Blu-ray Review: Criterion Treats Cult Hit ‘Repo Man’ Like Classic Film

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CHICAGO – One of the many things I love about The Criterion Collection is the even battlefield that it creates within its own archives. A film by Alfred Hitchcock or Akira Kurosawa or Charles Chaplin can sit next to a cult hit like “Repo Man.” I grew up in the era of “Repo Man“‘s growing cult status and it’s amazing to me to see this midnight movie given the same level of respect as films widely recognized as classics. “Repo Man” is a classic in its own way and the people at Criterion recognize that. Fans of the movie, and there are MANY, will be more than satisfied. Blu-ray rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

“Repo Man” is such a defiantly weird, punk rock movie that its unique nature has made it timeless. The film would be a cult hit if it came out today, nearly three decades after its release. Do you know how few ’80s films, a VERY dated era of moviemaking, one can say that about? “Repo Man,” aided by a gorgeous new restoration, feels both a perfect commentary on the Reagan era and a movie without a time period. With great performances, especially the timeless Harry Dean Stanton, and a script that’s smarter than you probably remember, “Repo Man” is a blast.

This is also one of those Criterion releases that includes more special features than their average edition. Commentary track, featurettes, deleted scenes, and even the entire TV version, which was edited and recut by Cox himself. When a little movie like “Repo Man” was first released in 1984, who could have imagined it would sit in a collection with some of the most important films of all time? And that Criterion would make the case that it would deserve it?

Repo Man was released on Blu-ray on April 16, 2013
Repo Man was released on Blu-ray on April 16, 2013
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

A quintessential cult film of the 1980s, Alex Cox’s singular sci-fi comedy stars the always captivating Harry Dean Stanton as a weathered repo man in desolate downtown Los Angeles, and Emilio Estevez as the nihilistic middle-class punk he takes under his wing. The job becomes more than either of them bargained for when they get involved in reclaiming a mysterious-and otherworldly-Chevy Malibu with a hefty reward attached to it. Featuring the ultimate early-eighties L.A. punk soundtrack, this grungily hilarious odyssey is also a politically trenchant take on President Reagan’s domestic and foreign policies.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary Featuring Cox, Executive Producer Michael Nesmith, Casting Director Victoria Thomas, And Actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss, And Lel Zamora
o New Interviews With Musicians Iggy Pop and Keith Morris and Actors Dick Rude, Olivia Barash, And Miguel Sandoval
o Deleted Scenes And Trailers
o Roundtable Discussion About The Making Of The Films, Featuring Cox, Producers Peter McCarthy And Jonathan Wacks, Zamora, Richardson, and Rude
o Conversation Between Actor Harry Dean Stanton And McCarthy
o Cox’s Cleaned Up Television Version Of The Film
o Booklet Featuring An Essay By Critic Sam McPheeters, An Illustrated Production History by Cox, And A 1987 Interview With Real-Life Repo Man Mark Lewis

“Repo Man” stars Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. It was written and directed by Alex Cox. It was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on April 16, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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