The near dystopian future. The Union, a giant, amoral multi-national corporation, manufactures, sells on credit and — if you miss three payments — repossesses artificial human organs. It’s an easy sell. “Everybody signs,” says middle-management sales/repo supervisor Frank (Liev Schreiber). “You owe it to yourself,” he tells a pancreas prospect. “You owe it to your family.” Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) track, stun and slice open deadbeats (pun intended) who have missed too many payments. “A job’s a job,” each says to the other. Still, repossessing organs. A messy, bloody job.
What happens when Remy gets an artificial heart and can’t make his payments? Can he and street-wise Alice (Alice Braga), outrun The Union? Is this a satire on health care and credit cards — or just slasher trash?
The question: What are Jude Law (played “Hamlet” in NYC), Forest Whitaker (Oscar, “Last King of Scotland”) and Liev Schreiber (excellent actor, too) doing in this sci-fi slasher film? Each plays his part seriously, so give them credit for that. Law is Remy, the noir-ish narrator of the story. “I have an artificial heart,” he says, “Alice has an artificial everything else. Maybe it’s not just her I’m trying to save.” Whitaker is Jake, Remy’s cynical buddy who’d do anything, he says, for his friend. Schreiber is Frank, the company man. “We don’t make money, if they pay in full,” he says. I’m no economist, but I don’t understand that. And how does retrieving used artificial organs help the corporate bottom line?
Others in the cast include Alice Braga as recovering addict and nightclub singer Alice, and Carice van Houten as Remy’s out-of-patience wife Carol.
“Repo Men” is a queasy, bleak, bloody sci-fi hash. Director Miguel Sapochnik and writers Garrett Lerner and Eric Garcia (who wrote the novel) may have satiric intentions for their flick, but it’s hard to spot them through its gore and violence. Narrator Remy may speak for the filmmakers when he says of his story, “It’s a cautionary tale. In the end, a job is not just a job, it’s who you are. If you want to change, you have to change what you do.” Too bad the filmmakers didn’t take their own advice and make a better movie.
“Repo Men” deserves its R rating for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language, sexuality and nudity. It runs 111 minutes but seems longer. Miss this one, if you have the chance, and rent “Blade Runner” (1982) instead. “Repo Man” draws its “look” from Ridley Scott’s great science-fiction flick.
It’s a bloody hash,
Queasy sci-fi “Repo Men,”
Satire? I think it’s trash.