Film Review – Repo Men

A bloody mess best describes this effort. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker star as the Repo Men, Remy and Jake, whose job it is to reclaim man-made bodily organs from the recipients who have fallen behind on loan repayments. Naturally the only way to do this is with the debtor electro-shocked in-situ, then carved open to upbeat music on the soundtrack. Needless to say it’s a termination of more than their loan. One such operation goes awry leaving Remy electrocuted and in hospital, with one of the company’s replacement hearts inside him. Then the wife leaves him for not leaving the job, he gets behind on his own repayments and…well, you can see what’s coming. No, he doesn’t become a blues musician.

We’re meant to believe that Law’s character is in some kind of moral quandry, questioning the effect of his actions, agonising over what happens to the button-cute families of those he carves up. Fret not though, because he’s soon back slashing open company men in a last ditch attempt for revenge, having apparently lost his new-found respect for human life.

This is a B-movie with pretensions to the A-list that even two talented actors cannot raise above the corpuscular sludge. Were it satisfied to be a slasher movie that would be fine, it would be infinitely preferable, but it opens with an irrelevant reference to the paradox of Schrodinger’s Cat that just sounds like a college student trying too hard to impress. There is some tension from the cringe factor, but this is no Minority Report thriller. The potential for thoughtful sci-fi is junked for action and gore. It needs to decide whether to be earnest or tongue-in-cheek, it can’t be both.

The excess of Blade Runner dystopia just feels blunt now, and director Miguel Sapochnik should have stuck to the man-on-the-run scenario without the pretensions to philosophy. Essentially this is a Jean-Claude van Damme movie from the 80s, that in some strange quantum leap to an alternate universe, is starring Jude Law doing his tough geezer swagger. Expect this to do moderate business from the teenage home entertainment market.  

Repo Men is on general release in the US now. UK release is scheduled for 16 April.

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