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Directed by Alex Cox
USA 1984

 

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 a desolate 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 repossessing 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.

***

Arguably the defining cult film of the Reagan era, the feature debut of Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy, Walker, Straight to Hell) is a genre-busting mash-up of atomic-age science fiction, post-punk anarchism, and conspiracy paranoia, all shot through with heavy doses of deadpan humour and offbeat philosophy.

After quitting his dead-end supermarket job, young punk Otto (Emilio Estevez) is initiated as a "repo man" after a chance encounter with automobile repossessor Bud (Harry Dean Stanton). An illicit, high-voltage life follows, including an adrenalised search for a mysterious '64 Chevy Malibu loaded with radioactive and extragalactic cargo...

With an iconic soundtrack (Iggy Pop, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies), stunning Robby Müller cinematography, and iconoclastic direction, Repo Man remains one of the great debuts of the 1980s.

***

A volatile, toxic potion of satire and nihilism, road movie and science fiction, violence and comedy, the unclassifiable sensibility of Alex Cox's Repo Man is the model and inspiration for a potent strain of post-punk American comedy. Otto, a baby-face punk played by Emilio Estevez, becomes an apprentice to Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a coke-snorting, veteran repo-man-of-honor prowling the streets of a Los Angeles wasteland populated by hoods, wackos, burnouts, conspiracy theorists, and aliens of every stripe. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but there's a "latticework of coincidence" (as Tracey Walter puts it) underlying everything. Repo Man is a key American movie of the 1980s--just as Taxi Driver, Nashville, and Chinatown are key American movies of the '70s.

Excerpt of Jim Emerson's review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 2nd, 1984

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Comparison:

Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC vs. Universal - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Jayson Kennedy for the Anchor Bay Screen Caps!

1) Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC LEFT

2) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

Also available in a Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook:

Distribution Anchor Bay
Region 0 - NTSC
Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Masters of Cinema - Spine # 27 Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine # 654 Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:00  1:32:00 1:32:09.732 1:32:22.328

Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.69 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 / 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,744,726,292 bytes

Feature: 27,299,629,056 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.78:1 / 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,093,064,327 bytes

Feature: 20,756,434,944 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay

 

Bitrate: Universal

Bitrate: MoC Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 812 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 812 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 760 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 760 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio English 797 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 797 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
 
Subtitles None English, Spanish, French, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by: Writer/Director Alex Cox, Executive Producer Michael Nesmith, Casting Director Victor
• Theatrical Trailer
• Video Trailer
• Talent Bios
• Hidden: The Repo Man Code
 

DVD Release Date: August 20th, 2000
Amaray Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by: Writer/Director Alex Cox, Executive Producer Michael Nesmith, Casting Director Victoria Thomas, Actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss and Del Zamora
• Up Close with Harry Dean Stanton
• Repossessed
• The Missing Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: January 24th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

1.85:1 / 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,744,726,292 bytes

Feature: 27,299,629,056 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Isolated music and effects track
• Audio commentary with Cox and executive producer Michael Nesmith, casting director Victoria Thomas, and actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss, and Del Zamora
• All-new 2012 video piece by Cox offering further thoughts on the film (10:35 in 1080P)
• Repo Man (entire TV version) – this legendary variant, prepared by Cox for network television, incorporates deleted material and surreal overdubs in place of profanity (1:36:34 in 480i)
• Repossessed – a retrospective video piece on the making of the film, featuring Cox, producers Peter McCarthy and Jonathan Wacks, and actors Del Zamora, Sy Richardson, and Dick Rude (25:27 in 1080i)
• The Missing Scenes – a roundtable viewing of deleted scenes from the film with Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith, real-life neutron bomb inventor Sam Cohen, and character “J. Frank Parnell” (25:05 in 1080i)
• Harry Zen Stanton – an extended interview with the legendary actor Harry Dean Stanton (21:18 in 1080i)
• Original theatrical trailer
• A 44-page full colour booklet specially created by Cox, entitled The Repo Code and incorporating all manner of Repo ephemerae
 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 20th, 2012
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion Collection

 

1.78:1 / 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,093,064,327 bytes

Feature: 20,756,434,944 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary featuring Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith, casting director Victoria Thomas, and actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss, and Del Zamora
New interviews with musicians Iggy Pop (11:57) and Keith Morris and actors Dick Rude, Olivia Barash, and Miguel Sandoval (Plate O' Shrimp - 19:19)
Deleted scenes (25:11) and trailers (4:05)
"Repossessed" - Roundtable discussion about the making of the film, featuring Cox, producers Peter McCarthy and Jonathan Wacks, Zamora, Richardson, and Rude (25:30)
Conversation between actor Harry Dean Stanton and McCarthy (21:21)
Cox’s “cleaned-up” television version of the film (1:36:54 in 1080i)
A 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
 

Blu-ray Release Date: April 16th, 2013
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 18

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (April 2013): Another impressive package from Criterion. In regards to the image - the Criterion has a 1.78:1 aspect ratio where the Masters of Cinema is 1.85:1. This has opened up the frame on the new US Blu-ray mostly at the top and the bottom. The Criterion is advertised as "New, restored 2K digital transfer, approved by director Alex Cox". Although the technicals show the MoC to have the, notably, higher bitrate, the Criterion appears to have richer black levels. If it is boosting I can't notice any inherent digital negatives. Those who prefer deeper contrast will probably appreciate the Criterion more, but those who project to a large screen may wish to own The Master of Cinema for the more robust visuals. Colors can show quite a difference from reds to the cloudless skies. Because of this more intense contrast the Criterion probably shows a bit more detail.

 

Criterion opt for a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It may be marginally tinnier as compared to the MoC DTS-HD Master - but it's hard for me to say with any definitive proof. It is lossless and, presumably, quite authentic.

 

Supplements overlap between the two in a few areas. Both have the Cox/Nesmith et all commentary and both have the 25-minute "Repossessed", the TV version (but in 1080i), 21-minute Harry Zen Stanton conversation between actor Harry Dean Stanton and McCarthy and the 25-minutes of deleted scenes. Criterion add new (2012) interviews with musicians Iggy Pop (11:57) and a piece entitled Plate O' Shrimp interviewing Keith Morris and actors Dick Rude, Olivia Barash, and Miguel Sandoval (19:19). There is an extra trailer stuck in there and Criterion have a wonderful artistic package with a 66-page 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.

 

Great package and I like that there are slight differences - I'll need a few spins to definitively pick a favorite image transfer and I love the Criterion book and cover - probably the best of the year. Certainly recommended! 

***

 

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (December 11'): Quite the impressive package from the Masters of Cinema! Firstly, Repo Man is not going to look much better than this. The more film-like image advances beyond the SD transfers - colors match up closer for the 1080P comparing to the Universal - but that DVD's renderings greenish hue is more noticeable. Grain is nicely textured and the dual-layered disc supplies a very high bitrate for the HD feature, less noise and artifacts etc. . There is some depth and detail takes a solid peg upward. Looks sweet in-motion!

 

The 2.0 channel stereo stays within its boundaries - Steven Hufsteter and Tito Larriva's (as Humberto Larriva) score sounds good and there is a cornucopia of alt-music from the likes of Iggy Pop, The Circle Jerks, The Juicy Bananas, Burning Sensations and more. The DTS-HD Master does its job with some effects exporting some depth raising confidence that the lossless is also reaching its apex in accordance with the film's production limitations.

Masters of Cinema add many great extras - beyond the previous SD releases - described professionally by them on the MoC website. Firstly, an isolated music and effects track is offered in uncompressed and the previous audio commentary with Cox and executive producer Michael Nesmith, casting director Victoria Thomas, and actors Sy Richardson, Zander Schloss, and Del Zamora is still here. There is also an all-new 2012 HD video piece by Cox offering further thoughts on the film for more than 10-minutes and we get the entire 1-hour-36-minute TV version of Repo Man! (in SD) This legendary variant, prepared by Cox for network television, incorporates deleted material and surreal overdubs in place of profanity. It's a cool alternative once you have absorbed (and can't get enough) of the theatrical. Great supplement! Repossessed is a 26-minute retrospective video piece on the making of the film, featuring Cox, producers Peter McCarthy and Jonathan Wacks, and actors Del Zamora, Sy Richardson, and Dick Rude also found on the Universal DVD - as are The Missing Scenes which is a roundtable viewing of deleted scenes from the film with Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith, real-life neutron bomb inventor Sam Cohen, and character “J. Frank Parnell”. On the Blu-ray these are offered in 1080i. Harry Zen Stanton is an extended interview with the legendary actor Harry Dean Stanton discussing his thoughts on life and philosophy. There is an original theatrical trailer and the package contains a 44-page full colour booklet specially created by Cox, entitled The Repo Code and incorporating all manner of Repo ephemerae.

Great package - Repo Man is a film worth visiting every year or so. There are always new, or unremembered, details, that stick out of add further flavor to this 'punk journey'. I really appreciate the further supplements including the televised version and the included booklet. If this was being released in 2011 - it would definitely be on my consideration list for the Top 10 Blu-rays of the Year. Let's see how 2012 goes. I revel in this film with lines like 'Society made me what I am...' and 'It still hurts'! Strongly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ADDITION: (Anchor Bay THX-Mastered) - Anamorphic, progressive, but quite hazy in comparison. Also contrast boosted, bluish, and sporting heavy lines. It must be said the little hidden feature in the Extras menu is just stupid and pointless. Being that this edition has the exact same running time as the Focus Features edition, I can only assume it's perhaps the same transfer. It's a case of 2000 vs. 2005 authoring or simply more care (notice the higher bitrate on the Focus). It isn't terrible per say, just outdated. Either way, the new Focus edition wins hands down. Though Anchor Bay's animated menus are pretty snazzy.

 - Jayson Kennedy

I can't comment on the previous release of this film on DVD as I do not own it, but I am thrilled about this one. The image quality is very good - tight to the edges, anamorphic to the correct aspect ratio, progressive. My only query is to the color scheme which makes skin tones appear a shade red at times. Overall though the image looks fairly sharp and quite film-like. I expect that this is a fairly true representation as to the theatrical appearance. I only listened to the mono audio and it was clear and consistent and the optional subtitles are well done.

The beauty of this package is both the commentary and the extra features. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. After watching Alex Cox on many Masters of Cinema releases doing the introductions I feel a bit of kinship to him and his manner of communication. I especially enjoyed the 'Missing Scenes" which is far more advanced than you might expect with Cox having a running conversation with an ex-military man as we watch the deleted scenes on his VCR.

I really enjoyed this film, even more so than I have in the past. I think its major flaw might be the tangent that it appears to go off on in the end, but then again that may also be the reason for my appreciation. We strongly recommend this disc.

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

(Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC LEFT vs. Universal - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)


 

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

NOTE: No subs on the Anchor Bay

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 0- NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Cover

   

Also available in a Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook:

Distribution Anchor Bay
Region 0 - NTSC
Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Masters of Cinema - Spine # 27 Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion Collection - Spine # 654 Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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