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The brainy, paranoid science fiction of writer Philip K. Dick has inspired one visionary classic (Blade Runner) and two above-average action movies (Total RecallandMinority Report).Paycheckaspires to follow in their footsteps: An engineer (Ben Affleck,Chasing Amy) routinely agrees to have his memory erased after every job so that he doesn't know what he's done. But after the biggest job of his life, he discovers that not only has he refused a $90 million paycheck, he's sent himself an envelope full of things he doesn't recognize--and he doesn't remember doing any of this. As he unravels the plot, he discovers he's also fallen in love (with Uma Thurman,Kill Bill) and invented a dangerous device for his former boss (Aaron Eckhart,Erin Brockovich). Affleck is bland, the script ruins a cunning idea, and the direction--from the normally dynamic John Woo (Face/Off)--plods along, aimless and bored.--Bret Fetzer
Paycheck: A Forgettable Future Paycheck is a disappointing and sometimes frustrating film because it clumsily toys with a number of potentially brilliant ideas without really knowing what to do with them. These key concepts come courtesy of Philip K. Dick, via his original short story, though the film poorly represents the themes and conceits that have made his stories into unforgettable classics. As a thriller, Paycheck depends upon our identification with its imperiled hero, but the movie is never able to make us truly care about Ben Affleck's Michael Jennings or his fragile state of mind, and that's something Dick would have found unforgivable. Only Uma Thurman really earns her paycheck here. The premise is high concept, and the prophetic threat is revealed to be of apocalyptic proportion, but Paycheck is never more than a pedestrian action film spun from chains of meaningless chase sequences and flat fight scenes. The future world created by John Woo isn't nearly as engaging or convincing as, say, the captivating science fiction setting crafted by Stephen Spielberg for another high-profile Dick adaptation, Minority Report. For Paycheck, the comparison is not flattering. Sadly, Woo can't even keep himself from forcing his own creative preoccupations into the film, and a resulting motorcycle chase sequence is outright uninspired and may represent the film's low. Some scenes are enjoyable, and there are fleeting flashes of wit and excitement, but much of what unfolds seems inappropriately conceived or placed. Paycheck isn't a smart film and, what's more, it sometimes assumes that its audience isn't even paying attention. As a result, the film never comes close to living up to its potential. The material and the audience deserve better. Unfortunately, Paycheck is forgettable fare and, truly, it is without any real payoff.
--Brian A. Dixon Revelation Magazine
All the things I hate I don't particularly like Uma Thurman. I haven't liked Paul Giamatti's performances (except maybe in "The Negotiator"). Ben Affleck is not my favorite actor, to be sure and Aaron Eckhart is kind of an unknown quantity.
The first 20 minutes of the movie are admittedly punctuated by asinine stupidity, like science fiction written for kindergarten. In fact, there are incredibly stupid parts that marr the entire movie.
Somehow, the movie works very well together. The stupidity is honed by sleak, sexy science fiction and a well moving action line. I can;t explain it...watch the movie all the way through and see if you like it...I did...and I hate most movies.Great premise, weak execution In Paycheck, Ben Affleck plays engineer Michael Jennings, who works on highly lucrative projects for big companies, then has his memory erased so that he can't reveal any trade secrets. He's paid millions for the privilege, of course, and everything seems to sit just fine with him.
However, on a particularly well-paying gig, Jennings awakens from his memory erasure to discover that he's traded his obscenely high paycheck for an envelope full of random personal items. As the movie progresses, we learn that Jennings has risked everything to save himself, his girl (Uma Thurman), and (of course) THE WORLD. (Insert booming soundtrack music here.)
Although I found the premise of Paycheck highly original, and the action more than adequate to keep me interested, the scenes between Thurman and Affleck fell flat. (In addition, more than a few melodramatic moments had me rolling my eyes.)
This movie was fairly entertaining, but it just couldn't find its heart. Paul Giamatti, in a turn as Shorty, Micheal's tech-savvy friend, struck me as the most real character of the bunch, and he didn't even have much screen time. Verdict: skip it.