Repo! The Genetic Opera

"Good"

Repo! The Genetic Opera Review


Repo! The Genetic Opera clearly strives to defy description, which of course makes it fun to describe: It's a futuristic rock musical about organ repossession from the director of Saws II through IV, starring Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Paul Sorvino, and Paris Hilton. But it's also surprisingly fun to sit down and watch, provided you're in the mood for a low-budget musical that swings for the fences rather than Oscar glory.

In the year 2056, Rotti Largo (Sorvino) heads up GeneCo, which offers financing options for organ transplants (both medical and cosmetic), and has no qualms about a gory repossession if a buyer misses a payment. Scientist Nathan (Anthony Stewart Head) moonlights as one such repo man while caring for his sick daughter Shilo (Alexa Vega from the Spy Kids movies), who yearns to break free from the confines of her bedroom. Complicated backstories are illustrated, literally, via half-animated comics-style panels.

Though the comic-book moments highlight the story's sci-fi, horror, and gothic fantasy influences, the movie really is a rock opera, in that approximately 80 percent of the dialogue is sung. This, in combination with some middling songwriting, makes a lot of the music run together in a blur of speak-singing glam-rock pastiches. Occasionally a hook pokes through the cacophony and a set piece stands out: Vega has a fairly showstopping punk number in her bedroom, with bopping stuffed animals in the background and the delightfully inexplicable sudden appearance of Joan Jett. It helps that the cast mostly really can sing, minus any operatic (or American Idol-izing) flourishes; Head has a Bowiesque mixture of detachment and anguish, Vega could keep up with any number of teen-poppers, and professional vocalist Sarah Brightman appears as the opera star of the future, complete with bionic eyes.

The movie keeps throwing out stuff like that, which is what gives us Paris Hilton as one of three squabbling GeneCo heirs, less murderous than her brothers but tragically addicted to plastic surgery (in a less musical showstopper -- spoiler alert! -- her face falls off). A surprising amount of this semi-satiric camp stuff works, at least for an accumulating number of fleeting moments. Director Darren Lynn Bousman lacks the mastery of, say, Baz Luhrmann, who introduced wild cutting into his postmodern musical only to tame it beautifully, but he at least displays an ability to step back from the Saw house style. Repo still has a lot of grotesque hysteria, but it's far less histrionic despite its ridiculous scope, and even the gore and cheap special effects are zestier than his out-and-out horror movies.

Adapted by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich from their stage play, the script doesn't slow down enough to make any real emotional impact (or hardly any songs outside of a standard thumping tempo), and it only sort of takes advantage of the elbow room offered by the movie screen (there are lots of computer-generated establishing shots of a future city we don't spend much time exploring). But the filmmakers' confidence in their semi-disposable material is infectious, and the spirit is strangely genuine; Repo! is a campy made-for-cult item we can trust, at least for 90 minutes or so.

I'm not gonna pay a lot for this muffler!



Repo! The Genetic Opera

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 20th November 2008

Box Office Worldwide: $188.1 thousand

Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Production compaines: Lions Gate Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 38

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Daniel J. Heffner, ,

Starring: Alexa PenaVega as Shilo Wallace, as Rotti Largo, Anthony Stewart Head as Nathan Wallace / Repo Man, as Blind Mag, as Amber Sweet, as Luigi Largo, Nivek Ogre as Pavi Largo, Terrance Zdunich as Graverobber, Sarah Power as Marni Wallace, Jessica Horn as Jessica Adams, Branko Lebar as Rotti's Chauffeur, Brianna Buckmaster as Sherrie Alviso

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.