Repo Man (1984)

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Released 14-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Satire Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 88:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Alex Cox

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Emilio Estevez
Harry Dean Stanton
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   Repo Man is a low budget favourite from 1984 that is deserving of the status `cult classic'. I had not seen this film prior to reviewing it, but was well aware of its reputation amongst cult film fanatics. I am happy to report that I found the film thoroughly enjoyable, albeit with some minor reservations. The plot is, to say the least, peculiar. Our two lead actors, Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton play repossession men who during the course of the film get involved with street gangs, government conspiracies, aliens and rival repo agencies. During all this, Stanton is unloading his considerable wisdom as a repo man to the young novice in Estevez. I can't really explain it any further than that, but it does make sense while watching it, and it is littered with witty dialogue and outrageous moments.

    I did find that writer/director Alex Cox tried on more than one occasion to be too clever and hip and did not have the budget or the experience to pull it off. The numerous story threads don't link up as well as they could have, unlike (for example) Pulp Fiction, however, for a first time filmmaker he succeeds more often than fails. The stand-out and most famous aspect of the film is the lack of product placement - everything is labelled `Food' or `drink'. This was by accident rather than intentional, as the film could not get product sponsorship and it just so happens to work brilliantly in the context of the film.

    The performances are generally good. Emilio Estevez does well enough, but his acting has improved considerably from this early effort. Harry Dean Stanton is the film's stand-out and he brings a touch of class to the proceedings. Stanton is one of the great character actors of all time and it is easy to see why. His line delivery as the world-weary repo veteran is delightful and makes the film well worth watching for his performance alone.

    Repo Man is well worth re-discovering for those not familiar with the film and a delight for fans of low budget genre filmmaking.

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Transfer Quality


    Repo Man is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness levels are generally fine, but the picture does suffer from poor shadow detail. The worst example of this can be seen at 68:58, where there is no background detail whatsoever. There is also a constant minor level of grain found throughout the film, but this doesn't distract too much. There is no low level noise to be found.

    Colours are fairly vibrant for a 20 year old film. Flesh tones and those lovely early eighties fashions are well rendered.

    There are occasional problems with aliasing, the most notable example being at 4:26 inside the supermarket. This only lasts a few seconds. There are constant dark coloured film artefacts throughout the film, but they are not too noticeable.

    Universal have provided a reasonable transfer here, but there is still some room for improvement here.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Five audio tracks are on offer, all presented as Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The English track is reviewed here.

    Dialogue is always clear and there are no audio sync problems.

    The score is made up of rock music from the era including the likes of Iggy Pop and others. Nice if you're into this type of thing.

    There is little surround channel usage to be heard, with most of the sound located centrally. The film was extremely low budget and does not require a lot of directional effects. Indeed, from all accounts the Region 1 disc with a 5.1 remix isn't any better than the 2.0 one found here.

    The subwoofer supports the soundtrack suitably and nothing more.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A nice string of film clips accompanies the menu.

Scene Selection Animation & Audio

    Animated chapter selections are always a nice addition.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    A 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, a commentary from the cast and crew, and if you get the Limited Edition tin version, this also has the movie's soundtrack on CD and a 24 page booklet.

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on the original 2.0 track.

    The clear winner is the Region 1 disc for the additional extras and the 5.1 audio track.


    Repo Man is an example of smart filmmaking on a low budget and is somewhat deserving of the cult status it has gained over the last 20 years. The film is presented adequately on a bare bones disc with no extras other than a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Friday, May 09, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215.
AmplificationSony HT-K215

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Comments (Add)
new 2008 R4 release - cztery