Repo Man [Masters of Cinema] [UK] Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Region: B (Region-Locked)
- Certification: 18
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Eureka Entertainment/Masters of Cinema
- Run Time: 92 Mins.
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 20, 2012
- RRP: £20.42; £30.63 (Ltd. Ed. Steelbook)
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
An oddball sci-fi actioner that has over time become an art house cult hit, Repo Man, director Alex Cox’ surreal debut is almost too incongruous to even describe. In part an indictment of all things superficial in American culture – dig the generic food labels and the total fascination with automobiles — and in part a youthful rebellion against that very homogeneity, Repo taken in its total is, well, simply a bizarre journey through the mid-eighties with a hardcore punk soundtrack by The Plugz, Iggy Pop, Black Flag, and Suicidal Tendencies.
At the center of this crazy journey is the listless punk Otto (Emilio Estevez) who’s just lost his dead end job as a stock boy at the grocery store and lost his girlfriend. Approached by a strange man in a car with an offer of $25 to help him drive his wife’s car home out of a bad neighborhood, Otto takes the deal, but when he’s chased by a group of people he realizes he’s made an arrangement with a repo-man. With no other prospects, Otto decides to sign on as a repo-man and work for commission under the tutelage of the same guy that brought him in, Bud (Harry Dean Stanton). Bud becomes his strange mentor, a sort of guru in the strange world of the repo-men, and Otto is quickly involved in a world of oddities, especially when a $20,000 offer comes in to find a Chevy Malibu. All of the repo-men end up embroiled in a dangerous hunt involving secret agents, alien cover ups, and a strange object that makes people disappear.
This film takes me straight back to the eighties and my late aunt’s apartment in Brooklyn when I spent one summer there and rented this with my cousins on laserdisc. Little did I know, that only a few years later, I’d actually be a Suicidal Tendencies and Iggy Pop fan. Perhaps it seeped into my subconscious. Be that as it may, Repo Man is a manic and subversive bit of off-kilter genius that really requires multiple viewings to really sink in.
Eureka have done well to extract a lot of detail from what wasn’t exactly a big budget production and is now a 26-year-old film with this new AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer overseen by Alex Cox himself. From the opening scene on the wide open highway, one can see this is going to be a fairly clean, bright, and film-like presentation with lots of texture on skin and good color reproduction. There are a few specks that can be seen here and there, but nothing that becomes a nuisance. Shadow detail is good, although graininess does jump a tad in darker scenes and sharpness does waver a bit throughout the film.
This may well be one of the best monaural soundtracks I have ever heard on Blu-ray. Coming in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 encodement, it is dynamic, clean, and punchy, with natural midrange and really good low frequency extension. The punk and hardcore soundtrack really sounds great. There is no evidence of clipping and the high frequencies sound very natural as well.
A typically strong selection of extras accompanies this Masters of Cinema series release of Repo Man, including the elusive American network TV edited edition of Repo Man, which contains some different scenes from the theatrical release as well as odd overdubs in place of the “inappropriate” language.
- Music & Effects Track
- Commentary – Audio commentary recorded in 1999 features director Alex Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith, casting director Victoria Thomas, and actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss, and Del Zamora.
- Alex Cox Introduction (1.78:1;1080p/24; 00:10:35) – In this new video piece filmed in Boulder, Colorado in 2011 exclusively for The Masters of Cinema Series, Alex Cox looks back three decades to his debut feature.
- The TV Version (97:00)– ‘Never before released on home video, this is Alex Cox and Dick Rude’s re-edit for American network television. Highly prized by melon farmers everywhere, it features alternate scenes and material deleted from the theatrical version as well as surreal overdubs to “unsuitable” dialogue. It is presented in 1.33:1 as per its TV broadcast origins. The occasional fades-to-black indicate the presentation’s original advertisement breaks and are inherent in the masters.’
- Repossessed (1.78:1; 00:25:27) – This 26-minute video piece from 2005 features director Alex Cox; producers Peter McCarthy and Jonathan Wacks; and actors Del Zamora, Sy Richardson, and Dick Rude discussing the making of the film.
- The Missing Scenes (1.78:1; 00:25:05) – This 26-minute video piece features director Alex Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith, and neutron bomb inventor Sam Cohen discussing various scenes deleted from the film.
- Harry Zen Stanton (1.78:1; 00:21:18) – This 22-minute video features the actor Harry Dean Stanton discussing his thoughts on life and philosophy.
- Original Theatrical Trailer (1.33:1; 1080p/24)
- Booklet: This booklet is a odd one for sure. It features original Repo Man artwork and comics by Alex Cox, a handwritten essay on the film and its production by Cox, a reproduction of the original treatment and film proposal, plus the usual film and disc credits.
The Definitive Word
Journey back to the wild eighties with this cult classic appearing on Blu-ray in a fine video transfer with reference mono soundtrack from Eureka Entertainment’s Masters of Cinema imprint. Repo Man is a must have piece of trashy 80s cinema.
Additional Screen Captures