Sunday, September 05, 2010

Repo Men

Year: 2010
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Cast: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga

It took a while for this film to make it to my shores, so I'm rather grateful that it did, and even happier that it wasn't badly butchered by the local censors.

Repo Men takes place in the near future, where technology has become advanced enough that artificial organs of any kind can be manufactured. A company called The Union is one such manufacturer, and they are well known in producing these organs and selling them to needy patients for a price.

However, like most expensive things you own, like a car or a house, these organs can be repossessed by The Union if their clients don't pay up on time. They send people called repo men to find the client, stun them, cut them up and take the organ back. Pretty mean, eh?

Two such repo men are Remy and Jake, best friends since fourth grade and now always in friendly competition on who's the better repossessor. Although he enjoys doing his job, Remy is being pressured by his wife to give it up and transfer to the sales department so he may spend more time with her and his son. Jake on the other hand loves his job and loves doing it with Remy even more.

Then one day, during an attempt to repossess a client's artificial heart, a mishap occurs and Remy lands in a coma. When he wakes up, his boss Frank tells him that an artificial heart has been fitted into him, which makes Remy a client of the company now.

Sure, all Remy has to do is do his job well and he'll be able to pay for the organ. However, he realises that he can no longer be a repo man like before, his heart is no longer in it, so to speak. He meets Beth, a woman filled with artificial organs and on the run, and together they become fugitives as they seek a way out of their predicament.

Miguel Sapochnik, a relatively new director, takes the helm of Repo Men. For someone new to the job, he isn't half bad. He paces the film quite well, there are very few dull moments here as he fills the time with some well choreographed action scenes. And unlike Stallone in The Expendables, Sapochnik gets a good cinematographer that successfully captures all the action perfectly. Every bloody spurt, blow and slash is glorified for the audience.

Can Jude Law be an action hero? Sure he can, if you've seen Sherlock Holmes. Here, he plays Remy with the right balance of intelligence and brawn, with a good sense of dramatic awareness. Forest Whitaker provides great support as his best friend turned nemesis Jake. Liev Screiber is excellent as Frank, the corporate manager who is pretty entertaining to watch as he reads the same customer friendly lines to everyone without missing a beat. He is a perfect representation of the big company exec who couldn't care less about customer welfare. Alice Braga rounds up the cast as Beth, Remy's romantic interest and partner in crime.

It's fascinating to note that most reviews on this film have been negative. I think it's because they were all expecting something more cerebral. If you're thinking that Repo Men is a social commentary on failing health care, corporate viciousness or the impact of technology on our way of life, think again. This movie is quite a gorefest, it's violent and unflinching, but it's also very fun to watch. There's nothing wrong in seeing some glorified carnage every now and then, and Repo Men brings it all, and manages to surprise with a twist ending too.

If you want some balls out fun, give Repo Men a try. I'd never thought I'd say it, but this is more watchable than The Expendables. (4/5)

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