Cyberpunk Review » Repo! The Genetic Opera

April 5, 2010

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2008

Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman

Written by: Darren Smith & Terrance Zdunich

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Moderate

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Low

Key Cast Members:

  • Shilo Wallace: Alexa Vega
  • Nathan / Repo Man: Anthony Stewart Head
  • Rotti Largo: Paul Sorvino
  • Blind Mag: Sarah Brightman
  • Amber Sweet: Paris Hilton
  • Luigi Largo: Bill Moseley
  • Pavi Largo: Nivek Ogre
  • Graverobber: Terrance Zdunich
  • Rating: 7 out of 10

    Overview: I was hoping to see this movie before seeing Repo Men so I could at least see how close to each other they were. While there are some minor similarities (primarily a megacorp, their organ financing, and the use of repo men) the visuals, story-lines, and this being an opera make the two movies vastly different. While Repo Men’s visuals draws more from Blade Runner, Repo! is definitely goth with frequent scenes involving corpses and/or graveyards.

    Repo! city

    The Story: Geneco becomes the top company when an epidemic of unexplained organ failures sweep the planet. They manage to make organ transplants affordable, but they also manage to get a law passed that allows the organs to be repossessed. Another product Genco makes is Zydrate, a highly addictive pain killer often used by surgery addicts. Geneco is the only legalized source of Zydrate, but a black market exists where grave robbers extract the drug from the brains of corpses.


    The current head of Geneco, Rotti Largo (Sorvino), is terminally ill and plans to name his successor at “The Genetic Opera” when popular singer Blind Mag also plans to make her final performance. His three children, the violent Luigi (Mosley), the mask wearing Pavi (Skinny Puppy’s Ogre, FTW), and surgery-and-Zydrate addicted Amber Sweet (Hilton) hope to inherit daddy’s company, but he is disappointed with his kids and has another person in mind: Shilo Wallace.

    Pavi Largo (Nivek Ogre)

    Pavi (Ogre) gets his game face on. Well, he gets someone’s face on.

    Shilo (Vega) is the daughter of Nathan (Head), who is not only trying to find a cure for the blood disease that Shilo inherited from her mother, but is also Geneco’s repo man. He keeps her locked in her room, fearing she might die from the disease while he goes out for repossessions. Shilo sneaks out anyway and in her nightly journeys she meets a grave robber (Zdunich) who introduces her to the Zydrate underground and reveals that Blind Mag, Shilo’s favorite singer, is going to lose her eyes because she will no longer be working with Geneco.


    A tangled web. With several different story lines going on at once, it may be hard to follow them with all the singing. They may seem unrelated to each other at first, but thanks to comic-styled flashbacks they show how they are connected to Nathan’s dead wife and the upcoming Genetic Opera.

    Speaking of the songs, it’s been reported that there were some 65-75 songs made for the film. Not all of them have been used, but do appear on the various soundtracks (memo to self: find the soundtracks.). Most of them are short, only a minute or two, but often involve at least two cast members singing together with different lyrics. This may add to the confusion of following the stories, but not too much to follow if you pay attention.


    Blade Runner or Count Dracula? The distant city scene above may make one think of Blade Runner’s future Los Angeles, but the closer-in scenes is very much goth inspired. The Wallace house could very well be a haunted house (just needs some more cobwebs) while Shilo frequents a graveyard where her mother’s tomb is (side note: Shilo also collects insects). People are often dressed like they’re going to a funeral or an S&M club. There’s an area called “Sanitarium Square,” where a festival is happening before the Opera, that has brightly lit tents amid the darker streets. Not quite the cyberpunk visuals I was expecting, but does make the dark atmosphere… darker.


    Conclusion: To be honest, Repo! wasn’t quite what I expected. It felt more goth than actual cyberpunk, so much so that I’m tempted to tag this as “not cyberpunk.” Then again, with goth style being closely related to cyberpunk lately it can almost be expected. In this case, it helped rather than hurt, as it made the operatic aspects more intense. Repo! is a bit of a bloody mind bender, but certainly worth watching… and listening to.

    This post has been filed under Horror, Dystopic Future Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009, Movie by Mr. Roboto.


    April 5, 2010

    Cyberpunk Review » Repo Men said (pingback):

    […] After having seen Repo! The Genetic Opera, I can say there is not much similar between these two movies. With Repo Men’s cyberpunk tomes […]

    […] link: Repo! The Genetic Opera VN:F [1.8.6_1065]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)VN:F [1.8.6_1065]Rating: 0 (from 0 […]

    Messana said:

    Awesome movie. Loved the visual style and the soundtrack. And at times I forgot that Paris Hilton was in it!

    April 6, 2010

    G4sM4sk said:

    Not that great… kinda grows on you… Blind Magz song at the end made it worth it.

    LMXV said:

    Didn’t really like and I certainly don’t want it growing on me. I do own it though.

    April 8, 2010

    Icarus said:

    This movie really dissappointed me. It had alot greater potential. The songs are what dissappointed me the most.

    April 14, 2010

    El Phantasmo said:

    Watched Repo Men eventually and liked it, but I’m still not interested in watching this piece of crap.

    May 19, 2010

    Anonymous said:

    This is one of the worst movies ive ever seen.

    May 25, 2010

    Satra said:

    I think this movie had a nice budget and the visual esthetics is good, and I must say I quite don’t understand what kind of public this was made for! It’s impossible to think of someone who would like the gore/hard scenes and seconds later enjoy some kind of Hanna Montana ~ high school musical Goth crap.
    This film is just wrong! And it could have been so, so, so much better… really a shame.
    *The hologram projector eyes were awesome tough.

    June 10, 2010

    Louie Louie said:

    Great visuals and outfits. Interesting story and comic trio of spoiled kids (at last Paris H. kinda… acts in her film) but those pseudo-opera pop songs are pretentious and painful for my ears. No wonder ex-missis Lloyd Webber, Sarah Brightman plays a part here.
    They best stick to punk songs which would suit better to this kind of movie.
    Who spoiled Joan Lett in Seventeen number?

    July 10, 2010

    dr490nw4rri0r said:

    I sat and watched this with a girl I was dating for a time who was pretty much obsessed with it. I have to say i found very little to be enjoyed in it.
    The cyber-meets-goth-meets-industrial aesthetics were for the most part absolutely fantastic, but the acting was mostly terrible, the music didn’t fit, felt spastic, and was atrociously handled, and the story was….okay. I’m generally not a fan of musicals however so this may color my perceptions some.
    Overall I would say it’s one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.
    The only good point in the film: Anthony Stewart Head.

    August 9, 2010

    Zokk said:

    It may not be cyberpunk per se, but I still think it’s an awesome movie, especially for one that was adapted originally from a stage play. People who saw it and were disappointed should have been able to deduce something just from the title: It’s got ‘opera’ in the title; the script’s going to be almost entirely in lyrical format, and it’s probably not going to end happily. In other words, it’s not a ‘traditional’ American movie.

    October 18, 2010

    Anonymous said:

    One of the worst movies ive ever seen. It appeals to middle school goths and teenagers with no taste.

    December 15, 2010

    XerxesTheMechanicalCentipede said:

    I was really hoping that this movie would be good but god i mean even the music was shitty. For starters the actor’s singing wouldn’t level up with the music, at times it sounded pretty lo-fi i mean it’s Lionsgate we’re talking about here. If i’m not mistaking Lionsgate tough side is making films for guys or whatever, I even thought if I could wait for the middle of it it would start to become actually somewhat interesting but wow what a waste of time…

    June 5, 2012

    LMXV said:

    Every word uttered in the movie is part of a song. I just couldn’t stand it.

    Leave a comment

    ~All Related Entries Related This~


    <<--Back to top

    Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts