Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Starring Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber, John Leguizamo
From the opening scene, when Law as Remy easily “collects” on a man who is past due on an organ of some kind, you can tell where this movie is going. He is good at what he does, one of the top “repo men” in his company, along with his best friend, Jake (Whitaker) who collect on people who have defaulted on payment for their artificial organs. We’ve come a long way from Jarvik. He is married to a woman who wants him to change jobs to one more respectable, albeit less profitable. When Jake asks him how he could consider leaving his dream job, he says, “A job is just a job, right?”
Then there is the last “job,” a pick up of one of his favorite dj’s, that goes all wrong. All of the sudden, he wakes up in the hospital, flanked by Jake and his boss (Schreiber). He has his own artificial organ now: a heart. This change of heart gives him a different mindset. Even though his wife kicks him out of the house (and away from their kid), he tries to go straight. Then his first overdue notice comes due. The script, unfortunately, writes itself. This is why the writer is not credited here.
So, of course, he finds a fellow organ (or in this case multiple) recipient also on the run (Braga), runs for a while, has it out with his buddy, and then attacks the compound, because it’s the only way to “end this.”
Since everyone has seen this movie by other names, almost every season, let’s just say that Leon: The Professional is the best version of the story and compare this one to that. IT comes across as completely below average. Law is good actor, and he is good here, given the material. The scenes range from slightly above average (nice use of music) to some absolutely ridiculous fight scenes. He goes from one place, where they run for their lives in the factory where workers are killed left and right by security. The very next scene, security holds fire as they shield themselves with another worker. Then there is the time where the parts of their bodies are reclaimed while they are still alive, in some version of a romantic scene. Yeah, gross and pretty dumb.
Braga is an absolutely beautiful woman who is a decent actress. Here she is wasted. Forest Whitaker is what you’d expect by now. He handles his scenes easily, adding what little realism can be added to such a ridiculous plot. Liev Schreiber sleepwalks through his portrayal of the boss without a conscience. Even so, his sleepwalking is better than most people’s career roles. None of this is enough to save the movie.
If you are tempted to ask yourself any questions about the sequence of choices , like why the company would debilitate one of their best employees to make him indebted to them while altogether less effective as a repo man, don’t. The movie does not care about logic. It cares about setting you up, without giving you logic to set up with.
The end of the movie is supposed to come as some sort of surprise. Instead, it is just a relief.
(* out of *****)