By Amelia Blevins
Before you say anything, Repo Men is not a knock-off of 2008’s Repo! The Genetic Opera. There’s no singing here and no fodder for Hot Topic’s usual patrons. What it is, is an action satire on the dark, sci-fi and—yes, I’ll admit—overdone topic of organ repossession. Welcome to the world of science fiction—if a topic’s cool, it gets redone and reworked all over the place.
Jude Law stars as Remy, a repo man for The Union, whose sales of artificial organs leave a nasty dent in their clients’ wallets. When they can’t make their payments toward their $600,000 organs, Remy, along with his best pal, Jake (a creepy Forrest Whitaker), sneak into clients’ homes in the middle of the night with a knife and take back Union property.
Eric Garcia, screenwriter and author of the film’s original source novel, The Repossession Mambo, takes a darkly comic approach to the concept, showing Remy and Jake slicing and dicing with casual finesse. “A job’s a job,” they say while replaying their repos of the night with absurd laughter. Not until Remy is seriously injured during a standard assignment do things turn serious. Now saddled with one of the Union’s artificial hearts, Remy is in the dreaded position of his clients. Holding a steady job, Remy’s in a better position than most to be able to make payments. But when his conscience flares up, he loses his ability to take innocent lives and loses his commission. With a final payment notice and no cash to pay the bills, Remy goes on the run with Beth (Alice Braga), another repo-dodging client with far too many artificial parts.
While Repo Men holds all the standard action movie cards, it has some standout pieces, including a squirm-worthy, yet strangely erotic, self-surgery scene between Remy and Beth, and a slow motion knife fight whose choreography remains entrancing despite the extreme gore. To top it off, the film’s soundtrack does nothing but add to the surreal satiric mood. With a mix of artists from Rosemary Clooney, to The Mamas & The Papas, to Beck, the irony is piled on with each new track. And did I mention the chilling twist-ending?
Repo Men is a good popcorn thriller with eye candy and a message: If you can’t pay for it, then you’d better be ready to give it back. Jude Law will rip your heart out—literally.