This ‘Repossession Mambo’ Isn’t for Everyone

Eric Bourse

In the not-so-distant future, people can receive artificial organs provided by a corporation called “The Union.” However, failure to make payments on time will result in repossession of the artificial organs, called “artiforgs,” without any regard for the customer’s life.

“Repo Men” is a sci-fi thriller directed by first-time feature film director Miguel Sapochnik. The script was written by Eric Garcia (“Matchstick Men,” 2001) and Garrett Lerner (“House M.D. 2005”) and was based on Garcia’s novel, “The Repossession Mambo.”

The movie stars Jude Law (“Sherlock Holmes,” 2009) as a repo man, Remy and Forest Whitaker (“Where the Wild Things Are,” 2009) as Jake, Remy’s partner in the repo business and best friend. Both work for The Union and are considered the best repo men on the corporation’s payroll. Their boss, Frank, played by Liev Schreiber (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” 2009) assigns Remy a job to reclaim a musician’s artificial heart. The job doesn’t go as planned.

Remy suffers a cardiac arrest after being electrocuted by one of his tools. He wakes up in a hospital and to his horror, finds himself hooked up to The Union’s latest artificial heart. He tries to work off his massive debt from his own employer but can’t bring himself to kill people to repossess their organs.

After he is 90 days behind his payments, Remy is forced to flee and find a way out of the system, all while being hunted by The Union’s repo men, including Jake. Remy isn’t alone though, he is also on the run with his love interest Beth, played by Alice Braga (“I Am Legend,” 2007), a woman with more than 10 past-due artiforgs.

The action in “Repo Men” is fast and brutal. Heads are smashed, throats are slashed and bodies are stabbed multiple times. This doesn’t even include the repossession scenes, where chests and stomachs are sliced open while a repo man digs in to reclaim the artiforg.

The dark humor mixed in “Repo Men” works surprisingly well. The flashback scenes with Remy and Jake as school children fighting on the playground as well as the scene in which the two are bouncing up and down gleefully in a tank while killing enemy combatants, reveal how violence is just second nature for them as well as providing humor.

Despite the solid effort from both the director and the cast, “Repo Men” suffers from being derivative. The premise is very reminiscent of “Repo! The Genetic Opera” (2008) and “Blade Runner” (1982). The ending is also extremely similar to the conclusion in “Brazil” (1985). Even the film’s best action sequence, which occurs in a long hallway, is way too familiar to anyone who has seen “Old Boy” (2003).

Although the lack of originality in “Repo Men” is the film’s greatest blunder, the film did succeed in being an entertaining two hour diversion. However, full admission price is only recommended for those who already have a lot of interest in the film.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“Repo Men” runs 111 minutes and is rated R for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and some sexuality/nudity.