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Hey Jude, Don’t Make It Worse

MOVIE REVIEW
Repo Men (2010)

2364_D056_00274R_CROP
Kerry Hayes/Universal Studios

The modus operandi of “Repo Men” preys on the ignorance of moviegoers, in terms of both ripping off other movies and glossing over gaping plot holes. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are the eponymous main characters, except this is supposedly our dystopian future where they repossess artificial organ transplants from those who can’t pay.

The generic, C.G.I.-generated cityscape is replete with giant JumboTrons airing commercials for this Soylent-esque evil corporation called the Union. When the repo men spot their targets, they sedate them with Tasers and then proceed to dissect them with scalpels, torture-porn style. After some nonsensical narrative shorthand, one of the hunters becomes the hunted à la “Avatar,” “District 9” and what-have-you. Then it all comes down to a climactic restaging of the centerpiece axe-wielding scene in “Oldboy,” albeit here with guns, knives and a hacksaw in addition to the axe. But the pièce de résistance has to be the scene in which Mr. Law and Alice Braga (of “City of God”) repossess each other’s organs, reaching a David Cronenberg level of revulsion without any of Cronenberg’s redeeming thought provocation. And the film would not be complete without that it-was-all-a-dream mind-fuck attempt fallen straight from “Vanilla Sky.”

The science-fiction genre generally serves up cautionary tales for the present day. Even “Avatar” has some embedded pedestrian messages about environmental and ethnic preservation. But “Repo Men” barely goes through the motions, artificially kicking things up a notch with supererogatory scalpel-heavy violence. It easily takes home the Josef Mengele award as the vilest movie in recent memory.

REPO MEN

Opens on March 19 in the United States and on April 23 in Britain.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik; written by Eric Garcia and Garrett Lerner, based on the novel “The Repossession Mambo” by Mr. Garcia; director of photography, Enrique Chediak; edited by Richard Francis-Bruce; music by Marco Beltrami; production designer, David Sandefur; costumes by Caroline Harris; produced by Scott Stuber; released by Universal Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 51 minutes. This film is rated R by M.P.A.A. and 18 by B.B.F.C.

WITH: Jude Law (Remy), Forest Whitaker (Jake), Liev Schreiber (Frank), Alice Braga (Beth), RZA (T-Bone) and Carice van Houten (Carol).

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