The Collegian
Friday, September 18, 2020

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Featured Flick: Repo Men

Life is meaningless. The world is a conglomerated mess where make-me-buy-what-I-don't-need-and-can't-afford advertising is inescapable - a doubly wrinkled brain that is too complex to be blissful - and people are basically bags of meat with sob stories. Oh, and metal parts are rent-to-buy, at the expense of your children's college funds. But, then again, everything's meaningless, right? That is, at least until you find out you're dying.

"Repo Men" is about a disenchanted world in which everyone gets sick and big, bad corporations are raking in the money while the poor suffer. Sound socially relevant to you? Yeah, the convenient timing of this movie's release wasn't lost on me either. Only, instead of insurance, this company - called "The Union" - sells livers, hearts, eyes, etc. at $619,000 a pop and then takes them back when you haven't made your payments in four months. Hint: very few make their payments.

Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are a rabble-rousing duo of repo men who kill people and take back the company's merchandise. Then Law feels obligated to put his indifferent wife first and ends up losing his heart on the last day of the job. Not to worry, though, The Union takes care of its own - until Law realizes he can't kill anymore because he is ... one of them now. Then he makes out with the bionic woman, gets chased by "The Ear Guy" and tries to make complicated surgery without anesthesia seem sexy as hell.

The deal here is that if you know a little bit about science-fiction cinema, you'll be able to point out all of the plot devices and themes that are borrowed from other films. You'll notice a little "Logan's Run" here, a dash of "Blade Runner" there. You'll wonder about the missing pieces of the story that could've saved this only lukewarm action flick - such as why Whitaker and Law have a half-sadomasochistic love story going on, and why, if Law is as dumb as he claims to be, the story goes on for as long as it does.

And if this was your first sci-fi film - go and watch "The Fifth Element" now, go on - you wonder about things such as how on earth the bionic woman convinced more than one mechanical organ company to give her new parts when she makes pittance tips as a lounge singer. Oh, and how the world is huge and intricate but repo men, it seems, occupy every street corner, bullying people into running for their fried-chicken gobbling lives. And how the world has become so bad that these men have a license to just slice you open on that street corner and leave you to bleed out if their scanner blinks red.

These are the types of questions that might pop up during the screening, but if you can avoid them - shut down that mental organ, if you will - the film isn't bad enough to make you leave the theater in disgust or ask for your money back. Law and Whitaker's, ahem, chemistry is amusing and the action scenes are gory enough to make the repo men seem like the ruthless, wild-west-gunslinger characters they're going for.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at jordan.trippeer@richmond.edu

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