QT3 Movie Podcast: Repo Men

Repo Men. Does it have a twist? A reveal? Is it more like Brazil or Blade Runner? Is it a biting commentary on health care or a Philip K. Dick adaptation, or both? How are you supposed to say RZA’s name? In which Star Wars movie was the quote “The Force is strong, Luke”? And why are there a handful of great scenes in this movie? These questions and more are answered, followed by this week’s 3x3 for our choices of MacGuffins worth remembering. Fast forward to the 47:30 mark if you don’t want Repo Men spoiled. Well, “spoiled”.

Next week: Greenberg…

I had a real good time watching Repo Men. Nothing like organ harvesting to give a reason for huge action scenes.

The ending was even a bit twisty! I was pleasantly surprised.

I was hoping this would be to Repo Man what Aliens was to Alien.

You’re high, Tom – it was absolutely supposed to be a holy-shit-I-never-saw-that-coming twist.

Also, I found nothing to enjoy in this movie at all. It was honestly one of the least enjoyable movie-going experiences I have had a in a long time.

I did also guess about the ending when they mentioned the neurological implant. Abre los Ojos is what I though of right off.

I didn’t make the knockout connection. I thought he was just stressing why he’s good at his job- he can take physical punishment, a small brained thug.

I don’t think mentioning the implant was hinting at the twist, I think it was more setting up the twist but as low key as possible ie shop talk. This is in order to avoid having the audience wonder “where did THAT tech come from?” at the end and getting mad. These guys repo organs, it makes sense that they’d talk about the latest implants. After all, new high tech implants would directly translate to high pay for them sooner or later. So I think those are meant more as throwaway lines than direct hints to the audience.

The main reason I didn’t like the movie was because it shied away from what should have been the best thing about the movie- the amorality of the main character. Here’s a guy who carves people up for a living, a guy who can go from family man to guy with new girlfriend in the blink of an eye, a guy who can kill a bunch of airport security people just doing their jobs(politely no less)- and it wussifies him. Yeah it’s ironic, he had a change of heart and the mechanical one is more human than the organic one he was born with. It’s still not as much fun to see as Crank 2.

The other weird thing I thought as I was watching this movie is that almost all the implants are necessary, the ones we see the repo men take back. Livers, hearts, etc. So why the big sales pitch? Either you get one or you die. So who wouldn’t get one and worry about paying for it later? Even if you know about the repo men and how they work, why would you say no to a new heart? Without it you’re dead, with it maybe you can pay for it or make a run off the grid as last resort.

Yeah…I also didn’t get why the Union “makes less money” when people “pay in full.” Don’t they lose money on every repo, cuz they gotta pay Jude and Forrest their commissions?

Also, Tom’s superhigh. Generally.

High, super-smart, what’s the difference?

Seriously, though, I am soooo thick when it comes to seeing twists. But I saw this thing coming down 5th Avenue! How did you guys miss it?


Because they don’t have to produce as many prosthetic organs, which I’m guessing are super expensive (Inferred in the movie). They make some money on people who pay as much as they can, and then they take them back, hose em off, and insert them into another person.



Well, my reaction was much like Kelly’s – I wasn’t thinking about it and it didn’t exactly occur to me before it happened, but when it did, I said, “Oh, yeah, right. Sure.” The guy I saw it with was as certain it was going to happen as you and Christian were. I don’t really think it matters that I didn’t realize it right away. There is no way the filmmakers had sufficient confidence in their audience to expect the last third of the movie to be viewed with that in mind.

I dunno, JPR. I’m not just talking about the three references to MI5, including the one in which the rules are clearly laid out. To me, it’s pretty blatant when when we get a cute little “I’ve been knocked out four times in my life” flashback sequence that’s referenced several times and regularly updated. When Knockout #5 happens, something is obviously up. It’s simple math.

But, yeah, I have no insight into how much confidence the director has in the audience. I just don’t think he intended a “holy cow, I never saw that coming!” reaction that most twist movies seem to intend.

So there weren’t any scenes you liked? Really? None?


I really don’t think there were. The scene with RZA probably comes the closest, but I’m not sure that should qualify.

About the hallway scene, you said that you were hoping for Oldboy, but you enjoyed it anyway. I felt like it was a clear attempt at an homage, but the director didn’t understand what it is that makes that scene special. The “sex” scene inside the pink door would have been interesting in a different movie, but that whole sequence was so nonsensical and pointless that any impact it could have had on me was wasted. They even say before they start doing that, “We didn’t come here to get back out again,” or something. And then they proceed to cut each other apart to turn in the organs that don’t need to be turned in because the computer gets blown up by a grenade, etc, etc. Since I wasn’t on board with the fact that the whole Union infiltration sequence wasn’t real, all of those contradictions totally killed the scene. If I had been on board with the twist, then I think the scene would also have been killed simply by nature of the fact that it wasn’t real.

I forgot who said to imagine the movie if Cronenberg had directed it, but yeah. Exactly that.

The thing about the Oldboy/Pink Room sequence is:

They need access to the organs to run the UPC codes, thereby freeing themselves…not to actually turn over the organs.

His buddy is the one who, on the spur of the moment, decides to blow shiat up. This is AFTER the organ/sex thing. No one, not even the buddy, knew anything was going to be blown up ahead of time. So it’s not a ‘why do all that, they were just going to blow it up anyways’ situation.

I almost liked that sequence, except the girl didn’t have enough to do. In the airport sequence, which I liked, she was more badass. In the hallway for instance, I would have had her run down the hall to recover a gun off one of the guards she shot, then shoot more guards, when she ran out of ammo for her own gun. In the movie she just sort of stands around uselessly with an empty weapon. I realize it’s his fantasy, not hers, but wouldn’t a guy like him fantasize a more capable partner in crime? I think so.

True, but we’re not speaking from the point of view of the characters. We’re talking about the filmmakers. Or at least I was. The whole pain/sacrifice thing becomes a useless exercise as a scene if you know that on page whatever you’re just going to make the thing go kablooie.

But knowing it’s a fantasy sort of redeems it. Except for one teensy eensy weensy problem…


I don’t know about you, but in my current state of consciousness I don’t teleport to places where I am not and watch the goings on. You know. In the course of everyday life. Where Remy was supposed to be. I don’t even do that in dreams.

Of course, Mr. Wand might be able to speak to altered states better than I can.

I realize it’s his fantasy, not hers, but wouldn’t a guy like him fantasize a more capable partner in crime? I think so.

He might also fantasize about walking on the ceiling. But the movie doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t care about fantasy, really. It just cares about trying to trick us.


“Excuse me Miss…your legs are bleeding.”

That’s not why they go there. Before they head to Union headquarters, there is a scene in which they realize (and say out loud) that by blowing up the computer, they can free everyone. Once they get to the pink room, they realize that the only way to access the machine at all is to scan their parts. Of course, even when they get access to the computer, they don’t have any explosives, so they decide they care more about sexualizing their organ removal than about accomplishing anything. And, as I said earlier, in the pink room but before the organ removal starts, the girl says, “We could leave” and he says something very much like, “We didn’t fight our way in here to get back out again.” They very explicitly say that they are not going to be able to escape even if they scan all the organs. The whole sequence is full of stupid contradictions. I think the filmmakers were telling themselves, “It’s okay if it doesn’t make any sense – it’s just a dream sequence,” but that’s a cop out.

Over and over it seemed like these guys were trying to say something, but after watching the movie I’m certain they have no idea what that was.

What on earth in that movie or the director’s previous credits are you basing his confidence of audience members knowing simple math…uh, on?

Some responses to the podcast discussion:

I think the singer has so many parts replaced because of the drug use. The future drug causes the body to deteroriate until they need to replace parts. I think that was an element that was originally supposed to be larger than it was.

I was dissapointed with Whittaker’s reveal. The film didn’t need him to be a villain in that way. It didn’t need a traditional villain. I was also displeased that, of course, it’s on the job (regardless of sabotage) that he gets hurt. I would have prefered something more mundane or even maybe him being robbed and shot through the chest because they realize he’s a U-Man. No one likes a bill collector. I also didn’t buy his relationship with the singer.

So much of this film makes no sense. Don’t the Union have workers comp? Don’t they have lawyers in the future? His wife or his friend don’t love him enough to help him with payments? What we don’t see that we should have is the disolution of someone’s life and the stress that debt puts on them until everyone around them gives up on them.

A lot of this movie just gets dumber and dumber as it goes along and the “reveal” almost saves it, but too much of the idiocy comes before his 5th knockout. It just lacks the necessary connective tissue to bring this world to life while addressing these rudimentary issues. Does it want to be a realistic hard sci-fi about genuine characters and real problems or wild psychadelic cyberpunk? They are just too broad with their net bring it all together well.

As far as the reveal, I think Tom is right that they throw enough hints early on to make you question what’s going on but there’s enough time between the groundwork and the ending that it’s easy to forget. At least that was my experience when watching it.

Anyway, other points…

The trunk point of view shot is from Goodfellas isn’t it?

What Christien refers to as found music is known as diegetic music I think.

Edit: Oh, and, the neural fantasy land install is called M.5, (said M-Five) not MI5.