In a corporate ruled America set in the near future the technology has become so advanced basically every organ in a human’s body can be replaced. But of course every organ comes with a price hefty tag, but when you only have the choice of death otherwise a signature is quickly put under a contract for a so-called Artiforg with a payment plan. “You owe it to your family” a salesman at a company called The Union says to his potential customers. Organs are being sold like houses and cars, but when your payments are overdue the bank takes the house or the car back according to the voice-over of repo man Remy. But when the payments are overdue for an artificial organ, that is when he comes in.
Remy (Jude Law) and his long-time friend Jake (Forest Whitaker) are repo men, they scour the city with a scanner and take back organs of which the payments are long overdue. Unlike a house or a car people occasionally flee when it turns out they can’t pay their bills and an organ is of course a lot easier to carry around than a house. Cars are a different matter. In this corporate ruled America these repo men apparently have the liberty to take out vital artificial organs when the owner can’t afford them anymore. It’s a crazy idea actually; one moment you’re in your house and of to bed or playing with your children in the garden and out of nowhere comes a big guy that grabs you and starts performing surgery on you mentioning that you have the right to an ambulance on site but 9 out of 10 times the person is knocked out cold.
As is usual in this kind of movie one of the repo men gets to receive a heart transplant after an accident while on the job and becomes unable to pay for his medical bills after it turns out that he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a repo man any more. The hunter becomes the hunted and with his knowledge of the way repo men work he has and advantage and decides to fight back.
The intriguing concept which fills up the first half of the movie is being exchanged for a more running man concept the second half. It tries to start a discussion on how far companies may go to reclaim their property but mutes that discussion by flying bullets. While the topic and nice cast make this a pretty entertaining movie, I would have love to see a more philosophical approach to the material. Also certain parts felt incomplete in the story as it never really becomes clear how the media is handling deaths by repo men. In a country where euthanasia and abortion are controversial topics surely a private company killing American civilians just because they can’t pay their bills should generate some discussion. The repo men make no secret of their job even doing people in public like in the back of a Taxi, yet the general public doesn’t seem to be aware of the repossessions.
Then again this is a country with the death penalty so it could be that the general opinion is: without that organ you would have been long gone.
The ending made up quite a bit and actually shook some sense into the kind of weird final scenes. It reminded me of Abre Los Ojos. I like to think that they had and ending-transplant from that movie to this movie.