Remakes and sequels are a dime a dozen. While Repo Men is neither of those, it bears incredible similarities with Repo! The Genetic Opera, a rock musical released in 2006. The films are very much the same in content and style, while the stories that they tell are very, very different.
Remy (Jude Law) seems like a normal guy. He’s got a wife and child, lives in a house in the suburbs, drives a fancy Volkswagon SUV. What isn’t so normal is Remy’s job. He repossess people’s artificial organs when they can’t afford their payments to The Union, the company that makes and finances the organs to people in need.
Anyone who becomes late with their payments is hunted down by The Union’s “repo men” and their artificial organs are repossessed, usually resulting in their immediate death. Remy and his partner Jake (Forest Whitaker) don’t mind being repo men, in fact they quite enjoy it. But when Remy’s wife decides maybe her husband should consider a career change, everything changes.
It’s hard to discuss this film’s plot without giving away the two major twists that make this film interesting, but I’ll just say that the Remy you meet in the beginning of the film is very, very different from the Remy at the end of the film. Think of Christian Bale’s character in Equilibrium as a comparison. Jude Law does a great job with this transformation, and Whitaker isn’t too shabby either.
Director Miguel Sapochnik brings some interesting techniques to the film, as well as a a very distinct visual style. A big problem I had watching the film was going between the incredibly realistic scenes in Remy’s suburban home to the CGI cityscape that the film seemed obsessed with showing off. What the movie wanted was for the audience to believe that this future was realistic by combining these elements, but it was difficult to feel grounded for the first forty minutes due to the complete contradiction in the two settings.
Some might say that the ideas the film presents about repossession and corporate greed might be applied to our country’s current situation, but the film doesn’t give us any answers or make America’s problems seem more understandable, so don’t go into the movie expecting to feel better about losing your job or your home.
If you’re going to see this movie, see it for the action. While the plot was a bit generic, the “big twist” was hinted at too early, and the tone of the movie jumped around a bit too much, the action scenes always remained fun to watch and made up for the contrived plot. If you like a lot of knife swinging, gun slinging, and blood spurting, this film is right up your alley.
With a reused plot and predictable twist, Repo Men doesn’t present us with anything new. But the way it presents it can be enjoyable — if you don’t think too hard.