Repo Men (UK - BD)
Our reviewer Marcus thinks Repo Men's transplant didn't take. Time for a recall!!
It’s the near future and the Union Corporation are offering the opportunity for all citizens to have artificial organs implanted when their health is in jeopardy. All you need to do is sign a contract and keep up the monthly payments—simple as that. Unfortunately if you go more than ninety days past due, the Union has the right to take their product back and their repo men are more than happy to rip it out of you.
Remy (Jude Law) and Jake (Forest Whitaker) are some of the Union’s best repo men and regularly bring in large quantities of recalled organs, but when Remy has an accident things change for him. Ending up with his very own artificial heart, he has a change of morals towards his work and soon his payments slip leaving the Union no option but to repossess, and guess who’s coming after him? That’s right; it’s his best mate and partner Jake.
I’ll warn you now this won’t be a complete review of the movie because Repo Men is one of those movies that throws a twist at you that you’re best not knowing about up front for both good and bad reasons.
Repo Men starts us off in a very realistic future that really will only take a company or two to find the right tech and could totally happen. The imagery is subtly layered with believable tech, from video alarm clocks through to kid’s room wall holograms and captures the same sort of near future reality that Children of Men managed to present. The comparisons stop there though because where Children of Men’s politics and rules stood up, Repo Men just raises questions. Like how would a law get passed to allow corporations to literally kill people to take the product back? Or why are the implants not remotely turned off? Forcing the customer to come to the Union to sort it out and given the fact that masses of people get killed within the two hour run time, hinting that nearly nobody makes the payments, I couldn’t help but question, how the hell does this company even make money?
With that aside, the first half of the movie drew me in anyway. I really liked Jude Law’s performance, which isn’t something I can usually say. The role came with his likable sense of humour, despite the pretty gruesome job the character has and when the rug get pulled out from beneath Remy, the pacing and believable plot development had me wanting to see what happened next. Though on a side note I have zero clue as to how Remy has such a British accent considering he’s been in the U.S. since his school days? Again I’ll let it slide as it wasn’t that important.
Now here is where I have to get a little vaguer. The story takes a turn at about the half-way point that judging by the commentary from the director and the writers is intended to make you start scratching your head and questions exactly how and indeed why events start to happen how they do. To go any further wouldn’t be fair to anyone willing to give the movie a shot but I will say that Repo Men ended up feeling like two different ideas, one of which you are expected to all but disregard for the sake of a twist, which at this stage I’m still not sure is ballsy or a big ol’ cop out. Either way the movie goes from being a pretty well-orchestrated look at the possible (albeit extreme) future of medication, with a good lead character and a solid problem for him to solve to something you’re either going to go with or call bullshit on.
The 2.35:1 transfer here did a great job at selling a dark dingy future. With a lot of the movie taking place at night, the solid blacks and deep shadows make for a strikingly sharp HD image and with a clean almost grain free transfer the Repo Men disc is instantly impressive
Wide shots really utilise the 1080p, with the aerial city shots feeling alive with street lights and traffic and the close up shots coming packed with detail, especially with the surgical procedures (which is a nice way of saying massacres in the context of the movie). Skin tones and generally speaking most colours all feel natural throughout, though some of the skin textures aren’t all that consistent depending on the lighting within the scene.
For a movie that’s being promoted as an action romp, it really isn’t a constant barrage. It’s mostly dialogue and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track shows off a clear and crisp presentation. When the action does kick in from time to time it’s punchy, dynamic and offers up a range of different audio effects.
The soundtrack has a nice ring to it in both the softer jazz numbers and the harder hitting action scenes. There’s a good use of the rear speakers with bullets and blood flying around especially in the Oldboy style corridor fight that shows off the sound effects of knives, hacksaws and hammers doing damage very well and despite there not really being a real show off moment for the track, it remains a consistent one.
The commentary with director Miguel Sapochnik and writers Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner feels weirdly sarcastic. They seem to have a lot of fun together running though the making of the movie and the track doesn’t really trail off at any point but I’m not too sure I got what the intentions were with the story and its twist, even with this as a companion piece.
The Universal U-Control comes with a fact track that offers up the details of the movie's artificial organs tech specs, such as the prices they’d cost. There’s also a picture-in-picture option for fourteen of the twenty chapters giving behind the scenes footage, cast interviews and the usual making of style video segments. There’s also the D-Box option, BD-Live and a new feature called Social Blu that allows you to review the disc and features via Facebook and Twitter. I gave it a shot linking it to my Facebook account, but it seemed more adamant to push me through to Twitter (despite the Facebook symbol in the logo) so I gave up. Maybe next time.
There are five deleted scenes (08:38 SD) with optional commentary, ‘Inside the Visual Effects’ (06:08 HD) that’s essentially a VFX show reel with a commentary with the director to explain the details and lastly there’s a selection of seven 'Union Commercials' (03:30 SD).
Despite a great first act, Repo Men is a little bit of clunky mess overall and will either test your tolerance for how much you’re willing to just accept or impress you with its dedication to its slide of hand style twist. On first viewing I sort of wish it had kept the story as low key and gritty as the first half, which was a whole lot more enjoyable than the second but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the entire duration even if I did feel a little conned by the final act, twice in fact.
The disc looks and sounds great but the features do sort of let the package down a bit so this might be a rental as opposed to a blind buy.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 23rd August 2010
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Mater Audio 5.1 English, DTS-HD Mater Audio 5.1 Spanish, DTS-HD Mater Audio 5.1 French, Audio Description English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Theatrical and Extended Cut, U-Control, BD Live, Social Blu, Feature Commentary with Director Miguel Sapochnik and Writers Eric Garcia and Garret Learner, Inside the Visual Effects, Deleted Scenes, The Union Commercials
Easter Egg: No
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Cast: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten
Genre: Action and Drama
Length: 111 minutes
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