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Repo! The Genetic Opera (DVD Review)

14 Jan, 2009 By: Kyra Kudick

Repo the Genetic Opera

Street 1/20/09
Box Office $0.15 million
$19.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence and gore, language, some drug and sexual content.
Stars Alexa Vega, Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Paul Sorvino.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is nothing less than a music phenomenon, an inventive blending of traditional opera and industrial rock, with all the camp of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the intensity of Puccini’s Tosca. Viewers who loved Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street are likely to enjoy this.

Set in the distant future when organ failure has become epidemic, the biotech company GeneCo sells organ transplants to those who can pay. But those who fail to make payments must face the Repo Man — a legal assassin who reclaims the organs and leaves the debtors for dead.
It is such a wonderfully dark, disturbing idea and incredibly well executed, with impressive performances by all.

Sarah Brightman (Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera) shines as Blind Mag, putting that three-octave range to bone-chilling use. Anthony Stewart Head (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is perfect as the tortured lead, a gentle father by day and Repo Man by night, and young Alexa Vega is moving as Shilo, the Repo Man’s unknowing daughter.

The villains are equally entertaining, with Paul Sorvino as Rotti, the patriarch to the GeneCo family. However, the most startling performance belongs to Paris Hilton, who plays Rotti’s daughter, Amber. She is actually good. I was so shocked by how much she didn’t suck; I momentarily forgot she is Paris Hilton and unabashedly enjoyed the scenes.

The DVD bonus features are interesting, with featurettes exploring the adaptation of the original concept and the Repo Man character.

Of the two audio commentaries, the one with director Darren Lynn Bousman, co-creators Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich, and music producer Joseph Bishara is more insightful than the one featuring the director and cast. Bousman repeats himself, so listening to both becomes redundant.

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