Repo Men: An Inflight Movie Review

Flying has become a bit more pleasant these days. Sure, you have to get to the airport ungodly early and are now in danger of a cavity search due to a concealed umbrella, but at the same time most international flights now have individual TV screens and a pretty decent selection of movies.

Repo Men is one of the movies that caught my attention as I forced myself to stay awake on a trip from the UK back home (screw jetlag, I’m not gonna let it make a subhuman out of me any longer than necessary). I read the quick summary and it sure rang some bells. The plot is basically about repossession of past due human organs, now why does that sound familiar? Well, maybe because of Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Since I am currently on a plane and therefore cut off from the lifeforce that is Internet data, I can’t tell which movie came first (obviously I found some internet now, and yeah, The Genetic Opera (2008) has 2 years on Repo Men(2010)). In either case, despite the similarity in plot line, they are completely different and both excel within their genre.

Repomen starts out with a story about Remy, played by the ever-gorgeous Jude Law (even with a receding hairline, he is still wonderful to behold). His best friend is Jake, played by Forest Whitaker whose versatility in acting continues to astound. Enter brutal bloody murder as they do their jobs in the night, breaking into people’s homes, zapping them with stun guns and then cutting them up to retrieve unpaid for hardware. They raid “nests” of people who are unable to make payments and are attempting to hide out. They come back to the office hauling in bloody bags of organs, zapping each other for fun, and cracking jokes as their boss assesses the haul and treats them like they adorable puppies.

Remy is having a bit of familial strife. Although his is a legal and accepted occupation, his wife doesn’t see it as just another job, although she doesn’t see him as a serial killer either, a connection Remy himself later makes as he narrates his story.

A few gory scenes later, including a murder in his front yard during his kid’s birthday party, Remy finally decides that maybe, just maybe, he SHOULD try to work a desk job, since his wife finally feels enough is enough and walks out taking their son. However, just as he makes this decision, a heart repossession goes wrong and he ends up needing a new heart himself, and with the merchandize come the payments. And so begins the second part of the movie, where he is suddenly unable to see other implantees as just idiots who got themselves into something they couldn’t handle. As he tries to make a living, with Jake bringing him to a nest and leaving a few half-dead people for him to eviscerate (much like a female cat will do with a mouse for a kitten who hasn’t worked out the business of killing just yet) in front of him, he finds that he can’t ignore his empathy for them. He can’t make money this way anymore, and a regular job doesn’t cover the bills. He must go underground.

While in hiding he meets a girl who has few of the parts she was actually born with. Beth, played by Alice Braga, forms a partnership with Remy based on their strife and he becomes her protector. However, their situation appears to be quite helpless. They run and run, but are always found, and must run again. Along the way they meet others who are like them, and who help, despite all odds. The film starts to resemble one of my nightmares where I can never stop running as Jake is given a contract on Remy. And every time you start feeling more and more comfortable with the gore, the movie hits you from another angle. For example, when Beth gets her knee cap torn out during one of her narrow escapes, she must go to a street surgeon, who lets her nine-year old daughter help out.

Despite how you think the movie is likely to end, you are likely wrong, and the heart-rending twist at the end is well worth watching the entire gory movie for. But truly, there are no down sides to it, unless you are averse to carnage. There is plenty of action in this sci-fi film, and romance, and certainly drama, but it is also a movie that so obviously correlates with the current financial situation, and then explores the meaning of friendship and duty and how far we are willing to go to delude ourselves that what we are doing is right. A lesson to learn is maybe that if you have to keep telling yourself that you are doing the right thing, you’re probably not.

Fans of movies like Fightclub and 28 days would enjoy this excellent film.

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