I was conflicted as to whether or not I wanted to see this movie. My reasoning is because Repo! The Genetic Opera is one of my favorite movies, and this seemed to be a total rip-off. Sure, the plot's a little different, but there are so many other similarities... and the Repo! Opera people can't sue because it's not a direct copyright infringement (you can't copyright an 'idea'), not to mention they'd be going up against one of the biggest production companies in the U.S., and they really didn't feel like bankrupting themselves. Also, the producers said they were basing this movie off a book (Repossession Mambo), which (get this) wasn't even published until last year, a year AFTER Repo! Opera was released--and, ironically, about a year after the movie began production itself--and a full decade after the Repo! Opera stage play first began. But I digress. I decided to check it out before I damned it completely. So what did I think?

Let's start off with the plot, one of the only non-stolen things in this movie. In the not-too-distant future, a company is formed to give the dying or the vain the option to get new organs and other body parts on credit. But if you can't pay your credit, they send Repo Men to hunt you down and cut the part(s) out of you while you're still alive. Remy (Jude Law) plays a Repo Man who doesn't care for his job and wants to keep it and his family separate from each other (especially from his child). But his wife is tired of the late nights and killing, so she gives him the ultimatum of taking a job in sales or leaving. His partner and best friend Jake (Forest Whitaker) wants him to stay in Repo. But after one last job that, well, backfires, Remy is forced to get a new heart from the company. He starts seeing things from the victims' perspective and can no longer go through with repossessions, which really puts a damper on paying off his credit on his heart. So when he goes past due, Remy has to go on the run and try to figure out a way to clear his debt and stay alive.

Before I get into the movie itself, I have to get all the similarities out of the way first. Of course there's the obvious Repo Men of organs idea (which in and of itself wasn't original to Repo! Opera, as there was a sketch from Monty Python that dealt with the same subject--that sketch, in fact, is actually shown in this movie briefly). But both are in a dystopian near-future. Then there's a dark-haired female singer with, I kid you not, altered eyes--among other things, but they actually made a point of the eyes at one point--and she's a pretty big part of the movie. There's the fact that both Repo Men are a bit reluctant, but still drawn in by the job. Both Repo Men have family issues that stem from the job. Both movies have an illegal street drug that helps dull pain and becomes an addiction to some people (Q in this one and Zydrate in the other); though Q is red and Zydrate is blue, so, you know... bit leap there. I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting, but I really wanted to mention the ultimate slap in the face: Marty Adams plays a brief role in both films that indebted to the respective company. And let's take a gander at his character names in both films: In this, he's "Obese Man" and in the other he's "Big Man." Uh huh.

One last one I wanted to bring up isn't even a rip-off of Repo! Opera, but I felt it was worth mentioning. At one point, Remy is fighting his way down a narrow hallway against a bunch of "hitmen" (for lack of a better term) and even uses, at one point, a hammer. Now, it's not one continuous shot or anything but... Oldboy, anyone? And then the ending--which I'll get to later--is another total ripoff to another movie that came out in the early 2000s.

But let's move on to the actual film. Besides the complete and utter unoriginality (it even pimps the book it's apparently based on in the movie, despite the book coming out after the movie already started production), it's honestly a decent movie. In fact, I might have enjoyed it more had I not been educated in films the typical American hasn't heard of. Now, this review will be mostly negative, but I'll say it now: I really did find entertainment here.

For instance, the action was decent and there were some truly wonderful music choices. But like the music, sometimes the movie felt uneven. While there were great and unique choices in music, sometimes it just stuck to the bland, basic tension-filled orchestral stuff that every other movie has. Where else the movie falters is in its tone. It seems the movie doesn't know whether it wants to be a gory action thriller or a dark comedy. There are some darkly humorous moments, but they're so scattered throughout the movie that they nearly feel out of place at times.

Another issue I had is the CGI blood. This is the second movie of late where this has really bugged me, the first being Ninja Assassin. The CGI blood is so obviously fake, sometimes laughably so, that it takes you out of the moment (and an otherwise attempting-to-be-realistic movie). At least Repo! Opera had the decency to use real fake blood as opposed to this rising trend of fake fake blood. I mean, seriously, it has to cost more to create buckets of CGI blood than buckets of the 'real' stuff.

A few final notes and then I'll shut up: The wife character was stupidly annoying and didn't make sense, especially on the subway sequence near the end. But the acting was pretty good, for the most part. Finally, I'm not sure if the ending of this movie pissed me off or not. It certainly irked me. They do one of the only original things this movie had going for it--what the characters do to get around being Repo'd--which is actually pretty damn cool... and then the ending slaps you in the face (which is already pretty raw at this point). Again, I know it sounds like I absolutely loathed this movie, and on some level I think I do, but taking out all my predispositions against it, it was actually pretty enjoyable.

*grumble grumble*

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

(P.S. I was actually going to give it one score higher, but just for the hell of it, I knocked it down one, just for being a rip-off incarnate).


  1. Good review. I was expecting it to be much worse, especially considering I'm a fan of the Opera but at least you LIKED it. I'm seeing it tomorrow. Saw Runaways...that was pretty good and seeing Bounty Hunter...yikes...but I'm looking forward to seeing this one, although my hopes will be a little lower thanks to you

  2. The ending was the final insult in this film. A cheap way to end a movie that was almost redeeming itself at that point.

    I actually didn't enjoy the music in the movie. It always seemed wrong and I couldn't get through it. And I never thought about the Oldboy connection till you mentioned it. It was an impressive bit of hammering though!


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