on September 16, 2015
This movie laid the groundwork for all the warped and far fetched movies like Back To The Future, Weird Science, Pulp Fiction and Hot Tub Time Machine et al to follow. Yet, there's such a tone of seriousness and great dialog in this movie, it stands out on it's own to this day. Bordering on a John Hughes coming of age romp, to an almost Herzog or Wenders thought provoking diatribe of purpose and place. I think 'Monkee Man' Mike Nesmith somehow kept Alex Cox in a more focused line for this film, though it's somewhat hard to tell. And performances by Stanton, Tracey Walter, Sy Richardson, et al really keep it on the ground (even when things go up in the air!) Criterion did a great job with the packaging and bonus materials as well. All one needs to know about this film, the neutron bomb, and Harry Dean Stanton (Not sure which is worse on learning with those two? LOL) Some say it's just a punk rock film, others say sci-fi, and many just say juvenile fantasy. It's all that, and more. in a word, it's 'precedence'.
on February 12, 2004
Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy) made his directorial debut with this bombastic, abrasive, satiric, and highly influential film. Repo Man tells the story of disgruntled punk rocker Otto (a young Emilio Estevez) who becomes a repo man under the tutilage of veteran repo man Bud (Harry Dean Stanton). Soon Otto becomes quite good at his job, but a mysterious '64 Chevy Malibu soon becomes sought after by Otto and a some rival repo men when a high priced commission is put on it. What's in the car's trunk will change everything, and I mean everything. One of the key films of the 80's, Repo Man is undoubtadly the best piece of work to come from Alex Cox, and even though it may seem chaotic and even a bit incoherent at times, there is an underlining theme to the film that links to the political uneasiness felt during the 80's. The scorching punk soundtrack features legends like Black Flag, Iggy Pop, and the Suicidal Tendencies; all of which add to the bombastic feel of the film. Universal's recent re-release of Repo Man surprisingly includes the commentary by Cox and various crew members (which was previously only available on Anchor Bay's Limited Edition release of the film which has been out of print) as well as a trailer. This is surprising to me considering every one of Universal's recently re-released films like They Live and Prince of Darkness have no extras at all. All in all, I strongly suggest picking up Repo Man, it's something you won't regret or forget.
on July 7, 2003
Repo Man is a twisted movie, which blends social satire, sci-fi, suburban angst and consumerism targets that were prominent in the 1980s, such as TV preachers, people who claimed to see UFOs, and angry punk rockers rebelling against the gamor of the decade. Emilio Estevez plays a nihilistic young male out of a job and practically robbed of a future when his parents, apparently hippies or born-again Christians, give all of his savings away to a TV preacher so they can 'send bibles to El Salvador,' according to the holy mission of this evangelist that appears in the movie often. He meets up w/ Bud, who offers him [money]to move his wife's car out of a 'bad area,' presumably a ghetto. After the chaotic scene, Otto (Estevez's character)knew something was up, and gets dragged into becoming a 'repo man,' a guy that repossesses cars when the owners do not pay their bills.
The company, among other parties, such as eccentric UFO spotters, and the Rodriguez brothers, are after this one car driven by a lobotomized scientist which contains some alien device of some sort in its trunk that disintegrates those who come in cotact with it, such as a highway patroman and one of Otto's punk rock anarchist friends. The movie consists of nothing but chaos throughout the plot in which all the groups invovled try to get hold of this Chavrolet Malibu, and the ending is rather surprisng, but very cheesy at the same time. The sci-fi effects in this movie are dated, and scream 80s (after all this movie was made in 1984), but its satirical edge and rather cryptic storyline make Repo Man an interesting, but occassionally bewildering film.
on December 6, 2000
This is not your basic repo man movie. This is the archetypal film by which the entire repo man mythology will be forever measured...and pale in comparison. Harry Dean Stanton plays omniscient, coke-snorting Bud...MASTER of the CODE...who is guardian and purveyor of the REPO MAN ARCANA. Emilio Estevez essays the heroic initiate's role of Otto. As appealing as the role could have been, Otto is presented as a smart-ass punk characterized by RUDE and SEXIST macho. HE IS THE REPO MAN. An irradiated Chevy Malibu driven by a lobotomized Los Alamos aggie summons The Budster and Otto to the ultimate Repo Man Quest. Various ordeals and dangers confront them in the form of X-FILE-like agents, soul-mate punkers and the muy feo Rodriguez brothers. To reveal too much about this cult classic would be too much other than to state: THE TRUTH IS IN THE TRUNK. Production values, FX and Sid Vicious-ilk sound track are worthily strewn about creating an aura of very Mad Max, Pee Wee Herman and Revenge of the Three Stooges minus One. REPO MAN is a meretricious epic, inane and astutely goofy. It is bad enough to be BAD and good. 5 Stars? Don't let Cox kid you...remember the CODE.
on June 6, 2000
This is a movie that makes me long for the talents of Alex Cox. He was the great revoloutionary director of the 80's who very clearly influenced the works of Quentin Tarantino, and every other independent director with that odd taste for urban violence and political statement. I wish he would come back and make another winner like this one. This movie, which is far more intelligent and contains far more message than I had anticipated, stars Emilio Estevez (who also hasn't come out with anything truly great in a long time) as a punk with no agenda. He evntually meets a group of repo men who all seem to have lost their grip on reality. He breaks into cars, does drugs with a fellow repo man, hooks up with a young girl researching alien encounters, and riots with other punks. With all of this and more, the movie has much to offer in the way of social satire and commentary. It also has alot to keep the mass audiences happy by having plenty of wacky humor. A definite rental if not a purchase. PLEASE COME BACK, ALEX COX!!!!!!
on May 2, 2000
One of the most amazing things about "Repo Man" is how well it holds up to repeated viewing. Not only are their dozens of background elements, which only become apparent somewhere between the second and fiftieth viewing, there is also a very well written story. By combining elements from genres ranging from "juvenile delinquent pictures" to "science fiction conspiracy" Alex Cox created one of the best American movies of the 1980s. There really is nothing quite like it. It teases you, based on your expectations for a certain genre, then turns your expectations on their head. Certainly, subverting audience expectations is not all that rare, but Cox makes it seem so natural and right in this film.
The film also benefits from a wonderful cast. Emilio Estevez was never again so convincing in a role, while Harry Dean Stanton contributes a portryal of an honorable "repo man" that is as critical to the impact of this film as Alec Guinness was to the original "Star Wars." Special note is deserved for character actor Tracey Walter (perhaps best-known as the Joker's side-kick in the first Tim Burton Batman film). His role as a burnt-out mechanic who turns out to be the only one who really understands what's going on is among the funniest in cinema history.
After this film, Alex Cox won acclaim (and more than a little controversy) for his film about Sid Vicious, "Sid & Nancy," and has made a number of films since then. All of them have had varying degrees of critical and commercial success, but "Repo Man" seems certain to be the one for which he'll be remembered.
on March 9, 2000
There is simply no finer postmodern work on urban blight, moral disintegration, or UFO-influenced car thieves on film. Alex Cox crafts every bit of dialogue to sensitize his audience to the "desensitzing" of our society to profanity, violence, drugs, punk rock, and government conspiracies; if you can't find hilarity and purpose in every slice of dialouge and plot, it's because you're either too linear or too feeble of a thinker, and not because the film itself lacks either quality. "Repo Man" is also the single funniest film of the 1980's, and Emilio Estevez NEVER did better work. Hey, even Siskel and Ebert rated it one of their all-time favorites! Two interesting points: the censored TV version with extra footage is interesting only once;the constant substitution of "Motherf---er" with "Mellonfarmer" is hard to deal with. Second, every video store I walk into categorizes the film differently; I've seen it placed in Comedy, Action, Adventure, even Crime Drama!
on November 2, 1999
That's what I mean by this apt review title. I purchased "Repo Man" without a single previous viewing on a hunch that it would prove to be a cult delight based on the overwhelming adulation I've seen in the present Amazon reviews. I would like to say that this sci-fi/action/comedy from former Monkee guitarist Mike Nesmith exceeded my expectations! Estevez and Stanton are great as the streetwise L.A. repo dudes who become embroiled in a zany scavenger hunt for a 1964 Chevy carrying some other-worldly cargo that's worth a cool $20,000 to them, but they must vie against an ensemble of punks, FBI agents, alien tabloid fanatics, and a lobotomized nuclear physicist to repossess it (yikes!) Just loved the liquor store shoot-out scene where the clerk, rent-a-cop, Otto's ex-comrades, and others just shoot everyone down silly with Emilio and Harry Dean stuck in the middle! This has to be one of the best B-movies I've ever seen! "Repo Man" is a must-see for all cult film fans
on June 25, 1999
After seeing this movie for the first time, you will likely be left with one word in your mind: HUH?
Follow the adventures of a not-so-punk Otto, played by Emilio Estevez, as he begins a career of repossessing cars. His mentors, Budsky and Lite, are simply hilarious, and exchange some of the most memorable and catch-phrase laden dialog you will experience. The film has a weirdness, a disconnectedness, to it, that becomes more evident each time it is viewed. Dead extraterrestrials, lobotomized physicists, money-grubbing televangelists, and blow-wave CIA agents round out the cast of characters.
I have easily seen this film 25 times, and I see something new each time. The first five or six times I viewed it was in a theatre, which was fortunate. There are many subtle sight gags that are extremely difficult to pick up on the small screen, even if you know what to look for. This could also be due to the poor quality of the video. Keep in mind this was a very low budget film (poor sound, worse special effects, lots and lots of non-edited errors), but a low budget film that is a hell of a lot of fun. Highly recommended!!
on June 12, 2000
You don't have to be a California punk to enjoy this surreal film. Heck, you don't even have to follow the storyline; you can just concentrate on picking out all the sarcastic cultural allusions. The dying scientist driving the car with the aliens in it is a send-up of Isaac Asimov. The blond guys in mirror shades are the original Men In Black. The cult of Scientology gets mocked by the recurring appearance of the book "Diuretics" The banality of suburban life is depicted by having all the merchandise visible on shelves be generic brands. And Harry Dean Stanton is given some great, great cult movie lines to speak. Even punk rock itself is sent up, by having The Circle Jerks appear as a schmaltzy lounge act, and Emilio Estevez moaning about how much they suck, now. A fun romp that's almost too hip for its own good.