Repo Men

Time Out New York Project: Issue #756, March 25–31, 2010


Dir. Miguel Sapochnik. 2010. R. 111mins. Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga.

Banish all thoughts that this is the long-delayed sequel to Alex Cox’s 1984 cult item, Repo Man, though there are plenty of moments when the appearance of a flying, green-glow Chevy Malibu would be a welcome distraction. A tedious example of speculative fiction, Repo Men concerns Remy (Law), a stone-cold repossessor for a Faustian conglomerate specializing in prohibitively expensive cybernetic organs. But one freak accident in the line of duty later, and this corporate shill’s got himself an overpriced robotic ticker that turns him into an empathetic and head-smashing anticredit revolutionary. Ooo, the irony, Mr. Tin Man!

Befitting a story about a bunch of guys reclaiming spare parts — a liver here, a kidney there — the film feels cobbled together from all manner of cinematic scraps. There’s the Blade Runner cityscape and the bloodier Oldboy hallway showdown. Remy and his gal pal, Beth (Braga), also do the Cronenberg body-horror thing in a climactic sequence in which they tenderly slice-and-scan each other to access a computer mainframe, while a bittersweet epilogue seems an explain-it-all rebuke to the “happy ending” of Spielberg’s Minority Report. The literal-minded is favored over the enigmatic, to the point that Repo Men’s most inspired moment (when a typewriter is dropped onto an antagonist’s head) comes off as an unintentionally pointed critique.—Keith Uhlich