Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Cult Classic Reviews #1: Repo Man

This forgotten gem is the epitome of a cult classic; a film adored and worshiped by a small number of devoted fans. For some unknown reason, I only recently watched this. After the strength of a friends recommendation and reading reviews online, I decided to make the purchase. As soon as I saw the cover box, I recognised it from my early ventures to the local video shop in my youth and it brought back fond memories.

It launched the career of Emilio Estevez, who is actually really good here playing the lead character Otto, a young suburban punk that unknowingly becomes a repo man. The plot revolves around the search for a Malibu Chevy carrying a mysterious cargo. The film is b-movie grade trash, but it’s well made trash and the bad special effects, quirky plot (UFO's and punks) and absurd characters all add to its charm and it captures the anything goes attitude of the 80’s perfectly. The punk ethics of the film are accompanied by a fitting punk rock soundtrack featuring tracks by Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Iggy Pop and Suicidal Tendencies.

Everything in the film works, it wouldn't benefit from a bigger budget, and with the bad FX aside it doesn't feel like a cheap film. It kinda feels like the exploitation films of the 70s, and I can definitely see some influences from it in Tarantino's early work. The acting is good for this kind of film, it’s a tad dodgy in places but never in a bad way and with a great supporting cast of familiar faces. Of the cast I really liked Harry Dean Stanton, he’s always been a great character actor and his portfolio of roles speaks for itself (Alien, Escape From New York, Inland Empire etc). He’s perfect as the grouchy, veteran Repo Man and Otto’s mentor.

Repo Man, is a fun slice of weird, unique cinema with plenty of balls! And there’s ample bizarre goings-on, whacky humour and stabs of violence to satisfy any cult film fan. Highly recommended, if like me, you missed it first time around. 8/10

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