Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga
Directed by: Miguel Sapochnik (debut)
Written by: Eric Garcia (debut) and Garrett Lerner (debut)
While the premise for the sci-fi thriller “Repo Men” is an interesting one, first-time director Miguel Sapochnik and first-time screenwriters Eric Garcia and Garret Lerner lose all enthusiasm once the set-up is complete. What occurs after that is unfortunate as the narrative careens into awkward tonal changes, misguided storytelling, and scenes of ultra violence utilized to kick-start the moments of banality.
In the dystopian “Repo Men,” people in need of a transplant for an organ or other body part no long have to wait years to reach the top of a donor list. For a small fortune, patients can finance anything from an artificial lung to a pair of eyes or ears. Need a new liver? Five hundred thousand dollars should cover it.
Headed by an organization known as the Union, signing on the dotted line and going under the knife to survive is easy for people desperate enough and willing to go into major debt. It’s just a matter of time, however, when a bill goes unpaid and the Union sends out repo men to reclaim what patients can no longer afford.
Jude Law and Forest Whitaker play Remy and Jake, two longtime friends who are the best repo men in the company. Slick with their scalpels, Remy and Jake can slide into a high-tense situation and get things done without much commotion. While both love their jobs, Remy is seriously thinking about joining the sales team so he can spend more time with his family. Plans change after he is injured during a mission and wakes up in a hospital in need of a heart transplant himself.
After the operation, Remy grows a conscience and can no longer do the job he once enjoyed. To make matters worse, he has fallen behind on payments, which prompts Union leader Frank (Liev Schreiber) to send Jake out to play surgeon with his friend. Why the Union can’t make an exception for Remy especially since he is the top repo man they have is beyond comprehension, but there are far too many oversights to just wag your finger at just one.
At this point, Jake has teamed up with Beth (Alice Braga), a woman whose entire body has basically been reconstructed with artificial parts. During their love scene, you’ll scoff as Remy passionately kisses her while trying to piece her back together. While the film is going for dark and twisted like “Crash” (not the overrated 2004 movie about racism in L.A., but director David Cronenberg’s 1996 trippy one about people who find car crashes sexually stimulating), it comes off as laughable instead.
Full of nonsensical ideas and plot holes that will only be ignored by audiences looking for cheap action thrills ripped off from movies like “Old Boy,” “Repo Men” doesn’t have much to fall back on once the blood dries up.