too: no! The plot is actually something you’d exactly expect a rock opera to be about, isn’t it? It’s such an absurd storyline that without the musicals and the flamboyant costumes, what are you left with? It almost sounds like a really bad idea Philip K. Dick would have thrown away almost immediately after having developed it. However, you’ll always find a director desperate enough to tackle ANY project and in this case, it’s inexperienced British filmmaker Miguel Sapochnik, who thought it would be clever to associate mambo music with fight scenes (the movie was originally called Repossession Mambo).
Yes folks, that’s not a typo. Dude thought he was Stanley Kubrick for a second there in trying to juxtapose typically happy music with scenes of extreme violence. It didn’t work, and please don’t quit your day job. As for me I am still trying to grapple with Hollywood’s fascination with the future and all things associated with it. I can see the appeal in imagining a world hundreds or thousands of years from now but if people speak and act exactly like they do now, it’s not a very accurate depiction of the future, now is it?
Regardless of my rant, I am willing to divulge a few details about this film. I wasn’t entirely disappointed with everything: Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, a duo likely picked among dozens of names in a hat, do exhibit some kind of on-screen chemistry and it was fun to see them in relatively unorthodox roles. They work for The Union, the corporation who will gladly install a shiny new (expensive) organ inside you if only you can find the cash to pay for it within three months. If not, then Law and Whitaker get sent out to hunt you down. While the script is entirely “fill in the blanks” thanks to Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner, Law is a versatile actor who can pull off the role of a convincing killer in one movie and play a completely different character in another. Thank God for the little bit of violence this movie was able to produce because for the most part I was thinking about when to send in my income tax return. Of course there’s the generic love interest between Law and Alice Braga, the Brazilian hottie with the tight clothes. Her introduction to the story does add some much needed spunk, as she is almost entirely composed of organs which are now “owed” to The Union. Dilemma!!!
If you enjoy Matrix-style action (especially the scene where Neo fights off several dozen Smiths in the white hallway) coupled with Shoot’em Up nonsensical power violence, then you might actually enjoy Repo Men. It’s mindless entertainment, that’s for sure. However if you’re as hard to please as my ex-girlfriend was, then you’re in for a long night! As a weird hybrid of comedy, horror and action, it’ll appeal to a large demographic but ultimately one that this writer does not belong to.
– Myles Dolphin