I've never been one to necessarily go with the mainstream (probably one of the reasons I co-founded Blood Brothers to give cult film making some backing) and despite the low ratings from critics and box office flop numbers, "Repo Men" might be one of my favorite Science Fiction films I have ever seen. Not necessarily because its great, but because it takes a rather over used but clever premise and does its own dance to it. Combining some seriously funny dark humor, slick action sequences, fun acting, and a generous amount of gore I felt that "Repo Men" was doing that 80s overabundance vibe on Science Fiction nicely.
Remy (Law) and his partner Jake (Whitaker) are the best at their jobs. In the future, after a devastating war has crippled much of the world, one of the major advances in technology is artificial organs. These 'artiforgs' (oh if that isn't a classic silly Sci Fi word if you've ever heard one) are sold out to people like a bank loan by The Union. If you can pay, awesome. If not, then they send Remy and Jake to repossess the artiforg most likely at the cost of your life. When Remy's wife leaves him because of his job, he takes a gander at his life and realizes he needs a changes. But during his last repo job, he is injured in an accident and has to get a artiforg heart. Now his view on life has changed. He won't make his payments now. He now needs to stand up for all those he has killed. Now he's on the run from his own job. He has a long way to go before he can free himself from the suffering he has inflicted on others.
What makes this film such a fun and interesting watch is that at its heart (no pun intended) its your usual cheesy Science Fiction flick, but it plays all the right notes to make itself rise above its own boundaries. Yeah, the story has been done before (the dispute about "Repo!: The Genetic Opera" still rages on) but it even makes fun of that by including a scene from the Monty Python sketch about men claiming organs from organ donors. It knows what it is and it embraces that fact.
Not to mention it knows what audience that its shooting for. This explains its box office flop status. It has a ton of dark humor in almost artsy like ways and the action/gore is pretty hardcore. "Repo Men" had a specific audience in mind for this film and it might have been us here at Blood Brothers for sure. Add to those elements some wonderful chemistry between our two leads, Law and Whitaker, and this movie sparks quite a bit of charm in the cult heart of this reviewer.
If there was any complaints about the film it would have to be the rather forced upon 'romantic sub-plot' that comes about half way through the film. Although the potential is there, I felt that "Repo Men" tried to hard to give this film some padding and added urgency with it that it never really needed. Of course, it was a unique way of moving the film forward that goes against the grain of what it was plotting in the first act, but its both too forced and underdeveloped. It just padded the movie down from its slick pacing.
Otherwise, I would have to call "Repo Men" a severely underrated film that deserved more. The critics may have ragged on it and the general public may have ignored it, but take it as a fun action packed Science Fiction romp and I'm sure you will enjoy it too if you like genre films. Many of you may disagree with me on this, but mark my words: "Repo Men" will find its audience at some point and at some time. Its one of those films that just breeds that cult devotion.
BONUS RANT: I was so excited when John Leguizamo showed up as a bit character, only to have him on screen for like 3 minutes. DAMN YOU AND YOU'RE TAUNTING OF AWESOME CULT ACTORS!
Written By Matt Reifschneider