A grim future where hard working people are pressured into buying replacement organs on credit is the setting for this action flick that focuses on a pair of men who come calling when patients fall behind on their payments.
Newscasts play over the opening credits and catch up the viewer on the state of things in this futuristic flick. Apparently the world economy is in sad shape after global warfare has all but obliterated every nation’s working capital. Times are tough but the upside is that Blues music is popular again.
The scene shifts to our main character, Remy, as he confronts a work subject. This guy has fallen behind on his replacement organ payments and Remy is there to get it back. The guy states he actually has the money but, sadly, that is not Remy’s department .
Once a victim is knocked out(okay tasered) there is a ritual. The unconscious dope is asked if he would like an ambulance summoned . Since the subject is knocked out it is routinely assumed that no medical assistance is wanted as it would only add to the subject’s financial burden. The organ is hastily removed (while Remy digs Mambo music on his Walkman)and brought back to the home office to be catalogued so the Repo Person can receive their bounty. Then it’s off for the next one.
It sounds grisly but Remy and his buddy, Jake, have become used to it. They seem like nice guys otherwise and attend barbecues, bars, and baseball games together on a regular basis That said Mrs. Remy doesn’t like it one little bit and the stress comes to a boil when Remy lets Jake grab a subject just outside their apartment.
Things get worse when Remy winds up needing a new heart after a Repo job goes badly. In no time he finds that he can’t keep up with the payments and is soon contemplating making a run for it. He very quickly loses his stomach for the work and starts seeing his meal tickets as fellow humans with money problems. Before you know it he is forced to kill a co-worker that comes gunning for him and all bets are off a she uses his knowledge and skill set against his former colleagues.
The stage is set for a massive retaliation. He teams up with another victim and the pair plan to invade his company and destroy the computer that keeps accounts for all of the surgeries that aren’t paid in full. This ,of course, means shooting at lots of guys and smearing the screen with entrails but that’s no problem for a guy trained to do meatball surgery on the fly.
This is grim stuff but it totally works thanks to sharp filming and a top notch cast. Jude Law makes for a likeable hero as Remy. He manages to make a convincing turn from indifferent Repo Man to cunning rebel with a conscience. Forest Whittaker is also good as Jake whose friendship is sorely tested when he
draws the assignment to take down Remy. Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) steals all of his scenes as the corporate weasel whose job it is to convince credit risks to get new organs so the company can make big dough off the payments until its time to take back their parts and sell them to, yet another, poor schmuck.
This could have used a little humor but the grim ending is so good that the flick can be forgiven. Politically this is a savvy yarn that uses the future to depict what is wrong with our current credit card industry. It’s a theme that goes back to the company store scam depicting how the top ten percent exploit the bottom ninety. Sadly the top group looks like it will continue to shrink while the lower middle class grows to epic proportions.
The unrated cut adds about 8 minutes of deleted scenes that would have added a lot more humor. that version is even better and ,luckily, on the same disc.
Best Lines: “We’ve got to dump this and get you a new kneecap.”
“We don’t make money when they pay in full.”
“Can’t pay for your car, the bank takes it. Can’t pay for your house, the bank takes it. Can’t pay for your liver, well that’s where I come in.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.