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Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber
Writers: Eric Garcia/Garrett Lerner (adapted from "The Repossession Tango" by Eric Garcia)
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Company: Universal Pictures

As soon as the trailers for the Jude Law film Repo Men began to pop up on television and in theaters, the internet was abuzz. Unfortunately, it was abuzz for all the wrong reasons. The plot of the film closely resembled, some would say outright stole from, the musical/horror film Repo! The Genetic Opera directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. I admit I was thinking the same thing, but after watching Repo Men, I'm glad to say that while the idea may be somewhat similar, the execution is completely different.

In the future, which is never specified, artifical organs have been created to help the struggling and dying. The sale and implementation of these organs are done through The Union, a corporation that preys on the weak by convincing them ("you owe it to your family, and you owe it to yourself") to sign up for the operation, which costs an arm and a leg (one organ costs around 600,000+ alone!). After the procedure is done, the person is put on a payment plan with interest. If the person cannot keep up with the payments, they are given three months to come up with it. When that period passes, that's when the repo men come in. Much like how the bank will repossess your house if you cannot keep up payments, the repo men will repossess your organs, literally cutting them from right out of your body and killing you in the process.

Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) have been friends since they were kids and are the two best repo hunters in the business, working under the slimy corporate goon Frank (Liev Schreiber). Remy, although good at his job, is facing troubles at home because of his job and is contemplating moving to sales and getting out of the repo part. On his last job, a piece of his equipment malfunctions and he ends up in the hospital. His heart is in need of replacement, and he relunctantly agrees to put a Union-brand artificial heart inside of him. Soon enough, he cannot keep up with the payments and he is on the docket to have his heart repossessed by the very same people he worked with. Remy, who now cannot perform his job because he idenitifes with the people he used to cut up, goes on the run with a girl named Beth (Alice Braga), a singer at the bar he and Frank used to frequent. Together, they try to evade getting their organs taken and try to get themselves off the list in order to stay alive.

Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are really good in this, rising above the at-times awkward "throw everything we can in 111 minutes" script. Whitaker, especially, seems to be hamming it up and enjoying the ride on the cheese train. His character, the best friend of Remy, is the crazier of the two. He repeated fourth grade twice and not only accepts his repo job, he absolutely loves it. To him, repossession is just a way of keeping order, and in his (paraphrased) words "making people own up to their responsibilities". His friendship with Remy is everything to him and after Remy has the change of heart, he is conflicted with doing his job as a repo man and staying true to his best friend, not being able to figure out which path to take. Law is an excellent leading man as well, and should not be short changed. He exudes cockiness, despair, and even humor through out the movie. After his comeback in Sherlock Holmes, it's nice to see Law getting the lead in films again. He is an underrated actor.

Repo Men also benefits from a wonderful soundtrack. Whoever decided on the songs should be given a bonus, because they help create the mood of the film, which is a lot more lighthearted than you would expect. Most of the songs are older 50's standards, but they mix in really well to counteract what is going on in the movie itself and it helped me get into the movie a lot more than I would have with any other soundtrack or score.

The action scenes are definitely some of the best I have seen this year. They are intense, bloody, well choreographed, and well-shot. Sapochnick is a good action director and could be possibly do great things in the future if given the chance. There's one great scene especially towards the end, where Jude Law has to fight a whole bunch of bad guys to get towards a specific area. Mixed in with an excellent song (I don't know the name), it is just beautiful to watch and definitely my favorite scene of the whole movie. I don't want to spoil it, but if you see the movie, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

There are problems though, specifically when it relates to the romance between Remy and Beth. It's made obvious that Remy is married and has a kid, but once she kicks him out of the house, he inexplicably falls for Beth and they begin a romance that forms the crux of the whole movie. It is completely ridiculous and does not make any sense, and it annoyed me as the film went on. You are given no reason as to why Remy loves Beth, because all Beth does is speak in broken English and kiss him a lot. That's really it. If we are to believe they are in love, she should have been given more of a personality. Some of the dialogue itself is also laughable and completely ridiculous, and will annoy anyone who pays attention to things like this. There were a few moments where I rolled my eyes as the characters spoke and just wanted it to get back to the action.

Repo Men is a good waste of time on a day when you have nothing better to do. It's a shallow action movie filled with good performances and excellent music, but in the end, it's not something that proves to be very memorable and has some plot inconsistencies that can baffle any film fan. However, Repo Men is definitely worth a matinee watch.

Final Verdict:
B-

3/28/2011 06:01:48 pm

Adversity makes a man wise, not rich.

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