Repo Men Short Review With No Spoilers Since Critics And The Trailer Have Already Done That (3 of 5)
Repo Man is certainly getting a bad rap , derided by ‘critics’ and getting something like 20% on a certain Tomatometer. I must state reiteratively, that this IS getting a bad rap. I appreciated the effort made by the film at any rate. I went into this thinking it can’t be as bad as all the critics have said, can it? And it wasn’t. I actually had a pretty good time.
The trailer gives away a significant amount of the story, but as I always say, if you know how stories work you usually can figure out where a movie’s going anyway. There were a couple of explanations that didn’t work for me and some twists that are out of the blue, nevertheless it was still fun enough to work for me. I think the movie has confused some of the critics. This is as much a satire as Robocop was, if not quite as good. If you expect a comedy, an action flick or something strictly sci-fi, you’re going to be disappointed. You will get elements of all 3, though.
The down side to the film is that it’s a little jumpy and has some stark contrasts from scene to scene (not nearly as much as Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones or last year’s Watchmen). That’s possibly because director Miguel Sapochnik is a bit inexperienced… Or could be the editor, who knows?… The script had some flaws that contributed to the movie’s problems. The screenwriter team of Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner provided some weak character motivations and an ending that was a bit of a Dues Ex Machina, but, overall, the movie ‘worked’ for me. The 3 main reasons (for me) were firstly: the actors.
Jude Law, Forest Whitaker and Liev Schrieber are all actors that can be put in the ‘cerebral ‘ category’. They’re a little better than the script. Jude Law when given the chance , can carry a movie fairly easily, which he does here as one of the Repo Men who repossess bodily organs from ‘clients’ who haven’t kept up with their health care bills.
Schrieber does a solid job as (not necessarily) the happily snakey antagonist of the film. I say ‘(not necessarily)’ because I don’t think he’s the real villain of the story. I think Repo Men has some similarities in its theme to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, to give a hint to what I mean (Repo Men’s not as good as that one, either). He was better cast as this character, than as Sabretooth in the last film that I saw him in (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was a crap title, and I should know since I’m a crap title writing kind of guy).
Forest Whitaker probably had the worst written character of the 3. There is one particular ‘reveal’ in the movie concerning his character that just wasn’t thought about long enough by the writers. Not his fault.
Alice Braga holds her own as the eventual love interest. I liked her more as the movie went on. She’s not well known in the US even though she’s already been in a few ‘big’ movies. I imagine that might change after her next movie (Predators) is released.
One last thing I would like to add, there have been many critics that have talked about how ‘overly gory’ that Repo Men is, which just IS NOT TRUE. There are only few moments in the film that I would characterize as gory, especially for a movie that revolves around the idea that this one does. Right off the bat we get a depiction of what the Repo Men actually do and surprisingly to me (after all the gore talk), it was quick (lasting only acouple of seconds) and was as gorey as the film got. Most everything in the film was implied. This isn’t a ‘splatter pic’. I’m not a gore-hound, but I actually think it could have used a healthy dose of Monty Python-esque bloodletting. I think the critics that have derided the film, might have been able to figure out that this was meant to be satire and not to be taken at face value.
It should have been obvious. At one point, Law’s Repo Man, while repossessing a music artist’s (RZA) body parts, allows him to record his last song. He even assists him in giving his two cents about the song content and promises to deliver the last recording to the man’s record label. Then the man proceeds to lay down to allow him to take the part back, which doesn’t exactly work out too well.
Most of the finale involves implied gore. I mentioned Robocop earlier and in comparison with that movie, this movie is tame. If you ARE a gorehound, you’re going to feel like you got snowed/taken/owned/cheated/rode/duped.
3 of 5 whatevers. Could have been better (even without a large budget), but definitely too good to be ‘panned’ by the majority of critics and completely ignored by audiences. Decent action scenes especially from the middle to the end, some dark laughs and a bunch of decent actors made for a moderately enjoyable film.