Notable Cast: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga
Review: With nothing to do on a lazy Sunday night, I decided to catch up on some of the movies I failed to see in theaters when I had the chance. Repo Men was first on my list, mainly because I just didn’t care enough to put in the effort to see it when it was released. From the trailer my impressions were nothing more than a sci-fi thriller that was going to try and blow your mind with social commentary and plenty of edgy twists. And after my viewing, I was dead on. Repo Men tries to get creative and it scores an A for effort, but ultimately gets lost in its own ambition. Clever ideas are squandered by equally unimpressive writing in other scenes and some out-of-place casting I still don’t agree with after seeing the final product. But hey, it was a great stab at something new and inventive that should get some credit. I made it through the whole movie easily, but not without numerous questions and comments involving the production.
In a time of privatized health care, one company (The Union) offers multiple prosthetic organs to cure even the most severe of illnesses. While pricey, The Union swears that they will work with you on a plan that is affordable because getting your life back is more important. But when some shmuck signs the contract just to get the new organ and falls behind on his payments, something happens that The Union always seems to leave out of discussions. They send out “repo men” to take back the company property you can’t afford. Remy (Law) and Jake (Whitaker) are two of the best repo men in the entire company along with being old childhood friends. Their jobs always go off without a hitch and they always come back with their prize. That is until one night Remy ends up on the wrong side of a defibrillator malfunction, knocking himself unconscious. But when he comes to, he finds the worst of news. He is the proud owner of a brand new top of the line artificial heart, which means he’s now in the system. Which also means if he can’t pay, one of the people whom he works with every day will be sent to take the heart back. As long as Remy keeps working he should be fine right? Keep his steady income and pay the company on time? Wrong. After the accident, a change of heart (literally) hits Remy and he can no longer slice into the innocent people for their organs like in the good old days when he was gutting people like they were the catch of the day. So with no job and no money, Remy has to prevent receiving the same fate that he gave to so many. But if anyone can take down The Union, a man with nothing to live for and complete inside knowledge seems like a pretty good bet. Watch as Remy goes against everything he stood for and go from “villain” to “hero” in just a matter of days.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I had a huge problem with the casting of Forest Whitaker as the “tough guy” Jake. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a phenomenal actor in his own right and deserved his Best Actor Oscar for The Last King of Scotland. But not even he could make me believe that he could somehow beat Jude Law in a fight. Cut, ripped, toned, and muscular Jude Law. Versus Forest Whitaker who if you notice had to wear long sleeves the whole time just to hide his “average” physique. There are so many better fits to play his part but I feel like the casting happened the way it did just so we didn’t see the typical Jason Statham type actor. Repo Men went a route that picked the more “talented” actor if you will, but looking the part is just as big a deal as acting the part. Forest had the attitude and personality down right, but again I just couldn’t buy it. The whole time all I could think about is how Jude Law would school him in real life, and that’s not saying much getting your ass kicked by Gigolo Joe (A.I.) or Alfie (Alfie).
The movie tackled a fantastic concept though, playing on the themes of privatized health care and how the little man is always going to get screwed. In a world where most sci-fi movies now a days rely on gore and visuals more than story, Repo Men had a pretty solid story that was intriguing enough to keep me interested. Granted yes, there were some pretty gruesome scenes, which you have to expect in a movie about harvesting organs. But I enjoyed the story a lot, until the end that is. I had an enormous love/hate reaction to the final act of the movie. I loved it again because the writers went out on a limb and veered from the normal story cycles we see over and over again. The ending was twisted in a way that made perfect sense and gave even more meaning to the helpless feelings the average person has to deal with in the film. But my hatred stemmed from the fact that the last half of the film seemed like a waste. It totally made part of the film seem useless, and I actually felt gypped from the ending. I almost would have rather the movie end when you think it should have, instead of throw you for a loop. I get that the film was trying to come off more intellectual and drive its message home, but I actually lost some intensity from the movie while being flabbergasted at the same time.
Repo Men was a very interesting movie, but had plenty of problems along the way. For some people it may be too preachy, for some people it may be a little too gory, and for others it may be too over the top to enjoy it fully. But others will love it. The science fiction genre is hard enough to get into, but Repo Men is a decent effort for those trying to get into it. But only decent. There truly wasn’t enough to make it stand out amongst other movies, but good enough for a watch if you’re interested. With better casting and a reworked ending, Repo Men could have packed a serious punch. But instead, it’s nothing but a decent time waster.
Final Rating: 6 stolen artificial organs out of 10