Sunday, March 21, 2010

Repo Men (Review)

     The previews and hype for "Repo Men" screamed stay away but the concept and Jude Law gave me some hope.  Maybe there's something more to this movie.  Maybe it's not just an over-hyped, action filled, excuse for bloody violence.  Maybe, just maybe, it's worth seeing.  Then again, maybe not.

     "Repo Men" stars Jude Law and Forest Whitaker as a pair of repo men who come to repossess very expensive artificial organs from people who have fallen behind on their loan payments.  It is somehow legal for them to incapacitate and slice people open, wherever they just happen to be, (after breaking into their homes, in public, whatever) remove organs by hand, and leave people lying in pools of blood, dead or dying.  It is also, somehow, permitted for these organs to be reclaimed, cleaned, and resold, which, amazingly, is more profitable for the company than selling organs on credit and having the entire loan repaid.  Jude Law's character ends up needing an artificial heart and, rather than opening up the door for some deep, soul-searching analysis of what he does for a living, it simply puts him on the other side of the equation, where he and his former partner can have several over extended and unrealistic fight scenes.  There's also a very convenient and under developed love story between Jude Law's character and, basically, Melina from Total Recall, played by Alice Braga.  Also, Jude Law's character is trying to get his wife and son back, but that gets in the way of the first love story, so that just kind of evaporates.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the incredible twist ending that is heavily foreshadowed and can be seen coming from a mile away. 

     What a muddled mess.  "Repo Men" tries desperately to be a science fiction morality tale, but has no moral and makes no statement about society.  It tries to have a love story, but can't seem to decide if Jude Law's character loves his wife and son or the club singer he found in a gutter, strung out on futuristic looking, red cocaine who suddenly becomes perfectly healthy and fights like a seasoned professional  after two days straight of being unconscious because she was strung out and coming down. (What??!)  It desperately tries to be an action movie, but the action is over stylized, unbelievable, over extended, full of MTV style quick cuts, and tries to be a substitute for a real plot or an actual ending.  In the end, (which couldn't have come soon enough,) "Repo Men" tries to blow your mind by being a psychological thriller with a twist ending, but the possibility of the twist is given away far too early and too often and hinted at more than once during the ending, so, unless you were texting during the movie and not paying attention, there is no surprise twist, just a feeling of being thoroughly let down as the inevitable happens. 

     The premise had some promise, but there is absolutely no analysis or explanation of the social situation.  We are not sure what 'The Union' is or what role it plays in society.  The absolute first thing you hear is a staticky news item about the U.S. government going bankrupt, but there is absolutely no further mention of the social or political situation.  The repossession and resale (Resale?  Really?!) of artificial organs is rationalized by some quick exposition at the beginning of the film and there is no other mention of why or how this can possibly be legal or socially acceptable.  I might be able to swallow such a illogical and flawed premise if there was some kind of pay off, but all it leads up to is action, violence, and insulting my intelligence.  (And shouldn't the people who work for the artificial organ company have better health insurance??!)

     Don't buy into the hype.  "Repo Men" isn't worth a matinee ticket price, much less waiting in lines and sitting in a crowded theater full of kids texting.  If you must see for yourself, do yourself a favor and wait for "Repo Men" to hit the dollar theaters or Netflix.  It'll be there faster than you think.

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