Repo Men, based on the novel Repossession Mambo, is an odd movie. At turns both awesome and befuddling, the film demonstrates influences from classic sci-fi b-movies to more modern action thrillers. The cast, with one exception, is strong. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker play Remy and Jake, who are the titular repo men. They work under Frank, played extremely well by Liev Schreiber, for an artificial organ manufacturing company called “The Union.” When customers fall far enough behind on payments on their organ(s), repo men are sent to reclaim said organs. As seen in the film’s trailer, Remy suffers an on-the-job accident, and receives an artificial heart, for which he is unable to pay.
The director (Miguel Sapochnik) goes out of his way to show us the cool futuristic city in many aerial shots, and then we spend very little of the film in anything resembling the future. The characters drive this year’s cars, there is at least one iPhone making an on-screen appearance, and apart from the repo men’s scanners, and the implants themselves, there is very little in the way of futuristic technology.
All of these complaints, however, are balanced out by the film’s strong points. The action scenes, particular in the set piece at the end of the movie, are spectacular. Jude Law is great; there is one scene in particular, which he shares with The RZA, that really shows off his acting chops. Liev Schreiber is also outstanding as the slimeball boss. Forest Whitaker is…Forest Whitaker. His role isn’t really a stretch for him at all.
All in all, Repo Men comes across as a movie that will be remembered in the future in the same way that films like Soylent Green or Logan’s Run are today. It’s fun, and scratches that b-list sci-fi itch, but it’s not a great, or even particularly good, film. If anything, rent it; though if you’re into cool knife fights, it’s be worth a matinee for the final set piece alone. My verdict: 2.5 of 5 Pitchforks.