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Under Review: ‘Repo Men’

— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —

It seems like heath care is an increasingly-heated debate among political giants, but this weekend, Miguel Sapochnik joins the dispute.

Though it may seem unfair to target the first-time director for an almost complete misunderstanding of the health care system, it should be worth pointing out that his argument is pure cheese. Of course, I’m talking about Sapochnik’s debut picture “Repo Men.” This pseudo-social commentary is just too stupid and bloody to be considered relevant, but at least it’s decently entertaining in a barbaric way.

In “Repo Men,” the talented Jude Law plays Remy — a repo man who works for the multi-million dollar health-care corporate called “The Union.” Operated by a shady businessman named Frank (Liev Schreiber), The Union is responsible for the creation and sales of mechanical replacement organs. The only catch is that these organs carry an enormous price-tag and failure to submit enough payments forces The Union to send a repo man to retrieve these medical breakthroughs. This is where Remy comes in. Alongside his long-time partner and friend Jake (Forest Whitaker), Remy surgically extracts the organs and sends them back to Frank for repossession.

But Remy has a change of heart (literally and figuratively) following a failed repossession that sends him into a coma. He wakes up to the news that he’s been supplied a replacement heart. Contrary to Jake’s reassuring words that Remy will be back to “knocking ’em dead,” Remy finds himself unable of performing further repossessions. Over time, Remy acquires a large debt and this in turn causes Frank to send Jake after him.

In the opening scene of “Repo Men,” Remy is shown writing a manifesto against the corrupt union. In the humorously-titled “The Repossession Mambo” (the actual title of the novel the film is based off), Remy explains that a man’s job reflects upon his character. This ideology carries over quite nicely when analyzing the film’s characters. Remy and Jake are nothing but repo: emotionless and calculating. Even when Remy decides to go against the corporation, there is only the sense of a cold-blooded murderer.

Surprisingly, this lack of attachment among the film’s characters is what maintains at least some of its enjoyability. Too poorly acted to be remembered for its performances and too amateurish in its screenplay to be memorable for the story — all that remains is the shock-inducing violence. With the lack of any emotional connection to the leads, the campy action sequences are undeniably easy to indulge in just for their stupidity.

“Repo Men” is in need of help from The Union. Perhaps if it had a brain and some heart, it’d be an intriguing social commentary instead of a mindless and soulless affair that’s only entertaining because of its sheer idiocy.

. . .

Follow Mariusz Zubrowski on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMariusz.

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1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    I really hate the fact that they chose to call the health-care corporation “The Union”. I guess I’m supposed to see some irony in that but I just can’t.

    I already knew I wouldn’t want to see it but this only confirms it.


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