Tuesday, January 17, 2006

REPO MAN

Universal's upcoming re-issue of REPO MAN (1984), which was previously released on DVD in several versions by Anchor Bay Entertainment, is a fine presentation of one of the Eighties' seminal cult films.

Emilo Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton are repo men in Edge City, looking for a green Chevy Malibu that's worth twenty grand. Of course, they're not the only ones searching for it. There are UFO conspiracists, blond-haired Men in Black, Latino car thieves and punk rockers roving the mean streets, all with their fates intertwined. And what's that glowing stuff in the trunk?

With REPO MAN, Alex Cox (SID & NANCY) crafts a twisted shaggy dog story, a fever dream "lattice of coincidence" that cannot be rationally explained. Yet, the film is compelling, driven in large part by Stanton's character of Bud, the repo man that defines the profession. He lives by his code and unfailing worship of the capitalist system, and is Estevez' guide through the nightmare world of the film.

Universal's disc presents the movie in a pristine new 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with both Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 mono tracks. The picture is amazing; one would almost believe the film was shot today, if not for the somewhat dated costume and production design. Universal has seen fit to accompany the feature with a few unique extras, including an audio commentary by director Cox, producer (and ex-Monkee) Michael Nesmith, and actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss and Del Zamora and the original theatrical trailer.

There's also a bizarre-but-fascinating one-on-one video interview with Harry Dean Stanton, an anecdotal roundtable/kitchen table bull discussion between Cox and producers Jonathan Wacks and Peter McCarthy, and a selection of deleted scenes, "hosted" by Cox and Sam Cohen, the real-life inventor of the neutron bomb (!).

Weird cover art though. Anyone have any idea who that girl on the left is supposed to be?

Anyway, the new Collector's Edition of REPO MAN streets on January 24th. Great transfer and sound, interesting and appropriately weird extra material. Recommended.

BUY: Repo Man (Collector's Edition)