Movie Review – Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Posted on by Dave

By: Adam Bunch

Starring: Anthony Head, Alexa Vega, Terrance Zdunich, Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton, Nivek Ogre, Bill Moseley, & Sarah Brightman.

What is Repo! The Genetic Opera? Is it a Rock Opera? A Horror? A Drama? It is all of these things nicely tied together in a surprisingly fun and entertaining movie from Darren Lynn Bousman (director Saw 2, 3 & 4)?

In the near future, an epidemic causing mass organ failure along with the population’s desire to be improved, has brought us Gene-Co, a biotech company where you can finance your replacement organ transplants. Falling behind on those payments, however, will earn you a visit from the Repo Man, who will be take back Gene-Co’s “property”: your organs – without mercy…and without anesthesia. When Gene-Co’s founder, Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino), finds that he is terminally ill, he becomes desperate to ensure his company will continue on after his death. Enter his three deranged children (Paris Hilton, Bill Mosely, Nivek Ogre), who are all convinced that they will inherit
the company but instead find themselves rebuffed by their father due to some, shall we say, questionable character traits.

Rotti’s right hand, Nathan Wallace, is played by the captivating Anthony Head. A former surgeon, Nathan loses his pregnant wife when he is faced with her dying in his arms. He must decide who he should save: his wife or his unborn child. Due to the circumstances of his wife’s death, he is coerced by Rotti to become, in effect, a legal assassin…a Repo Man! To carry out this new life he must, however, shelter his daughter Shiloh (a superb Alexa Vega) from his nightly horrors. He keeps her essentially locked in a tower, convinced she is dying from the same disease that took her mother. After Rotti helps Shiloh escape the tower, still hoping for a suitable heir, she learns more than she wants about the outside world.

A fantastic musical soundtrack that would feel rightly at home as a stage adaptation, it tells the intertwining story of the characters. Terrance Zdunich as the “Grave Robber”, narrates through song and keeps the story moving nicely, but it is the amazing musical numbers by Sarah Brightman (who originated Christine Daae in the stage production of Phantom Of The Opera), that help to give this movie much more of a punch as a musical/rock opera then you would expect. In fact, there are several numbers by the various cast members (Legal Assassin, Chase The Morning, Zydrate Academy, at the Opera Tonight), that are in constant rotation on my music playlist!

Repo! is a combination of many different elements and styles brought together in one story. Yes, it’s gory, but it also rocks! It has opera, drama and a father trying to do right by his daughter. For most, I think that this would prove too eclectic a mix than is normally pulled off. Bousman, however hits just the right notes at the right time and drives a fun story that should also find a home on the stage. Repo! comes highly recommended; you will want to crank up the home theater and become completely engrossed until the final curtain falls!

3.5 out of 5

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