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Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)


Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman Written by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich

In the past couple of years anytime I’ve heard anyone speaking in regards to a movie with Repo in the title, it was usually followed by “oh, wasn’t Jude Law so awesome?” No. At that, it was an okay action flick, I just don’t usually pair the words bad ass with Jude Law quite frankly, ever. So my response would be “well have you ever Repo! The Genetic Opera?” Which typically was followed by “What’s that now?”

The fact that it’s an musical can turn a lot of people off and if you happen to be one of those, I know where your coming from. The only musical I had ever accepted into my life has been The Nightmare before Christmas and not until most recent with Moulin Rouge did I decide to give musicals an actual chance. But I was glad I did. It was originally a stage play in New York and California, later adapted into a screenplay by Darren Smith & Terrance Zdunich.

It takes place in the not-so-distant future and paints a picture of life if a pandemic were to occur in which organ failures were inevitable and you were left with renting out replacement body parts. A company by the name of GENECO comes to the rescue with a warning that if ever unable to make a payment, the Repo man would come to take GENECO’s rightful property. So you can only imagine the amount of unattached limbs on a daily basis seeing as how people can barely pay their bills now. However Rotti Largo,(Paul Sorvino) the founder of GENECO was dying and now must pass on his throne to one of his three children. The problem being that one was addicted to surgery, the other had anger management issue and the last was too fond of buying faces to wear over his already mutilated one. Equaling up to being pretty useless to run a major company…but when has that stopped them before? So who will Largo give the company to? Well, I’ll have to advise you to watch to figure that part out.

Staring in the parts of Largo children were Bill Moseley, Paris Hilton, and Nivek Ogre. Nivek Ogre, who no doubt will be an unfamiliar name, did a good job of the simple task of being an utterly creepy spoiled child. The roles of Largo’s children never delve too deep into getting to know anything other than the basics about them. Bill Moseley wasn’t too bad of a singer however I think its only fair to say that I definitely prefer seeing him reign terror in Rob Zombie’s movies. Again, there isn’t so much in regards to his character however I did enjoy how easily annoyed he would get, sending him into a fitted rage. Paris Hilton originally wasn’t chosen but obtained an audition and the director was stunned saying she “rocked” the sound booth audition. She also provided the majority of her wardrobe for the film, actually wasn’t TOO bad of a singer and the fact that I got to see her face peel off (nothing really given away I promise) didn’t really hurt either.

Starring as the Repo man was Anthony Stewart Head who many of you may remember in the series Buffy: the Vampire Slayer as Giles. Anthony did an amazing job as the unforgiving reaper who was torn between two worlds. On the one side he had his job, which due to circumstances concerning his ex-wife and Rotti Largo, was indebted under contract to remain the repo man. The other side pertaining to care for a sick child who wanted nothing more than to be let out of her prison otherwise known as her room. Anthony Stewart Head was equally suitable for both and not only was he able to mesmerize with his voice but dictate those actions as a sole Repo man. While adapted from the play Repo! didn’t need to have more than one grim reaper to do their bidding and Anthony was a fine choice to uphold that presence.

You might recognize his daughter (Alexa Vega) from the Spy Kids series. Her ever curious ways get her right in the middle of the true scandal going on behind the members of GENECO. Vega’s performance was unfortunately less than memorable and the only time I found myself enjoying her singing was with her duet with Anthony Stewart Head as they performed “ Didn’t know I’d love you so much.” A heartfelt way to end their story. I find that Vega often tries too hard to convince the audience of the role she is playing. Sorry to say I haven’t felt a genuine talent in her thus far. I also found myself wanting to reach into the screen to make her stop singing “17,” which quite frankly could have been a deleted scene and wouldn’t have made much difference.

While the film is categorized under Comedy as well as Horror, there are a handful of scenes at times that will have you saying “ummm…?” Yet the story was rather interesting. I was quite fond of the Gothic essence the movie possessed since it is rare that you see these types of musicals adapted into an actual film. Terrance Zdunich played the narrator as well as wrote the original play and eventual screenplay. Whose performance came in as a very close second and only for the simple fact that Anthony Stewart Head owned this movie. Nevertheless Zdunich had a strong voice and was able to sly his way in and out of the movie as the seemingly guardian angel of Vega’s character. He also had the most catchy musical numbers throughout the film (clever dog you) with a beautiful attire that never failed to fixate my eyes to his direction.

What’s more is that Repo! is actually supposed to be the middle installment in a three picture deal. Although I haven’t heard anything as far as production or if they in fact are still pushing forward with this. If they were to do the next film it would be as a prequel, and since those have been all the rage lately I think now would be the time to start pushing. Whatever they choose to do with “series” I would love to see most of the cast members return but perhaps sticking more to the Horror side of the spectrum than to have it leak into the Comedy genre. I believe the mini comedy aspects throughout the film took away more than added and came out silly or odd rather than necessary.