Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) are best friends and The Union's most dangerous repossession men, reclaiming top-dollar organs when recipients fall behind on their payments. But after an on-the-job accident forces Remy to be outfitted with a top-of-the-line heart replacement, he finds himself in debt and on the run. Now, the hunter becomes the hunted as Jake will stop at nothing to track him down to finish the job.
If I told you I couldn’t stop thinking of another movie while watching REPO MEN you’d probably think I you already knew to which ones I was referring. But no, it bears no resemblance at all to 1984’s REPO MAN and on the advice of a close friend who knows my tastes very well, I avoided seeing REPO!:THE GENETIC OPERA.
I know that the comparison is blasphemous to many, with REPO MEN coming down on the losing end of a 65% point difference on RottenTomatoes.com, but it’s not hard to see that they have plenty in common. They’re both sci-fi thrillers that question Reality vs. Perception and borrow heavily form older movies: for INCEPTION it’s THE MATRIX, DREAMSCAPE and DARK CITY; for REPO MEN it’s BLADERUNNER, MINORITY REPORT, OLD BOY, etc. And they both have endings that owe a lot to the movie BRAZIL.
However much the two movies gave me each other’s aftertaste, they are far from identical twins. Personally, the biggest difference was how oppositely I felt about them on a second viewing. Where INCEPTION sacrificed so much character depth in favor of slavishly explaining the mechanics of its proposed world, REPO MEN constructs a premise so full of holes it’s hard to solidly buy into an of it.
REPO MEN tries to sell us on a dystopia with a technologically advanced society that’s so cynical it sanctions murder (via organs being forcibly removed) with the corpses abandoned for someone else to clean up; With nary a hint of how the inevitable involvement of the government, ACLU and an endless parade of lawyers is circumvented. I’d like to pass that off as a small detail- especially since I liked the movie (*downgraded to “didn’t hate the movie” on second viewing)- but it’s what the entire story is built around!
It’s the kind of flimsiness that would be expected in a musical or forgiven in a whacked out dark comedy. But REPO MEN flits back and forth between being a dark comedy to gorey action movie to preachy sci-fi. And while I’m usually the lone critic who likes the hard-to-pin-down hybrid movies, with REPO MEN the thematic indecision and utter lack of originality make for an overall bland product that would be forgettable if not for the better-than-it-deserved performances from Jude Law, Forest Whittaker and Liev Schreiber.
The Blu-ray edition of REPO MEN offers you choice between watching the Unrated version and the Theatrical release (the difference is little more than a pair of exposed breasts), as well as a decent selection of special features:
U-Control Features: A "P-in-P Experience" is a sparse collection of informative interviews with members of the cast and crew An "Artiforg Tech Specs" mode gives descriptions of the artificial organs and prosthetics that appear throughout the film.
Filmmakers Audio Commentary: This is director Miguel Sapochnik first feature film, and while he may not have an original bone in his body, he does appear to possess some raw talent and enthusiasm. He and writers Eric Garcia & Garrett Lerner give extensive commentary on casting, soundtrack selections, the script itself, the actors' contributions to the story, the flick's production design, costumes, visual effects, the development and creation of the future Remy inhabits. Unlike the commentary on most movies, there aren’t many stretches of silence.
Deleted Scenes: There are five deleted and extended scenes in all, each with optional commentary with Sapochnik, Garcia and Lerner. Like most, these scenes aren’t missed.
The Union Commercials: Seven fake "Union" commercials. The fact that this much work was done speaks to the fact that where REPO MEN fails it’s due to misguided decisions, not laziness.
Inside the Visual Effects : A short but effect look at raw-footage-to-final-shot footage with Sapochnik, Garcia and Lerner commentary.
BD-Live Functionality & News Ticker
Pocket Blu Handheld Apps
My Scenes Bookmarking
For all the smack I might talk about REPO MEN as a feature film, it’s almost perfect for the less demanding format of watching it on home video, especially Blu-ray. The transfer is one of the best I’ve seen, and even after you watch the feature dissecting just how the numerous special effects were composited they’re still just as impressive.
You can purchase the Blu-ray of REPO MEN (Unrated)here.