“I can’t believe I used to like these guys,” whinges Emilio Estevez’s white suburban punk car-repossessor Otto, sipping generic beer in a sleazy underground dive as a rubbish lounge band goes through the motions in Alex Cox’s 1984 trash-classic original.
Cox’s deranged 2009 follow-up to Repo Man might leave you in a similar frame of mind. More a retread of the same themes and structure than actual sequel – none of the original cast appear due to rights issues – Estevez’s bored wastoid Otto is replaced by Pixxie Delachasse (Jaclyn Jonet).
A Paris Hilton-esque valley Girl with her own reality TV show and entourage of dim-bulb punk dweebs, she’s turfed out by her minted parents and forced into working for a sleazy repo firm run by Star Trek: Voyager’s commander Chakotay.
Except it’s not just cars being bilked this time, but pretty much anything – and when a bulletin goes out for a mysterious train carriage containing Kiss Me Deadly-style nuclear MacGuffins pursued by shadowy government types, chaotic hilarity ensues.
Or, sadly, not. Repo Chick has the same cheapo LA glitz, disenchanted anarchy and cheery DIY aesthetic of the first film – if anything, it’s even more yoghurt-pots-and-string, shot against greenscreen in its entirety, with exterior shots employing cute toytown buildings and train dioramas.
But the treatment is so outré it comes across as a bitter, sarcastic endstop with none of the warmth, dry wit and gutter-to-the-stars magic of the original. Which are qualities that don’t cost a thing.
In the end, a jumble sale oddity as superficial and hollow as the wobbly dioramas it’s shot on.
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