Rated R for for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Directed By: Miguel Sapochnik
Written By: Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner
Staring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Baga, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten, Chandler Canterbury, and Liza Lapira
There are a few actors in every movie goers arsenal that require viewings of all their work. After viewing the less than gripping trailer for Repo Men, followed by abominable reviews from critics, and a lukewarm reception from movie goers, Repo Men still found it’s way into my living room. The only logical explanation is Jude Law. Sure, he might be a box office jinx, but the talent and charm that he brings to each role is undeniable, and for me, became what made this movie ultimately a good two hours of fun.
The setting is a bit difficult to grasp at first. The film sets itself somewhere in the future where bodily organ replacement is now up for sale by companies that build these techno-body pieces. But just as nothing is for free these days the medical world is now an official business, selling these life saving pieces of metal for profit. The problem is, if you don’t make your payment, the company comes to get their product and their Repo Men don’t care how they reacquire their property. If this means slicing you open while you are possibly still alive and removing it it is a definite option.
Visually you get knocked over by the blood, gore, and effects. An intense in your face method may initially stun you, but it’s a relentless amount of extreme violence mixed with a world of unknown technology that is captivating in spite of the constant brutality. The barbaric content isn’t intended just for mindless entertainment, but is somewhere hinted at having a greater message about humanity, which is simply lost in the glorification of the massive bloodshed.
Jude Law may be one of the finer actors available right now, but he isn’t what one would consider a money making name at the box office. Even though he isn’t your typical action guy, he buffed himself up for the role, and gave his character as much legitimacy as the writing would allow. When he is faced with a life altering change, the motivation just doesn’t sell. Nor does his relationship with his wife. The film makes a point of showing that Law’s character had been a ruthless and nearly mindless meat head most of his life. Clearly she married him as this type of man, so why the utter disdain with his career choice? It would be a component easily overlooked if not for being the catalyst ignites the change. It’s a huge, unbelievable hole that no action or suspense could distract me from. Playing his best friend and partner is Forest Whitaker, another Repo Man that revels in his job, taking extreme pride in not only the outcome of his job, but the methods in which he succeeds as well. Both characters are somewhat unlikeable, but retain some redeeming qualities and are what makes the film worth watching.
The basic story is plastic thin, but the action and frantic pace works to keep things moving. The focus is on humanity and technology, but the social message is delivered in a far too campy facility to take seriously. While Repo Men tries to go a little deeper than just a straight forward sci-fi action flick, it only flaunts itself as a repeat of better films that have come before it. In spite of it’s flawed, and somewhat confused fusion of character and plot, it’s still loads entertaining with good enough performances to forgive the nonsensical. You also get the payoff of a clever ending that stays authentic to the characters and universe in which the setting has been created. Blood, gore, great action, and Jude Law? Even at it’s worst it’s still worth a watch.