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A down and out young punk gets a job working with a seasoned repo man, but what awaits him in his new career is a series of outlandish adventures revolving around aliens, the CIA, and a most wanted '64 Chevy.
For more about Repo Man and the Repo Man Blu-ray release, see Repo Man Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 28, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Alex Cox
Writer: Alex Cox
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez, Tracey Walter, Olivia Barash, Sy Richardson, Susan Barnes
» See full cast & crew
Repo Man Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 28, 2013
Alex Cox's "Repo Man" (1984) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc inlcude original trailers for the film; new video interview with the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop; new video interviews with musician Keith Morris and actors Dick Rude, Olivia Barash, and Miguel Sandoval; interview with Harry Dean Stanton; deleted scenes; the edited TV Version of the film; audio commentary with director Alex Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith, casting director Victoria Thomas, and actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss, and Del Zamora; and more. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring an essay by critic Sam McPheeters; an illustrated production history by Alex Cox, with the original comic and film proposal; and a 1987 interview with real-life repo man Mark Lewis, In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Harmless punk Otto (Emilio Estevez, The Breakfast Club, The Way) becomes a repo man after he is tricked by oldtimer Bud (Harry Dean Stanton, Alien, Paris, Texas) to steal a car for him. The job isn't perfect but pays enough to make Otto forget about a slutty girl who has recently dumped him and his obsessed with a local televangelist parents. Soon after, Bud begins teaching Otto important lessons about the real world.
While taking a break from 'school', Otto befriends a good looking UFO conspiracy theorist (Olivia Barash, Patty Hearst) who refuses to help him get rid of an apparently mind-altering amount of semen his body has produced. However, she does help him get on the radar of a few government agents looking for an old Chevy Malibu last seen in Roswell, New Mexico.
Eventually, the wanted car is spotted somewhere in L.A. and the feds quickly announce that they are willing to pay $10,000 for it. Otto and Bud immediately begin looking for it and soon cross paths with the Rodriguez brothers, the area's most feared repo thugs.
Meanwhile, some of Otto's old punk friends decide to hit a couple of liquor stores to get cash. While having fun, they run into the Rodriguez brothers who have managed to steal the wanted car from a sweaty mad scientist. The punks take the car and disappear into the city, parts of which are soon after peppered with unusually large hail stones.
British director Alex Cox's Repo Man is a wildly unpredictable film that oozes a type of nihilism that was prominent during the Reagan era. The film is extremely cynical but never offensive; rather it is entertaining, and it produces excellent observations about a culture and a way of thinking that were greatly influenced by the Cold War and the nuclear arms race America was obsessed with during the '80s.
Occasionally it may seem like the main protagonists are unconventional rebels, but eventually it becomes clear that they are in fact active supporters of the system they are supposedly unhappy with. They simply do not realize that the system is the biggest repo man around, allowing one to lead a normal life only if one keeps supporting it. Some, like the televangelist Otto's parents have made richer with their savings, have learned to play the system, but others, like Otto's friend Bud, have been completely brainwashed by it to believe that their country is falling apart because the poor have turned their backs on it. (There is an excellent sequence in which Otto and Bud pass through a very poor area of L.A. and Bud begins speculating that the city has been brought to its knees because the bums have stopped paying for the privilege to live in it).
Despite the random political overtones, however, Repo Man is not a political film. It is an honest film that simply does not see America through rose-tinted glasses like most Hollywood produced films do. Its honesty, however, is eventually replaced with LSD inspired madness that pushes it into a territory reserved for an entirely different crop of films.
Estevez is convincing as the young punk looking to find his place in a world full of crooks. The film, however, belongs to the iconic Stanton, whose cynical lessons are beyond entertaining.
Repo Man has a cracking soundtrack, featuring now considered classic punk tunes by Iggy Pop, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, and The Circle Jerks, amongst others.
Repo Man Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Alex Cox's Repo Man arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"Approved by director Alex Cox, this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, and warps were manually removed using MTI's DRS, while Image Systems' Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain, noise reduction, flicker, and jitter.
Transfer supervisor: Lee Kline.
Colorist: Joe Gawler/Harbor Post, New York."
The new and approved by director Alex Cox high-definition transfer is not identical to the one Eureka Entertainment used for their Blu-ray release of Repo Man in the United Kingdom. In addition to the framing -- the Criterion transfer is framed in 1.78:1 but actually has more information on the top and bottom -- brightness levels and color saturation are also different. Generally speaking, Criterion's high-definition transfer is also slightly darker (or the UK release has elevated brightness levels). Compression is also marginally better on the Criterion release. The most obvious discrepancies are during close-ups where light isn't severely restricted (compare screencapture #18 with screencapture #14 from our review of the UK release). In most cases, image depth is marginally better on the Criterion release. The color discrepancies are also very easy to spot. On the Criterion release the greens, browns, blues, and grays are richer and better saturated (compare screencapture #1 with screencapture #15 from our review of the UK release). Furthermore, grain is visible throughout the entire film, but as it was the case with the UK release there is light noise that is occasionally mixed with it. There are no traces of problematic sharpening corrections. Also, there are no large damage marks, debris, cuts, or warps. There are no serious stability issues to report in this review either. All in all, I think that the Criterion release of Repo Man is the all-around better looking release, but the UK release is also very healthy. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Repo Man Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless audio track impresses with strong depth and very good fluidity. It will not test the muscles of your audio system, but if you appreciate organic sound more than likely you will enjoy its good range of nuanced dynamics. The great soundtrack also gets a decent boost and further enhances the unique atmosphere. The dialog is crisp, stable, and easy to follow. There are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Repo Man Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Repo Man Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A true cult film with a legendary punk soundtrack, Alex Cox's Repo Man is finally coming to America. I think that this excellent Blu-ray release has the potential to become many people's favorite release this year - the film looks very good and there are plenty of outstanding bonus features to compliment it, including a brand new video interview with the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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