Repo! A Genetic Opera (Blu-ray)

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Repo! A Genetic Opera (Blu-ray)

Begun in 2002 as a Los Angeles stage production by writers Darren Smith and Terrence Zdunich, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA was designed as a gory, comedic ...

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Review of "Repo! A Genetic Opera (Blu-ray)"

published 23/05/2011 | Violet_McCabre
Member since : 08/02/2011
Reviews : 11
Members who trust : 3
About me :
I like to write in depth reviews with lots of facts and information to help you make a desicion when purchasing. I am now editing my work to include whether or not there are spoilers included and how many pieces the review is broken down in to. x
Pro A sensory delight and instant cult classic
Cons Is a musical. Contains Paris Hilton.
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"Zydrate comes in a little glass vial..."

For me, 'Repo! The Genetic Opera' was an accidental viewing. I picked up five random videos for a movie night, and the cover of this film drew me in. I had no idea at the time that this film was a musical, so when I first started watching it I wasn't too interested. I stuck with it though and quickly became engrossed in the plot and characters. I watched the DVD three more times before reluctantly returning it to my local video store and immediately when out to purchase my own copy. This film is a masterpiece and quickly catapulted to the top of my favourite films list.

This in depth review is split in to the following catergories: Background, Plot, Characters/Actors, Effects, Music, Extras, Favourite Parts and a final conclusion. This review may contain spoilers!

Repo! started out life as a stage play written by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich (who plays the narrator in the film A.K.A The grave robber). The film was then directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (who worked on some of the popular Saw films). The film did not do as well as expected upon its release but quickly became a cult classic. Bousman, Zdunich and Smith did a tour version of the film to coincide with its release and a fan-run road show also visited ten cities in America.


" Industrialization has crippled the globe...nature failed as technology spread." - Grave robber

In the distant future an epidemic is upon us, people are dying from organ failure. But there is hope in the form of biotech company, GeneCo. Organ transplants are given on finance, but in a world already crippled by debt, many find it hard to keep up with their payments. For those who are not punctual with their payments there is the repo man, and he will come to claim back GeneCo's property...

There are many different sub plots in this film, which cleverly intertwine in to the main story. Without adding too many spoilers, the main plot threads are as follows:

1. Shilo Wallace is a very sick young girl. She has a rare blood disease and cannot leave the house. Nathan Wallace is her over protective father who wishes to shelter her from the evils of the world outside and keep his identity as the repo man away from her.

2. Rotti Largo is the founder of GeneCo, Nathan's boss and ex love rival. He has recently found out he has a terminal disease and must now consider which of his ungrateful children will inherit GeneCo. Luigi Largo, with his quick and murderous temper? Pavi Largo with his face stealing and womanizing ways? Or will it be his surgery and pain killer addicted daughter, Amber Sweet?

3. Superstar opera singer and face of GeneCo, Blind Mag wishes to leave the company. But she made a deal with Rotti many years ago, he would give her the gift of sight, but she would forever be the property of GeneCo.

4. The narrator/Grave robber and Amber Sweet also play a large part in this plot. The Grave robber extracts a pain killer called Zydrate from the brains of corpses, which he then sells on the black market and underground drug scene. Although she is supposed to be the spokeswoman against Zydrate misuse, Amber is hooked on the illegal 'Street Zydrate' to help her overcome the pain of her constant plastic surgery addiction


There are a lot of recognizable actors and actresses in this film, with the lead roles being played by Alexa Vega (Spy Kids) and Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Vega's role as Shilo, a young girl with a blood disease, in thoroughly engrossing and draws sympathy from the viewer. She has an amazing singing voice and the ability to convey so much emotion through song.

Head plays Nathan, her over protective father, whom after the loss of his wife is terrified over losing his only child. He works as a doctor, but is secretly being blackmailed by his boss to work as the murderous repo man. I was completely blown away by Heads' performance, he is well suited to singing rock music and the way he conveys the switch from loving father to psychotic murderer sent shivers up my spine.

Others amongst the main cast are Paul Sorvino (Romeo and Juliet) who plays Nathan's boss and head of organ financing company, GeneCo. His bratty children are played by Paris Hilton (American socialite, model, heiress), Bill Moseley (The Devils rejects) and Nivek Orge (Ex Vocalist from industrial band, Skinny Puppy). Another gem and asset to the film is the character Blind Mag, played by famous opera singer Sarah Brightman (The Phantom of the Opera). I honestly believe that no better choices could have been made for all of these characters. Each one brings their own special addition to the film, be it malevolence or comedy. Both their acting and singing skills are enjoyable and memorable, even Paris Hilton. In fact I'd go as far as to say this movie made be appreciate Ms Hilton a whole lot more, though many critics at the time of the film's release said otherwise, earning her a 'Golden Raspberry Award' for worst supporting actress.


The whole movie has a very dark and gothic feel to it, with special effects ranging from CGI to animated comic book style scene which give background on the characters as the story progresses. The animation cuts in with the live action to help connect the various sub plots and give us a greater understanding of what is happening. In addition to this we have the narrator, played by the writer and composer of Repo! Terrance Zdunich. The entire film is a sensory overload of sound and visuals, the unique style and layout of this film makes it well worth a watch.


The soundtrack to this film is absolutely amazing and since it's a musical there's a whole lot of songs throughout. The genre of the music is rock and opera, sometimes combining the two together. As with any musical, the songs tell the story and forward the plot, which sometimes means that they lyrics can be a bit weak, but believe me you won't even notice.

The movie contains 64 songs and hold the record for most songs composed in to one film. The soundtrack was produced by Yoshiki Hayashi from popular J-Rock band X Japan. The soundtrack was later released on CD, with a deluxe soundtrack available for download on iTunes. Besides having people known for their musical talents as main characters, there was also help from Melora Creager (Rasputina), who plays cello on the score and Joan Jett (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) who briefly lends her musical and acting talents to the movies during the song 'Seventeen'. Even the characters who are not known for their singing talents give it their all, with Bill Moseley adding a comical tone to his character Luigi Largo.

Songs to look out for include 'Zydrate Anatomy', 'Night Surgeon' and 'Chromaggia' which is a breath taking performance by Sarah Brightman.


The DVD and Blu-ray feature a few extras, which to most are nothing special. Though if you become a Repo! addict like myself they are worth checking out.

There are two separate audio commentaries, one with the director and three of the actors and one from the director, co-creators and music producer. These give you a great insight in to t he film and lots of information about deleted scenes and sub plots they originally wanted in the movie but never got around to filming.

Also included are four deleted scenes, four featurettes and four sing along tracks.


Personally, my favourite parts of the film are the songs 'Night Surgeon' and 'Chromaggia', which have spine tingling performances from Anthony Stewart Head and Sarah Brightman. Of course another reason to watch the movie is the part when Paris Hiltons face falls off, because for some reason we just love to see bad things happen to that girl!


I have recommended this film to so many people. The unexpected plot twists and at times complicated plot make it a fantastic story which will keep you guessing until the very end. It is most definitely one to watch, especially if you like musicals, rock or the gothic culture. I was very excited to hear that they are considering a sequel/prequel and guarantee that I will be pre ordering a copy and waiting with baited breath for its arrival. Repo! is generally considered an unheard of, underground cult classic, but believe me when I say it is completely unmissable, even if you just watch it once. Gore + Goths + Opera = Win!

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Comments on this review

  • allanharry published 09/07/2013
    A little glass vial? :D Brilliant Review, its one of my fav movies too!
  • melinda3536 published 24/05/2011
    Excellent review - and that's some cast for a little-known film!
  • loopy-lou33 published 23/05/2011
    Definitely not my type of thing, but great review and an E from me. I love your enthusiasm!. x
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Product Information : Repo! A Genetic Opera (Blu-ray)

Manufacturer's product description

Begun in 2002 as a Los Angeles stage production by writers Darren Smith and Terrence Zdunich, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA was designed as a gory, comedic Grand Guignol to appeal more to club goers than fans of musical theater. One fan, aspiring director Darren Lynn Bousman, who has since worked on the SAW franchise, vowed to one day direct a film version of the show. Six years (and five SAW films) later, he has made good on his promise with a bizarre, gory, and unique piece of work that is as sure to entertain as it is to polarize its audience. In the year 2056, following an epidemic of human organ failure, the GeneCo Corporation--owned by the mafia-like Largo family--grows and installs new organs on a massive scale. The business, though, necessitates the employment of repo men to reclaim the organs from clients who miss their payments. Repo man and single father Nathan Wallace (Anthony Head, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) keeps his job a secret from his terminally ill daughter, Shilo (Alexa Vega), doing it only to pay for her costly medication. Nathan also has a secret history with GeneCo patriarch Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino)---and their connection is about to become public knowledge on the night of a concert from popular singer--and GeneCo client--Blind Mag (Sarah Brightman).<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Compellingly strange, REPO! resembles a comic book-influenced goth dinner theatre production set within a dystopian video game. Musically, the score concentrates more on libretto-like sung dialogue than memorable tunes (save Vega's pop-punk 'Sixteen' and Brightman's chilling 'Chromaggia'), but the cast appears to be having a blast. Skinny Puppy's Nivek Ogre lends some underground cred as the most twisted member of the Largo clan, but Brightman gives the comically bloody proceedings true legitimacy. A surprising casting choice, she's an almost regal presence, and her goosebump-inducing soprano soars stratospherically above this fun cult film in-the-making.


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