With Repo Chick, you get the impression that Alex Cox has finally gotten fed up with struggling in the wilderness of indie filmmaking for the better part of three decades and threw his arms up in a big what the hell and decided to capitalise on his prior successes by churning out sequels. As well as this Repo Man sequel, Cox subsequently made Straight to Hell Returns (2010). Cox had also adapted an earlier Repo Man sequel script into into the graphic novel Waldos Hawaiian Journey (2008). One of the more fascinating controversies that occurred with Repo Chick was when the big-budget science-fiction film Repo Men (2010) was made around the same time where Universal fired cease and desist letters at Alex Cox, claiming he was capitalising on their title in making a sequel to his own film.
Repo Chick is a sequel to Repo Man only in the sense that it is a repeat of the essentials of the first film but with different characters. (Repo Chick does feature a number of actors who appeared in Repo Man, including Olivia Barash, Miguel Sandoval, Tom Finnegan, Del Zamora, Eddie Velez, Jennifer Balgobin, Zander Schloss and Biff Yeager, although none of them are cast in the same roles they played in the first film). There is the same plot set-up of someone down-and-out Jaclyn Jonets disinherited heiress as opposed to Emilio Estevezs unemployed punk who discovers themselves after falling into the repo trade. In both films, the latter half of the story is taken over by the quest for a vehicle a Chevy Malibu with aliens in the trunk in the original, a mysterious train here. (Although the disappointment of Repo Chick is that the train is of little significance to the film, other than becoming the venue for a hostage drama that takes over in the last third of the film. It has a caboose that glows green, although that seems to only be because the trunk of the car in the original also glowed and the trains doing so is otherwise unexplained). Alex Cox has smartly updated the milieu and now uses repossession as a metaphor to make a number of digs at the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
But Repo Chick, oh dear. Contrasted to the brash, youthful wackiness of Repo Man where you could see Alex Cox was a talent in the process of forming, Repo Chick feels like a production that is trying to be a wacky cult film and only comes out as self-consciously forced in its efforts. For reasons unclear (probably lack of budget), Alex Cox has shot the entire film in front of a green screen using the RED Digital Cinema Camera process where almost all of the settings have been optically inserted in post-production. This results in a film where most of the sets and objects around people have been replaced by toys or vehicles that looks like cardboard mock-ups. The exteriors of the train in the latter half look like the filmmakers have simply cannibalised a toy train-set. The back-projected footage during the various vehicle journeys is frequently interrupted by negative stock or animation that looks as though it has been scrawled with felt pens.
I began to lose interest soon into Repo Chick due to a combination of the amateurish tediousness of the artificial sets and the shrill, annoying caricatures of Jaclyn Jonets three dim-witted sidekicks. Jaclyn Jonet plays the repo chick as the potentially interesting idea of an idle, self-absorbed heiress sort of Paris Hilton with a ruthlessly calculating mercenary attitude who has fallen from grace. This is something that could have worked but neither Jaclyn Jonet or Alex Cox do much to bring the character to life. Pixxi is shown to have a remarkable aptitude for the repo profession, although this seems to consist of no more than staring people down with a withering look or whispering something we are never privy to into their ear that subsequently sends them scurrying, where Alex Cox does the dramatic crime of describing from the outside rather than showing. The hostage scheme that takes over in the last third touches on moments of satiric social humour but mostly stumbles around itself with no clear direction. This is something you could also accuse Repo Man of but it at least found itself with an ending that was so sublimely strung-out that it was hilarious. Repo Chick alas never finds any such equivalent.