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REPO MEN (2010)

2010 film adaptation of the 2009 sci-fi novel about men who repossess people's organ implants.

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ANY Human Organ Can Be Replaced; Just Make Sure You Can Afford It...Or You LOSE it!

  • Mar 20, 2010
Title seem familiar? That’s because director Miguel Sapochnik’s “REPO MEN” is based on the novel "Repossession Mambo". It is unrelated yet may be seen as a movie closely related to the 2008 musical entitled “Repo Men: The Genetic Opera” which covers the premise of 'repossessing artificial' organs but instead delivers the idea with great vocals and musical talent that was also based on that novel. Truth be told, I am not exactly fond of musicals which is why I missed the 2008 film; so of course I would be real interested in watching this more conventional film about a gonzo, organ-reclaiming delight that I assume (remember I freely admit I am a tad biased with musicals, so "Genetic Opera" was just not for me) the film attempts to focus more on being something a little more intellectual and even darkly satiric than its musical counterpart. 

            Forest Whitaker as Jake, Jude Law as Remy and Liev Schreiber as Frank in "Repo Men."

                                 Jude Law as Remy in "Repo Men."
When you miss payments for your car, the car gets reclaimed by the bank. If you miss payments for your mortgage, your house goes into foreclosure. In this futuristic world, organ failure has a cure and you don’t have to wait for a donor. The corporation called the “Union” makes artificial organs and they are very expensive. Miss payments for more than 90 days and “Repo Men” such as Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whittaker) may come knocking at your door; to take back what the ‘union’ has lent to you. Things are good for the two since they have known each other for awhile; first as kids, joined the army and now they are two of the top organ retrievers in the business. However, while on a job, Remy gets into an accident that causes him to require a new heart. Because of this sudden change, Remy loses his edge, and he cannot perform his work in the repossession business. Thus, Remy is unable to pay his bills and puts himself in the other side of the equation. Running across a singer named Beth (Alice Braga), he has long harbored feelings for and he teams up with her to try and escape the army of ‘repo men’ hot on the trail of bad credit…one of them is his own best friend Jake.

              Jude Law as Remy and Alice Braga as Beth in "Repo Men."

                            Liev Schreiber as Frank in "Repo Men."

                A scene from "Repo Men."
As I’ve mentioned, I never saw the original musical so I cannot really see the differences in the script. One thing is for sure, Sapochnik’s version forgets about the musical atmosphere and instead takes on a more sinister tone as the film goes to expose this world of corporate future. The set designs have a little similarity to “Blade Runner” but not entirely too much. This world of the future is filled with advertisements and bad health can be fixed for a very high price. This world is definitely controlled by the corporations, as the screenplay captures the inside and outs of the organ market. This is a place where capitalism is rampant and the hell with morals.
One might say that the film is a cautionary tale about someone who lets his job become his central focus as the film often states: “It’s just another job” but in the end we are defined by our jobs and we become what they are. I guess the film takes the intellectual thought-provoking side of the themes of greed and corporate capitalism. I liked the manner with which the screenplay exposes this side of the equation as we see Jake and Remy go on the hunt, trying to hunt down unpaid organ accounts. It is only another job indeed…but what happens when that job causes other their lives? One can lose their soul and even their family in the name of rules established by our society.

            Forest Whitaker as Jake and Jude Law as Remy in "Repo Men."

                                    Jude Law as Remy in "Repo Men."
The film has several scenes of action that is dispersed throughout the film. “Repo Men” is gonzo and it is just a delight to see the two go after their targets. The direction also remembers to inject some black humor that were cleverly placed throughout the film. There are however some weaknesses to its script, that I felt that once Remy becomes stuck on his debt, the film loses some of its footing and the pace becomes a little slow. I guess it was necessary to have the viewer settle down a little so that they could get more acquainted with this future. The direction lost some of its energetic momentum as the film experiences a slight shift in tone that I felt that some scenes have been edited from this theatrical release that developed Remy’s and Jake’s respective characters. I didn’t exactly mind this change as the viewer is taken into the underground of this world. While we the see the nifty skyscrapers, the slums are well still slums. Some parts of this world may be a little more advance but the poverty-stricken areas have become ‘nests’ for those who couldn’t pay their bills. Also, you would be correct to guess that anything expensive with high demand would have a black market. The scene that brings this into exposition is a clever one for sure, that I found it real amusing albeit it was a typical stereotype.
Despite its sudden change in pace and tone, that made it lose some of its momentum, the script manages to salvage itself when Remy goes directly against the system for his last stand. I never thought I’d see a guy in a “lung” costume beat up a corporate stooge on film (I loved this scene). We also see a scene that is almost reminiscent of the hallway fight in the Korean film “Oldboy” as Remy and Beth attempt to fight their way in the corporation. Once at the goal, we see Remy and Beth display some weird display of sexual intimacy while they “check” each other into inventory; this is sexual innuendo taken to the extreme. Damn, I could almost imagine that David Cronenberg had a hand in those scenes. However, once all the chaos settles and everything is revealed, I found that I felt like I was cheated on its climax. Sure, it left a bad taste in my mouth, but it did make sense in this future.
“Repo Men” is ultimately a success. I was just slightly disappointed that the movie wasn’t as chaotic, deranged and bloody as it should have been. Still, the film is just GONZO Fun!
Recommended! [4- Stars]

HYPE LEVEL: Moderate. The Expectations established by the musical is pretty high among cult fans. But the film does go over expectations. 


ANY Human Organ Can Be Replaced...Just Make Sure You Can Afford It.

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May 20, 2010
This film has exactly what I've been looking for : it isn't predictable (maybe a bit, but the ending really surprised me! - masochism might be a good word?) anyways.. great review!
May 21, 2010
I am with you! I liked this film despite its flaws. It was pretty good imho. Btw, I noticed that you like martial arts, care to join my other community that includes Asian martial arts movies? It is called AsianFlixFix. Join us!
April 16, 2010
I never was interested in The Genetic Opera but this film was one of the few that really captured my attention I love dark and gritty movies and especially ones with a unique twist on the genre or something that relates to real life and "Repo Men" seems like my type of film. I have just one question have you read the novel? If so then is it good? And is the film close to it? Oh! and good review by the way.
April 20, 2010
I am pretty much alienated by anything musical so I haven't seen GENETIC OPERA either. I think you may appreaciate this since I feel that you have a feel for this type of filmmaking. Unfortunately I haven't read the book yet...but according to my sources it is pretty close.
April 07, 2010
Dude I have missed alot lately but I do really want to see this, excellent review. Also I liked the musical, normally not my thing but.....
April 20, 2010
my friend there is a lot you have missed LOL!
March 25, 2010
I think I have to see both version. I'm not realy that into musicals though. I know, I know! Bollywood isn't like American musicals though, and I only watch Gene Kelly movies for Gene Kelly's dancing.
March 26, 2010
I think you may appreciate this one, Karen. It is a little bizarre but I liked its weird form of humor. I'm really not into musicals myself...but hey, THE WICKER MAN was a musical right?
March 26, 2010
Well the longer original Brit version did have a lot more songs in it that the U.S. version did--which is probably why I like the American version better! But I think I'm gonna like both versions of this when I get around to 'em. After all Anthony Stewart Head from Buffy is in the musical version.
March 21, 2010
Cool review and nice photos, but...
It's weird, but I found no info anywhere on IMDb or Wikipedia that this film is in any way related to "Repo: The Genetic Opera". It has totally different writers, director, producer, and isn't even put out by the same studio. I think the only connection is in the title and the idea of repossessing organs. Also, you refer to the musical as "Repo Men: The Genetic Musical", which is not the actual title.
March 21, 2010
Yeh. This has different writers and everything to the musical, and they do both have the premise of repossessing human organs--they're both based on the novel "Repossession Mambo". (according to wikipedia). Thanks for catching the "Opera" thing, I changed it. I told you, I hate musicals LOL!
March 21, 2010
I bet you'd like that one. It's kind of twisted... like you. =D
March 21, 2010
you guys have no idea how twisted I am...but let's not scare the children shall we? ;-)
March 21, 2010
Oh, I think we have a pretty good idea of how twisted you are... and what children? I think you have to be 18 to join this site.
March 21, 2010
I just checked and it has nothing to do with "Repo: The Genetic Opera". "Repo" was based on a musical stage play and the film began shooting in 2007. "Repo Men" was based on a novel that came out in 2009. The concept of repossessing organs and the word repo are the only connection.
March 21, 2010
This is the movie in 2008: http://www.amazon.com/Repo-Genetic-Opera-Pau...d&qid=1269207256&sr=8-1 Think both movies were based on Repossession Mambo. But hey, if it's not a remake...then the better!
March 21, 2010
Thnaks for the information though. I've made some adjustments to the introduction.
March 21, 2010
I do believe this movie is just one of those that extends beyond the current realm of the world of finance where people are no longer accountable for their actions. Let me elaborate, in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the uninitiated blames it on the government for their corruptions & all. But, the invisible hands are those who speculates on FOREX and all those who didn't but still sell because of fear. Everyone is accountable & yet no one is responsible for the entire mess?! The same repeats again for the 2008 financial tsunamis. In future, the world may even go into war in the name of self-preservation but ultimately, societies have degenerated since its heydays! If I see this on dvd, I'll check it out. Thanks!
March 21, 2010
Great commentary you have there, Sharrie! This was quite enjoyable and I think you may enjoy the commentary on morality and as you said 'accountability'. If you like British black humor then you will like it too.
More Repo Men (2010 movie) reviews
review by . July 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     "Repo Men" is a movie that treats gore like an everyday necessity. The film is a celebration of blood, organs, and repossession involving both; which makes it a somewhat interesting movie. If you like gore, then you've got gore. But for once, this is a gory film that is not a horror movie. It is, instead, a work of science fiction. It's not insulting to the genre, although by the end, I couldn't help but wonder if the screenwriters took their script seriously. …
review by . December 07, 2010
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were able to replace vital organs as needed with no complications? Who wouldn't want to be able to see better, hear farther, live longer, ease the burden of things like Alzheimer's from our loved ones? But nothing comes free, right? In today's consumer-driven society, people generally appear to have great difficult grasping the difference between "necessity" and "desire". However, you better be very clear in your own mind about what both of those things mean to you, …
review by . March 14, 2011
When it comes to blood and guts I have a relatively high tolerance level. I can handle quite a bit before I start to squirm in my seat, but Repo Men hits that tolerance level within the first five minutes and does not let up. It rips and tears at your insides, slashing, pulling and tugging and just when you think you're about to get a break it starts all over again.      I feel like Universal took a chance with this film, and about half way through either didn't like …
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This film really didn't work for me. The script lacks any originality and takes a concept that was done to death in far better films and novels and tries to add in a bit of action and social commentary. Well, it got the action part right, but that's about it. While Jude Law makes for an interesting antihero, his character isn't sympathetic enough and his redemption is based out of selfishness and not true altruism. The story itself is full of plotholes and the twist ending is almost …
review by . March 22, 2010
Many viewers will call the plot of Repo Men just plain silly and many critics already have. Indeed the idea of a corporation reclaiming life-saving organ transplants from its constituencies who cannot keep up with the payments sounds more like a fun plot than one to be taken seriously. But the reality is that there is more science than fiction in this sci-fi flick. Mechanical organs for humans may not yet be owned, but human genes are. And, somewhat similar to The Union – the privatized organs …
review by . December 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: thought provoking, interesting tale, good cast     Cons: potentially disorienting, depressing or off-putting to viewers     The Bottom Line: Entertaining, but does not fulfill its potential     Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were able to replace vital organs as needed with no complications? Who wouldn't want to be able to see better, hear farther, live longer, ease the burden of things like Alzheimer's from our loved ones? But nothing …
review by . August 24, 2010
I really liked this movie. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker were amazing! The storyline is chilling and totally believable.
review by . July 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
REPO MEN may be worthy of a bit of interest in the novel form 'The Repossession Mambo' by Eric Garcia (who co-wrote the script with Garrett Lerner), but as a film it is simply silly. After about fifteen minutes into the movie the greatest temptation is to turn it off, but since it is paid for you sit through it, hoping that it will have some redeeming graces. Mistake.    Directed by neophyte Miguel Sapochnik whose credits are in art direction, the film for some reason has a number …
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About this movie


In 2025, a corporation called The Union has perfected the creation of artificial organs, which have replaced organ transplants. A potential customer can apply for an organ, which are sold on credit, usually with a large interest rate attached. If the customer is unable to maintain payments after three months, a repo-man is sent to the customer to reclaim their property. The process of the repossession is brutal, and often results in the death of the customer.
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Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: March 19, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Eric Garcia, Garrett Lerner
DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
Runtime: 111 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
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