Okay so it’s the future right? And some stuff happened… I’m not sure what… and like the world economy has gone totally bust… and I’m not sure how that happened… and now basically er people get replacement organs from this company. I’m not sure why exactly – oh so they don’t die maybe? Hmm I’m not sure… Oh yeah and this company is really big and is called The Union which is kind of ominous if you ask me, but someone must have thought it was a good idea to call it that … they did manage to somehow recover the economy though I think so they must be okay right? Oh yeah and the guys who work for them act as a law unto themselves a bit and no one seems to mind… I think.
Well that’s the set up for Repo Men anyway – you might want to print that out and take it with you should you choose to go and watch this… I was going to throw some derogatory flippant comment in there [in the vein of “this something excuse for a film”] but worry that I may show my hand too early if I do, so let’s try again; you might want to take this summary with you if you go and see this film. Just film.
“Why so Maddog?” I hear you cry, (and I say “catch up! No one has called me Maddog in years!”) well the reason you’ll need this summary is simple… it’s all about context. Repo Men doesn’t really waste time with the formalities of “setting the scene” or “developing the atmosphere” and hey, why should it? They’re only techniques successfully employed in all forms of literature for oh… I don’t know… thousands of years, but hey enough of me being an old stickler and onto the details:
Jude Law and Forest Whitaker play The Union’s enforcers who go about “reclaiming” these organs from those hapless saps who just can’t keep up with their repayments, shrugging off the brutality of their employ by adhering to the maxim “a job’s a job” – so what happens then when Jude Law has an artiforg implanted and can’t keep up with his repayments. Somewhat inevitably, we get to find out.
Just an aside, I would’ve thought that being as he was injured in the line of duty he would’ve been given the organ for free and just gone back to work, but that wouldn’t have made as interesting a premise I suppose…
What follows is your becoming-more-and-more-typical-all-the-time Escape From the System narrative whereby rather than just lying down and have the organ ripped out of him, Jude Law uses his insider’s knowledge to try and get himself off the wanted list. That’d probably be a little boring in and of itself so there’s a woman involved too who seemingly becomes a main character purely for the fact that there needs to be another one – her involvement at all times feels fairly pedestrian and she serves to act more as a well meaning foil to Law’s escape than a serious romantic interest.
Repo Men also uses that (becoming-more-and-more-typical-all-the-time) technique of starting proceedings *at some point* through the course of the story which actually comes a bit sooner than you think, but not soon enough to be written off as an intro of prologue – which left me wondering why they didn’t just start at the beginning. Just a small niggle but one that grows every time I see the mid-point intro used lazily.
Whilst the largest part of the action is base and derivative, one particular scene that does require a shout out is one that falls towards the film’s climax – no spoilers here but it deserves a mention for being the most unashamedly gory pornographic scene I believe I have ever witnessed outside of a fetish film (not that I’ve actually seen any of those mind). Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not talking about Gorno, but actual sexualised gore. I struggled to fathom how it fit in with the events previous, more in terms of style than content. It was a pretty weird scene to watch and by the end of it I’m fairly confident in saying I wasn’t the only one in the cinema feeling a little uncomfortable. But maybe that was just because of my hard on.
Like Surrogates before it, Repo Men feels like somebody just sat down and thought “right, I’m going to do Minority Report with [insert whatever is becoming-more-and-more-typical-all-the-time here]” but the bottom line here is that Repo Men is a perfectly acceptable cinematic jaunt. It’s certainly not going to win any awards but it’s definitely not as bad as other reviews would have you believe – sure the plot Is formulaic enough for the most part (if you’ve seen the trailer then you’ve pretty much seen the first hour) but a couple of the action scenes are fast paced & interesting enough to keep you entertained and it does have a couple of cards up its sleeve to try and impress you before the events are drawn to a close (although these are so obviously sign posted throughout that you’d be a fool to miss them completely).
If in the run up to this summer’s inevitable action fest you desperately feel the need for something to get the adrenaline… well not pumping but certainly dribbling then give this a shot – or alternatively, just watch Minority Report… again.