Written by: Kit Bowen, Special to CC2K
Repo Men is a thrilling, bloody, organ-ripping sci-fi spin on a familiar theme.
I say familiar because Repo Men works on a plot device we've seen many times before. It's set in a world in which advanced technology has progressed and artificial organs are now easily made and readily available to the mass pop. No more need to wait for a donor. The organization who has created this business, The Union, can sell you a heart, a liver, a kidney — for a nominal fee of $600+K. And if you can't pay it all up front, then they can work out a payment plan. Catch is, if you are at all delinquent in your payments – if you are, say, 90 DAYS late – then the Union has the authority to repossess said organs.
Enter the Repo Men. It's their jobs to track down those who haven't paid and rip those organs right on out of their bodies. Right there in their living rooms, their cars, wherever they get caught. It's all legal; the person signed the contract. Now here comes the part that you'll recognize: Remy (Jude Law) is one such Repo Man, who, along with his long-time partner Jake (Forest Whitaker), is very good at what he does. Cool, efficient, only doing it cause “a job's a job.” Except when an accident leaves Remy with an artificial heart, and he can't make the payments due to his sudden lack of enthusiasm for said job, the shoe is suddenly on the other foot. Now, he's the one being hunted – and by his very best friend, no less. You've seen this, right?
Luckily, Repo Men doesn't fall into any major pitfalls because just as you think you've got it all figured out, the film twists on you. Based on the novel “The Repossession Mambo” by Eric Garcia (who also co-wrote the screenplay), Remy, of course, meets up with others who are also on the run, and even falls for one, played by sexy Brazilian actress Alice Braga (“I Am Legend”). But then the final confrontation looms ahead.
On a roll these days with his terrific performance as Dr. Watson in “Sherlock Holmes,” Law doesn't have to really stretch here, but he sure looks good wielding those knives – and steaming it up with Braga. I mean, they reeeeally are hot together, even if they are running and sweating and getting the crap beat out of them. Whitaker is always good, in whatever he does, and playing the foul-mouthed Repo Man seems just as natural as playing the father in the comedy Our Family Wedding. Liev Schreiber has the inevitable task of playing the corporate bad guy whose only interest is in the bottom line.
Directed by newcomer Miguel Sapochnik, it's got that whole sci-fi, Gattica vibe with kick-ass and incredibly gory visuals. It's not for the faint of heart, that I can promise you. The blood flows freely in Repo Men. Then the last half hour comes on like a perfect storm and sends you on one doozy of a ride. Not sure why the latest trend in movies is to throw in some surprise ending, but the one in Repo Men really works. Definitely worth the ticket price.
Kit Bowen is an entertainment journalist and movie critic. She was formerly the Managing Editor for Hollywood.com and currently blogs for her site TheMovieKit.com.