Repo Men

Repo Men, which opened today, gives new meaning to the term dead-beat client”. Back in the day, say 1984,when Emilio Estevez was making a name for himself as an up-and-coming actor, he starred with Harry Dean Stanton in the classic film, Repo Man. When Estevez and Stanton did their jobs as auto repossessors, the dead-beat client likely woke up the next morning and said something along the lines of, “Geezus, my car’s gone!

The main difference between then and now is that once the new Repo Men have done their thing, the dead-beat clients simply don’t wake up.

Many of you who will want to see this movie are quite likely familiar with the CSI TV show, both the original, set in Las Vegas, and the spin-offs located in New York and Miami. Imagine then this exchange between CSI Lt. Horatio Caine and his Medical Examiner, Dr. Alexx Woods,

“So Alexx, you’re saying our friend here bled out?”
“That’s right Horatio – but exsanguination is only a part of it…”
‘Why is that Alexx, I was told there was a huge wound to his chest. What did the vic’s heart tell you?”
“That’s just it H, there was no heart – there’s just an open, empty space where it should have been.”

And there’s your your basic plot line of Repo Men. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker work for the not the least bit benevolent health care firm called The Union. And yes, they are the titular “Repo Men”. They don’t repossess cars for an auto finance company, nor do they steal cars and bring them back to a chop shop where the parts are harvested for resale. No sir, these masters of the culinary arts style known as slice and dice, repossess body parts like artificial hearts, kidneys, colons, and stomachs. They are simply the mobile chop-shop that you never could have imagined.

When the clients signed the dotted line in a leasing arrangement with The Union, their lives may have been saved, as their flawed or breaking down body parts were replaced with brand new ones from The Union. In exchange for what was more often than not crushing debts, their families might still enjoy the presence of the newly repaired loved one.

For sure the clients are now alive and well, as in ‘takes a licking and keeps on ticking‘. But it would have been a hell of lot cheaper to simply die in the first place, and far less painful than dying in the second place – which was usually the case when Jude as Remy and Forest as Jake visited.

If you defaulted and failed to make your payments, these guys would find you via  a hand-held tracking machine , and with or without your consent, they’d  take back The Union’s property. The debt was canceled, and the body part was reclaimed, all at no out of pocket expense to the client. One might say that after a visit from these Repo Men, the client died of natural causes – like his heart stopped beating, while it was being forcibly removed from his body.

So there it is. A Grand Guignol of the medical arts. Maybe we could best describe this film as  Blade Runner meets House MD, or Grey’s Anatomy on acid. Or in other words – a reverse ER. You aren’t taken to the hospital. Instead, these unlicensed surgeons in mufti come to you, and when they’re done with their repossession work, you won’t be in any kind of position to hit them with a malpractice suit because you will already be dead or soon to be dead, as in very soon.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, and with Liev Schreiber as Jake and Remy’s bottom-line is everything boss down at The Union’s headquarters, where they ardently believe in cutting, but it won’t be costs, the film plays out as a combo horror, sci-fi, and chase thriller with some black humor tossed in for seasoning. You see, Jude Law’s character Remy is like the guy on TV who is selling the hair transplants, you know the one who says, Yeah, I’m also a client.



Remy/Law has a setback, sort of an on-the-job-injury,  and awakens one day with a brand new ticker and a mountainous debt as well as a new feeling about his chosen profession.  After Frank (Schreiber) refuses to take Remy out of the system unless he gets the heart back,  Remy hits the road, Jack, and his ex-partner Jake, played by Forest Whitaker is assigned to track him down and repossess The Union’s heart.

Give me back the heart …

If geysers of spurting blood are something you like watching, or if you can buy into Jude Law doing his best to remind you of Jason Statham, if you like your futures to be dark and dystopian ala Blade Runner, or if you want to see Alice Braga wriggling in tight clothing or writhing beneath her lover’s blade – and to hell with sensibility and sensitivity as well as logic, then Repo Men is for you.