Repo! The Genetic Opera
Starring Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino, Anthony Stewart Head
Written by Darren Smith & Terrance Zdunich
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 20, 2009
If you are in the mood for a slasher-esque feature tied together with a rock-opera theme, look no further than Repo! The Genetic Opera. Originally an actual rock opera, it attracted a cult following that caught the eye of Lionsgate Pictures and was turned into a full blown movie.
The film/opera takes place in the dark dystopian future where death and other physical ailments are an easy fix. Genetic company Genco can provide you with extra spare parts needed to survive this cold soulless future as long as you have the cash. But whatever you do, do not try to stiff Genco on the bill. Otherwise, they might just send a repo man in a hazemat suit to repossess these organs, spilling your guts in the process.
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Yes, the premise is quite goofy but we are talking about a rock opera here. It couldn’t exist without a certain amount of goofiness. Along the way, however, the film does take audiences to different territory. Written by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich, who also penned the stage opera, the film is about as close of a merge of rock show and opera that I think could be mustered. All the music in the film is very entertaining, particularly the songs. They are very catchy and sound very professional. My only issue is with the opera dialogue that comes with it. In some instances, it works and flows but on many other occasions, the dialogue was not meant to be sung and as a result, falls flat.
The story itself is a tad convoluted. The main focus is on sick girl Shilo (Alexa Vega), who shares the same disease as her dead mother, who, before she shacked up with her father (Anthony Stewart Head), was the love interest of Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino), owner of Genco. Shilo’s mother’s death is the result of said love triangle but no one knows that but Rotti, who also hired Shilo’s dad to be his personal Repo, and Shilo is unaware of that as well. Convoluted? Extremely. Entertaining? Somewhat but it gives the impression that the writers were trying too hard to keep the audiences’ attention. As a result, the movie feels a bit longer than its actual hour and a half running time.
For an a movie shot on a shoestring budget, the Repo! looks great. Director Darren Lynn Bousman does a bang up job with his shot selection and sets up the tone and look of the film perfectly. The actors are decent all across the board and sing their hearts out when given the chance. In some instances it works (Paul Sorvino) and in other cases does not (Paris Hilton). While Hilton does have this strange, attractive quality about her and her acting is not too shabby, it does absolve her of her dreadful singing. I do not know which record producer told her she had singing talent, but if I ever meet up with this individual, I will pound them into submission.
The DVD is filled with your standard DVD features. This includes a commentary by the director and some of the cast, as well as some featurettes. These features are pretty light overall and somewhat informative but if you are fan of the stage show, this is more than enough and if you are a first time viewer, features would not be an issue so it all works out.
If you were a fan of Repo! when it first came out, you will be more than pleased with the film version. The actors are good in it, the songs are catchy, and the story, though long winded, is entertaining. I have seen a lot of bad musicals/operas and horrible horror movies but the marriage of these two genres is anything but. If you are the adventurous type, take a chance with Repo!