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MICHAEL NESMITH PRESENTS ALEX COX'S PUNK NOIR 'REPO MAN'

 Title: REPO MAN Executive Producer: Michael Nesmith Director: Alex Cox Year: 1984 Rating: ****

British director Alex Cox's REPO MAN produced/presented by philanthropic Michael Nesmith is to punk rock cinema what KISS ME DEADLY is to Film Noir: a Los Angeles-based odyssey starring Emilio Estevez as Otto, a slacker without purpose or motivation, and whether drinking generic beer or working at a generic grocery store, he's got time on his hands and very little money in-between...

So fate has him joining Harry Dean Stanton's Bud in “legally stealing” a car, and he soon becomes a REPO MAN, which is dangerous business, especially in the bad part of town where Otto learns the ropes along with Bud's randomly insane philosophies (hating both Christians and Communists equally) as they go from one task to another... 

Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton in REPO MAN

And when there's no work, the young/old duo snort speed or just cruise around... the kind of reckless rebellion Otto wasn't even allowed as a punk rocker (with workmate Zander Schloss)... And there's mainstream action, particularly a reservoir race against a Mexican gang, L.A. louses equally antagonistic as a nihilist trio led by bonafide punker Dick Rude, the director's original vision of Otto...

Meanwhile the road-raving bedlam's ALL shaped around an eccentric rogue (in a Dennis Hopper-style Fox Harris) driving a plot-important Chevy Malibu, from the opening desert sequence into the urban sprawl, with something bright and lethal inside the trunk (homage to the 11th hour "Pandora's Box" from KISS ME DEADLY)...

Emilio Estevez and Olivia Barash in REPO MAN

A McGuffin that's ultimately connected to space alien conspiracies as ingenue Olivia Barash's rightfully-paranoid ingenue Leila brings Otto closer to a hotbed involving UFO's and underground fanatics...

Then there's disco-loving, gun-wielding cool black dude Sy Richardson as Otto's secondary repo partner... in some scenes replacing the director-clashing Stanton, providing Otto another streetwise mentor... and scene-stealer Tracey Walter as a pontificating junkyard wizard, questioning the universe, in particular John Wayne's sexual-leanings...

Emilio Estevez as Otto in REPO MAN

With all these assorted nuts, and despite two true leads, REPO MAN is an overall ensemble comedy where plenty of time's spent in the grungy central office dump, replete with with zippy banter providing... like all worthy cult films... memorable quotes busting from the seams... 

But eventually, the most quotable of all, Harry Dean's Bud, slips into an innocuous backseat to Otto's cosmic plight as, when a bevy of enigmatic agents move in, an initially quirky subplot devours the most important punk rock aspect: those repossessing misadventures that this REPO MAN needed more scenes of.  

Michael Nesmith's greatest cinematic production of REPO MAN
Punk Rock intro for REPO MAN
Fox Harris and Varnum Honey open REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez eating dog food in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton in REPO MAN
Reservoir racing in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton in REPO MAN
Olivia Barash in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and Olivia Barash in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and Tracey Walter in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and Tracey Walter in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and secondary mentor Sy Richardson in REPO MAN
Otto mentors Harry Dean Stanton and Sy Richardson in REPO MAN
Otto mentors Harry Dean Stanton and Sy Richardson in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez as Otto in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez as Otto in REPO MAN
Varnum Honey as doomed cop in REPO MAN
Varnum Honey as doomed cop in REPO MAN
Varnum Honey as doomed cop in REPO MAN
Fox Harris and Alex Cox's punker muse Dick Rude in REPO MAN
Skeleton of Miguel Sandoval in REPO MAN
Olivia Barash is followed in REPO MAN
Emilio Estevez and Zander Schloss in REPO MAN

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