In the not-too-distant future, when your organs fail you or you seek to upgrade yourself cosmetically/physically, a company called The Union can supply you with mechanized replacements. They'll put them into your body for a ridiculous sum of money, and then if you can't make the payments (which most aren't able to), they'll send Repo Men after you to literally rip the implant out. Due to this hunter-prey situation, there are little caches of pursued people all over the city who spend their lives running away from The Union.

This is the premise of Miguel Sapochnik's 'Repo Men', which is adapted from the novel 'The Repossession Mambo' by Eric Garcia. I think somehow the creativeness and originality of the novel got lost in translation, because I cared so little for each and every character in this movie that by the end I couldn't care less if any lived or died. Things are askew right from the beginning, when we're expected to believe that Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are the best of friends. You couldn't find a more awkward and unnatural pairing if you cast Celine Dion and Lil Wayne.

In the not-too-distant future, when your organs fail you or you seek to upgrade yourself cosmetically/physically, a company called The Union can supply you with mechanized replacements. They'll put them into your body for a ridiculous sum of money, and then if you can't make the payments (which most aren't able to), they'll send Repo Men after you to literally rip the implant out. Due to this hunter-prey situation, there are little caches of pursued people all over the city who spend their lives running away from The Union.

This is the premise of Miguel Sapochnik's 'Repo Men', which is adapted from the novel 'The Repossession Mambo' by Eric Garcia. I think somehow the creativeness and originality of the novel got lost in translation, because I cared so little for each and every character in this movie that by the end I couldn't care less if any lived or died. Things are askew right from the beginning, when we're expected to believe that Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are the best of friends. You couldn't find a more awkward and unnatural pairing if you cast Celine Dion and Lil Wayne.

We're introduced to Repo Men Remy (Law) and Jake (Whitaker) as they're out hunting for artiforg payment violators. They banter back and forth about how "a job is a job" -- the cliched phrase that gets repeated a zillion times throughout the film -- and that somehow justifies killing people who can't afford to pay. Both Remy and Jake are instantly unlikable, namely because they approach killing with such a flippant attitude, and treat it as a game. "I bet I can get more than you," Jake jokes with a grin.

Remy has a wife and son at home, so he feels a bit of guilt about his job, but not enough to say anything to his boss about the measures the company takes to secure clients (coercion, manipulation, etc.). It isn't until a catastrophic event befalls Remy that he changes his tune, and suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted. Sounds like a cool twist, right? Wrong.



This is when the movie truly begins to unravel. As prey, Remy is haunted by the things he's done while he was a Repo Man. His wife leaves him and takes his child, and he loses his job. He has dreams of death and wakes up in cold sweats. He starts feeling incredible compassion towards the implantees, and even starts defending them. In what can only be described as a gigantic error in logic, Remy can go all action-hero and kill (very graphically) every single person involved with The Union and that's OK, but at his former job where he killed people daily, now that's wrong.

And that's another thing. I'm not sure this movie knows what it wants to be. Is it an action film? Is it a drama? Is it political commentary? Is it a horror? Is it all of these things? The implant extractions and various killings are gruesome and imaginative, sure, and horror fans will claim they're the best part of the movie (I'm inclined to agree), but they succeed where nearly everything else fails. Oh, and women will probably enjoy Remy, who's pretty much shirtless for most of the film.

Things continue at a snail's pace until the final showdown, which is anti-climactic at best, and features many slow-motion killings a la 'The Matrix'. True to action-hero form, Remy is nearly untouchable, or at least we think he is. In a movie with so many cliches, it's not that surprising that there's a 'twist' ending. When it comes it's the final straw; any dedication you had to the movie is ripped from you, not unlike an organ on borrowed time.

Two stars out of four.
CATEGORIES Reviews