When REPO MEN was released earlier this year I never had that urge or desire to rush out to catch it. I rarely pat myself on the back, but I somehow knew that not wanting to do so was one of the better decisions I’ve made. I’ve never been shy in admitting that I’m not opposed to an excessively gory horror movie; sure I don’t always enjoy gore for the sake of gore, it just depends if it fits with the spirit of the film. While watching REPO MEN, I enjoyed certain aspects; it just had no substance to the mayhem, no stakes to root for so the excessive violence wears out its welcome very quickly. The fact of the matter is that I just didn’t know what REPO MEN wanted to be, which left me ultimately cold and frustrated in the end.
Set in the near future where people take out loans in order to pay for organs that they need in order to survive. The payments are outrageous and the recipients often find themselves unable to pay, and that’s where Remy (Jude Law) comes in. He along with his best friend Jake (Forest Whitaker) are in charge of tracking the delinquents down and retrieving the property of the company they work for and it’s never a pretty recovery. On a semi routine job Remy has an accident that sends him to the hospital where his heart has been replaced by one of his company’s expensive replacement units. He continues to have issues performing his duties, when inevitably the company comes to take back what’s theirs.
I have to start by saying I was very much on board with the film right up until Remy had his accident. After that I just completely hit a turning point where I just was not interested in the events that followed. I liked the idea, but the execution didn’t hit the kind of beats that I was engaged with. The subject matter of a future where organ are purchased on credit and taken back when you don’t fulfill the payments was already done and done recently in REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA, which also was not a perfect film, but it was done in such a way that made it interesting and wasn’t like a million other films before it. REPO MEN is just a combination of earlier and better bloody action flicks that came before it.
Visually the film doesn’t look terrible, the gore effects are all done well and the special effects aren’t prominent but look descent enough. As far as B-Movie gore and story goes the film succeeds marginally in that aspect. Jude Law has his moments during the course of the film, but devolved too much into the generic action persona. I enjoy Forest Whitaker in just about anything and the same goes here as well as Liev Schreiber, I just wish each had been involved more than they were.
It’s an odd feeling to enjoy more than half of what the film offers, but being so uninterested in the direction of events that the film becomes very uninteresting to critique. You can hammer a film that has no redeeming qualities for being visually unappealing, stale lifeless characters and a story that doesn’t grab your attention or peak your interest. It’s hard to hammer a film that has some visual flair, decent effects, semi enjoyable characters, but a story that just betrays itself. Normally a film that has three out of four marginally enjoyable aspects could be written off as a guilty pleasure, but in REPO MEN’s case I can’t give it any more credit than exercise in poor story building that cancels out the only positive elements it had going for it, and at almost two hours it’s at least a half hour too long.
While REPO MEN is high on the gore factor it fails spectacularly in delivering exciting action sequences and a satisfying conclusion. It masquerades around as a piece of B-Movie fluff but as the layers peel away it’s nothing more than a below average tasteless action flick.