By Jack Rico
The first hour of the new futuristic action film Repo Men, one of the most violent and bloody films I’ve seen since Ninja Assassins, is a slow, gouge-your-eye experience that has you asking for a refund. But the second hour really picks up and it is where the true entertainment value of the film lies. The story is very compelling tied with a dose of dark comedy, but the dialogue is vacuous and there were some major miscasting calls with Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.
In the future humans have extended and improved our lives through highly sophisticated and expensive mechanical organs created by a company called “The Union”. The dark side of these medical breakthroughs is that if you don’t pay your bill, “The Union” sends its highly skilled repo men to take back its property… with no concern for your comfort or survival. Former soldier Remy (Law) is one of the best organ repo men in the business. But when he suffers a cardiac failure on the job, he awakens to find himself fitted with the company’s top-of-the-line heart-replacement… as well as a hefty debt. But a side effect of the procedure is that his heart’s no longer in the job. When he can’t make the payments, The Union sends its toughest enforcer, Remy’s former partner Jake (Whitaker)4, to track him down.
What will be most talked about Repo Men is the high level of graphic violence and gore it possesses. It is really a cringing, hands-over-your-eyes type of brutality that takes place in the scenes when these repo men are extracting organs from their clients who are late on their bills. Violence is used very gratuitously here and it wouldn’t surprise me people being repulsed by it. Does it help push the story forward? No, its purely for shock value.
The film suffers from a variety of problems commencing with the first hour which is filled with contrived situations, bad dialogue, a slow, churning pace, and in my opinion, a miscasting of the protagonists. Am I really supposed to believe that pretty boy Jude Law and plump Forest Whitaker are vicious, intimidating animals? Hardly, all their roles are mainly summed up as bewildered, warm and fuzzy characters. Credibility here was an obvious issue. I couldn’t take their roles seriously.
Nevertheless, the film was made to entertain people and make tons of money at the box office. If it weren’t for the first hour being so off, we could have been talking about a better reviewed movie. Go watch it if you like uber-hyper violence that will make you squirm in your seat, but stay away if you’re sensitive to heads being squashed.
Rated: R for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Release Date: 2010-03-19
Screenplay: Garrett Lerner, Eric Garcia
Director(s): Miguel Sapochnik
Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Film Genre: Action