Rating: 2 out of 5
In our current debt-ridden society where it seems as if faceless profit-hungry conglomerates would gladly rip out your still beating heart to save a little overhead, a film like Repo Men may seem like aptly timed allegory.
Repo Men takes place in a dystopian future where a corporation called The Union manufactures ‘forgs’ (artificial organs) and sells them to ailing consumers at exorbitant prices. Don’t worry though, much like a car dealership, they have instalment plans that can fit your lifestyle.
Well what happens if you’re a few months late on a payment? Enter Remy (Jude Law), an organ bailiff armed with a stun gun and scalpel. As Remy helpfully explains, "Can't pay for your house? The bank takes it. Can't pay for your car? The bank takes it. Can't pay for your liver? Well, that's where I come in."
It’s basically exactly like Repo! The Genetic Opera except with less musical numbers and more ultra-violence and uninhibited eviscerations. Remy and his colleagues slice and dice in a manner so brutally ruthless and excruciatingly efficient that even Jason Voorhees would be envious. Don’t be fooled by its futuristic-noir trappings, Repo Men is really a slasher flick in disguise.
Remy has a change of heart (figuratively and literally) about his profession when he meets with an accident himself and requires an artificial heart transplant. Now able to see the flip side, Remy’s sympathy for The Union’s clients renders him too squeamish to perform his job. He is however not too squeamish to continually commit mass-murder for the rest of the movie which is curious.
Self-imposed unemployment leaves Remy in trouble when it comes to clearing his overdue payments for his shiny new ticker. The Union then sends Remy’s former repo partner and best-friend Jake (Forest Whitaker, as twitchily glorious as ever) after him.
While on the run Remy falls in love with Beth (Alice Braga) a girl who’s almost entirely made up of artificial parts. I have to admit, making the bionic girl the source of its humanity is one of the more nuanced touches up Repo Men’s sleeve.
Well, it’s the only touch that doesn’t beat you over the head with hammer. There are actual scenes of heads being beaten in with hammers...and typewriters.
Even the requisite love scene between Beth and Remy in the film’s climax takes place as both are viscerally cutting each other open, reaching for organs. Kiss lips, reach into lover’s stomach to get liver - repeat with different body parts. Not the kind of penetration one expects.
Repo Men presents a lot interesting ideas but never bothers to follow up on the moral quandaries that such technology poses. Director Miguel Sapochnik instead chooses to focus on ratcheting up the butchery to mindboggling masochistic heights.
Absent of anything intelligent, or even coherent to say about its intriguing premise, Repo Men’s over-reliance on graphic gore becomes its own self-mutilating downfall.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, aka inSing.com's Movie Lover, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for Metrowize Asia.
Hidzir is the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.