Movies like this are easy to write off. The gratuitous violence, absurd action sequences, cheesy dialogue and spotty acting make it hard to take seriously. That also appears to be exactly the point.
A lot of films tread the treacherous waters of the mellodramatic to try to make a point about our political or social systems, reaping tears and usually a few oscars while leaving audiences feeling worse coming out of the theater then they did coming in. Repo Men, on the other hand, falls in line with many great horror movies of the past (Soylent Green, Dawn of the Dead, The Ring) that try to to actually entertain audiences while presenting a cautionary tale of a semi-plausible future we should be already working to avoid. Not to mention that the demographic that watches the tear-jerk oscar-yearning movies about society are probably already convinced of the heavy-handed liberal point of view prior to seeing the movie, the demographic most likely attracted to a movie like Repo Men go for the blood and guts action and suspense. The writer of both the novel, Reposession Mambo, and the co-writer of the screenplay, Eric Garcia (who also wrote Matchstick Men), just sneaks in some societal analysis between the heart-pumping violence–that sly dog.
Given our current debate over healthcare, it’s all the more poignant to have a movie about organs that people need, but can’t afford to actually buy. The same way corporate greed has proven to take advantage of homeowners to cause our current economic recession, Repo Men claims that, without healthcare reform of some kind, medical companies will use similar tactics to take advantage of the needy organ donor recipients of the future. The unfortunate souls who fall behind on their payments are left to the dirty work of Repo Men such as Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) who will come to your house and take the organ back–by any gory means necessary. What a way to clean up the credit crisis!
In a sea of high budget, low risk remakes, it was a pleasure to see a new, relevant, and extremely entertaining, story about something that affects us all. Jude Law also comes out of left field to clobber foes like a steroid ridden Mark McGwire batting against high school pitchers. Meanwhile Forest Whitaker, who, prior to this movie, didn’t look agile enough to be a pro golfer, astonishingly performs some incredible fight sequences because of the Filipino Kali that he’s been learning for the past several years. Also, the Rza, of Wu-Tang Clan fame, makes an interesting cameo further verifying his coolness in another very satisfying action/horror film. The final action sequence and the sex sequence that follows make me so happy that we live in a free country where movies can be Rated R as limb-flinging craziness has rarely been portrayed as well.
If you are squeamish or hung-up on allowing video-game action mix with your substantive film then this is not the movie for you. If you are of the variety that loves to mix your cathartic R-Rated action with a bit of meat to match the sizzle then this is a flick worth catching on the big screen. As Liev Schreiber, the splendidly villainous managing owner of The Union, the company that sells these organs, says to his prospective clients, “You owe it to your family. You owe it to yourself.”
Showtimes in the Raleigh Area.