Paycheck (2003) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
351 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
An Underrated John Woo's decent Sci-Fi action futuristic favorite flick of mine!
ivo-cobra85 March 2016
Paycheck (2003) is very underrated John Woo's solid action futuristic thriller, that combines spectacular action sequences with a spellbinding mystery that keeps you guessing from beginning to breathtaking end. It is my John Woo's fourth personal favorite action film of his, that I absolutely love to death.

I know a lot of people don't like this movie because it is John Woo's movie and it is rated PG-13, I love it. I love Ben Affleck his made some of his movies that are favorite mine like are: Reindeer Games, The Sum of All Fears, Daredevil and of course this one Paycheck. Watching this movie I must say Ben Affleck can act and he gave one of his convincing acting performances I have seen. I have been from the beginning against his role Bruce Wayne / Batman which I thought they should have left Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy alone, but now after I have seen him in this movie I must say, if you gave Ben Affleck a good script, he will acted terrifically.

This flick is outstanding and Ben Affleck's character is well written and decent. Paycheck is a film that I feel is underrated (I enjoyed the story/ideas, the 'writing your own future, and then living the future you wrote after your memory has been wiped' aspect, the cast (I am a fan of Ben Affleck), the 'Sci-Fi' MacGyver aspect, the action bits which were there. I love the story I love Ben Affleck's character that he is a computer engineer who is working for company's and after he is done, they erasing his memories, he later accepts the job by friends company signs a three year contract and starts working on something big. Three years later, he thinks he won $92.000.000, but he is later double-crossed and chased by FBI and ruthless mercenaries. He finds an envelope with 20 subjects who helps him out of the trouble. The film is filled with mystery around, with what is all about. On the end of the film we found out, it is about a time machine, who can write a future and tells what will happened in your own future, which Michael Jennings build. Now Michael has to race against time, to go back where he started working on machine and destroy it, before Jimmy Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart) re writes his future by destroying the world.

About the cast a lot of actors in this film practically everyone in the main cast is connected to Batman in some weird way. Ben Affleck is the star of this movie and will be the next actor to portray The Dark Knight himself in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice this month. Aaron Eckhart plays the villainous Rethrick but in The Dark Knight he played Harvey Dent s Two-Face and if I may say he was incredibly underrated. Aaron played outstanding villain in this flick. Uma Thurman plays Rachel in Paycheck but we all of course remember her as Poison Ivy in the 1997 clunker Batman & Robin. Also Batman's love interest in The TDK trilogy is called Rachel. Uma Thurman was very likely in here and I liked her very much. I more remember her as the Bride in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2, Mad Dog and Glory and of course I mentioned a failure Batman & Robin. Colm Feore played my favorite character Henry Taylor in 24 Season 7, he was outstanding as Rethrick's henchman Wolfe. I had no clue Michael C Hall - Dexter Morgan him self was in here as an FBI agent, he was just awesome. The last one is Paul Giamatti who was Jennings friend he wasn't also annoying I love him! He only had three scenes and he acted perfectly. Honestly I dare to say Paul Giamatti is far way better actor than Rob Schneider is.

Paycheck is written by short story of the same name by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick., I have enjoyed the action scenes, the acting performances, the chase on motorcycle was my favorite scene in the film. I love this movie and it is John Woo's fifth favorite action film of mine. This movie get's a solid perfect 10 score by me.
44 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Better than expected action / sci fi flick
mstomaso3 August 2005
Philip K Dick wrote many stories which seemed to have great film potential. I never thought of this as one of them.

I have seen Ben Affleck in a number of films, and felt that he was good in a few, OK in most, and positively annoying in some.

I saw the horrible, misleading trailers.

The soundtrack was simply bad.

So, needless to say, I went into Paycheck with very low expectations.... and I was pleasantly surprised.

Affleck plays a talented reverse-engineer, who sees the possibilities in new technology, and is able to carry it through to fruition. He takes on top-secret jobs and has his memory erased upon the completion of each. He decides to take on a project big and profitable enough to allow him to retire comfortably for the rest of his life. He completes the project, goes through the memory erasure, and then starts to discover what he has done, and, pursued by corporate hit men and the police, tries to recover his memory. Uma Thurmond, a biologist he had fallen in love with, is one of the memories he wants to recover, and also a target.

Paycheck is more of an action film than a sci fi flick. The plot serves the action, as do the somewhat one-dimensional characters. And there is so little chemistry between Affleck and Thurmond that the romantic subplot is almost just a distraction. Despite these flaws, I spent an evening being thoroughly entertained by this rehashing of the usual technology-run-amok / knowledge-is-power story. This film is very Hollywood, and uses a lot of slick and clichéd camera-work, but nevertheless tells a good story and does it well enough.
86 out of 115 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Intriguing premise is made mildly enjoyable, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Li-19 January 2005
Rating: ** out of ****

I wonder what it says about the state of cinematic science fiction that most of author Philip K. Dick's adaptations generally mix high-octane action with its interesting sci-fi concepts. Paycheck is no exception, hardly a surprise when you note it's from once beloved Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo, who's quickly reaching Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich levels of notoriety in the U.S. with each regressive film.

To be fair, Paycheck isn't unenjoyable, and it even gets off to a pretty good start. Set sometime in the near future, there's not much of a noticeable difference with our present time except for a few elaborate-looking gadgets and computers. Ben Affleck stars as Michael Jennings, a reverse engineer who's hired by major corporations to build products superior to all rival companies. Afterwards, his memory is erased by a partner of his (Paul Giamatti) and he's given a large paycheck for his time and troubles (usually the whole process takes about three months).

His latest offer comes from an old friend of his (Aaron Eckhart), who promises an eight-figure deal at the end of the transaction. The catch is that the whole procedure will take three years. Despite some reluctance, he agrees to the deal and when the three years pass by, Jennings, thinking he's a rich man, is shocked to discover he gave up over ninety million dollars in favor of an envelope containing twenty everyday household items. Now he finds himself on the run from both the FBI and the company that hired him, and must set out to discover what he built during those three years he's missing.

Uma Thurman also stars in the movie as Jennings' girlfriend during that three-year span, but she factors so lazily into the picture, she's obviously only in the film so that a) Jennings can have a love interest and b) he can also have someone to talk to about every little discovery he makes. Then again, function "b" could have worked just as well with Giamatti, but everyone knows a "sexy" chick is a better sell (I have to put quote marks around sexy because Thurman looks positively haggard for almost every minute of screen time she's present; I can't help but feel the much hotter Kathryn Morris would have done better in the role).

There are two concepts in this movie that specifically intrigue me (some moderate spoilers here), the first one is choosing deliberately to erase your own memory, but the notion is forgotten after the first half-hour. I was quite curious to know exactly what the process is like to the subject. Take, for instance, the fact that he lost his memory over the three-year span. Does the last thing he remembers feel like a three-year old memory or an event that happened just a second ago? Instead, all we get is a half-hearted (actually, not even that much) attempt at a sorrowful romance because he can't remember his girlfriend and she's not very happy about that.

The other major sci-fi concept, the ability to see into the future, isn't explored with much more interest and it leads to a number of baffling questions. You see (quite a few spoilers here), it's revealed Jennings sent himself those twenty items because they can come in handy at a specific moment that'll help him survive or escape from a dangerous situation.

But the thing is, Jennings couldn't have known each item would come in handy unless he used the device he built at least twenty times, because there's no way he'd know a motorcycle would come in handy if he never had, say, the bus ticket to escape from the FBI, meaning he used the device to see what he needed to escape the FBI, but still foresaw that he'd be killed in even more future events. That would mean this guy was originally destined to die or get caught in well over ten different scenarios (i.e. he had the bus ticket to escape, but if he didn't have the motorbike keys, he wouldn't have gotten further, and so on and so forth), but this is never really addressed.

By John Woo standards, there's surprisingly only a modest amount of action in the film, but at least the material is competently handled, even if it's not entirely believable. What might work in movies that establish their characters as supercops with impeccable aims doesn't come off quite as well in action scenes that feature scientists beating up a large number of armed goons. But if you suspend disbelief, the action scenes are pretty fun (especially the motorcycle chase and the laboratory battle), and coupled with the relatively fast pace, keep the movie perfectly watchable despite the poor script and mediocre acting (I never got into specifics, but this is Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman we're talking about).

When all is said and done, Paycheck is a wasted opportunity and is never as memorable a mixture of science fiction, mystery, and action as Minority Report, but it's likely to do the trick for undemanding fans of any of these genres. If you expect more, well, you'd do best to remember this is John Woo we're talking about, not Steven Spielberg.
121 out of 174 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Better than I thought
applezoid1 January 2004
I went in to this film with relatively low expectations. Other reviews I had read led me to believe that this was a cookie cutter, run of the mill, made for tv-esque amnesia story. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The main plot of most amnesia types is trying to find out who they are and why someone erased their memory. With Paycheck, however, our protagonist already knows why his memory was erased, and since it's only been three years, he of course knows who he is.

The plot device is that at the end of this little memory wipe he's supposed to be 92 million dollars plus richer. Imagine his surprise when he finds out he's forfeit the money, and instead mailed himself some apparently worthless junk. Oh, and the company that hired him is trying to kill him.

This is what a Sci Fi movie should be, relying on an interesting premise, with future predictions based on current technology. Sci Fi is not space with explosions every five minutes.

Although there are a few minor plot holes, I found the movie very engaging, and thought the acting was competent, to say the least. Those who enjoyed Minority Report might also like Paycheck. It's worth a look.

30 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
some clever plotting done in by man-on-the-run cliches
Buddy-519 July 2004
Though futuristic in look and tone, John Woo's `Paycheck' is really a throwback to that oldie about the man who wakes up one day as an amnesiac only to find himself being pursued by the authorities for a crime he may or may not have committed (just about every other Hitchcock film seemed to be built on this premise to one extent or another). The difference is that Michael Jennings is an amnesiac by choice, a brilliant engineer and scientist whose job it is to develop top-secret inventions for hi tech corporations. Once he's delivered the goods, he allows his memory to be erased – thereby rendering him innocuous as a security threat - in exchange for the lucrative paychecks the companies offer him.

Yet another of the many recent adaptations of a Phillip Dick story, `Paycheck' begins in the present day, a strange choice on the part of the filmmakers actually, for in this film's view of 2004, the technology for memory erasure seems to be in full swing and widely accepted (perhaps the producers didn't want to have to deal with the expense or bother of creating futuristic designs for their sets and costumes). The majority of the story, however, takes place in 2007, after Jennings `wakes up' from a three-year stint working on a secret project about which he can remember nothing. The trouble is that things haven't quite worked out the way Jennings planned as he finds himself the quarry of both the FBI and the organization for which he was working. Of course, Jennings doesn't know why. As is customary with films of this type, we uncover the clues and piece together the picture right along with the increasingly more enlightened main character.

It's that piecing together that is the sole factor of interest in `Paycheck,' for Dick is clearly a writer with a fertile imagination and a gift for mind-bending storytelling. When the film sticks to unraveling its plot complications, it is generally sharp, intriguing and thought-provoking. Too often, though, the film degenerates into a collection of man-on-the-run, action movie clichés. Although the special effects are occasionally impressive, the far-too-frequent chase sequences defy all logic and believability. In fact, a number of scenes actually elicit a few unwanted giggles, so ludicrous and over-the-top are the setup and execution. Director Woo, past master of action spectaculars, is clearly working on autopilot in this film.

There isn't much to say about the acting, either. Although Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman - as the woman Jennings fell in love with during the three years, but whom he can no longer remember - do their best with the characters assigned to them, neither is given much chance to expand beyond the stereotypical confines of their respective roles.

When it comes to all those involved in this film, I suspect that Jennings isn't the only one here working solely for the paycheck.
38 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good action but the gimmick is difficult to accept because it continually forces you to accept it
bob the moo18 January 2004
Michael Jennings is a reverse engineer who, in exchange for big money, takes items apart in order to rebuild them for other companies. After every job his memory is wiped back to the moment he started the job. When he is offered a massive payday to do a three-year job for friend James Rethrick he accepts. Next thing he knows it is three years later and the job done. He goes to collect his money but finds that he has waived his right to it and replaced it with a package full of strange objects. When he is set up with the FBI he goes on the run and realises that the objects are all clues or aids in his mission - a mission that he himself has arranged.

There's nothing quite like a good action movie that allows you to accept whatever the plot is as it presents good solid action. This film almost manages it and it is ironic that the concept from Dick is what weakens it. The plot is a bit of a stretch but once you accept it you can move on - like Face/Off, once you get the idea and accept it you can enjoy the action. However with Paycheck you are only left alone for 10 minutes before you have to accept the stretched plot all over again. Every time an item perfectly fits a situation you have to accept the whole concept over again. The problem is that the items are far too specific. With the lottery number strip it works, however with the paperclip and the bullet it is too much of a stretch and took the enjoyment off the action a bit.

Happily it is only a bit. The plot as an idea works pretty well but has been done better elsewhere (Bourne Identity and Total Recall for example) it is presented too full of holes that appear with the slightest picking. It would have been much better if the items had been bigger in terms of meaning rather than very specific (e.g. the lighter and hairspray), bigger clues and so on would have been better. However the action is still pretty good, not quite classic Woo but full or good touches. The film has a good steady pace to it and it keeps it up for the majority - very quickly getting through the set up and jumping to three years hence. The action is enjoyably slick and makes good use of effects; true, some of the set ups in the scenes is stretched, and some of the stuff about the weapons is just dumb (a fired bullet with it's casing, a bullet being fired by a thick piece of metal etc), however if you can accept the plot then I imagine accepting that Woo often takes style over substance shouldn't be a problem.

The cast is so-so despite having a surprising amount of famous faces. Affleck is better than usual; because he is quite ordinary he plays an everyman pretty well and it is easy to see him as a `normal' guy. Eckhart is reasonably good but he has limited screen time. It's good to see him in big films like this as he is an interesting guy, but I hope he doesn't just turn off his skills. Giamatti is in the film briefly and is OK comic relief but Thurman has been miscast. She does most of the film pretty well but her early scenes as an expert biologist are laughable she is so inept! The support cast features a really good turn from Feore as well as good roles from Morton and the wonderful Hall - although the roles are practically cameos.

Overall this is an enjoyable little action movie but it is ironic that the story is both interesting and the film's weak point. The items are too specific and, each time Jennings uses one, it forces the audience to accept the unlikely premise all over again. Worth seeing for enjoyable action delivered by a director who recovers some of his form here.
66 out of 103 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Sci-Fi Action That Is Intelligent
BaronBl00d15 April 2006
Don't let the naysayers keep you from giving Paycheck a look. I found it to be intelligent, inventive, action-packed fun. Ben Affleck does a very credible job playing a man that finds the secrets of new technology out for big paychecks and then has his memory erased. He is offered a huge amount to do just that but lose three years of his life in terms of what he remembers. Well, the film picks up quickly after the three years and Ben Affleck has been played foul by his employer or someone. The science fiction aspect is very involved but presented in a pretty comprehensible style. The film chronicles Affleck's collection of simple, every day items that have been sent to him by - himself - and each has a purpose he must soon discover. Director John Woo mixes lots of gritty, sometimes over-blown action sequences here and there(especially at the end), but they only enhanced the suspenseful nature of the film. The film works primarily because of its thoughtful, engaging script and the adequate acting of Affleck, Aaron Echhart, Colm Feore, sultry Uma Thurman, and always humorous Paul Giamatti. The profound(albeit somewhat lost in the action)lesson in the film's end resonated strongly for me and had me thinking about my future and OUR future here on planet Earth. If a film can do that, it can't be all that bad in my book. The film is based on the science fiction writing of Philip Dick, a great mind and perhaps a soothsayer to what lies ahead for all of us. A great theme for this film might be little things mean a lot OR thanks for the memories!
30 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's like a 50s Sci-fi tale.
vertigo_1417 March 2004
This movie questions playing god with technology. In this case, the technology provides the ability to forsee the future. Ben Affleck plays Michael Jennings, a pretty suave computer engineer who hires out to various technology companies seeking to improve their product. His work is so promising that they require that his memory be erased, I suppose, so as not to leak trade secrets. With the expectations of a lavish paycheck, Jennings is willing to give up three years of his life to work on a top secret project. Except, when the project is complete and the memory erased, he runs into the snag--being out of cash and on the run from a fleet of wild gunmen hired by the company.

It's a good story, and one reminscent of a good 50s episode of the Twilight Zone. You'll even notice some old noir camera effects such as Jennings staring into a mirror with the camera at a cocked angle as he tries to figure out his dilemma. The story is also reminscent of Memento, in that a person with no memory who has left himself clues must solve the mystery.

I was reluctant to find good in this movie before I had even seen it because of two reasons: Ben Affleck and John Woo. John Woo, though working with a good story, lays on thick those couple of minute action scenes with everyone coming so darn close (yet so far away) from getting their heads chopped off by flying cars and all that mess. It really wasn't pivotal to the story, nor to the mood, but understandably, it is the director's trademark. Ben Affleck was pretty much inconsequential in his role as Michael Jennings, playing the same charming nice guy character he always portrays in nearly every role he's been in. Uma Thurman, as Jennings girlfriend and Watson to Jenning's Sherlock, got some cheers from the theater, as most of her quick kung fu leg work and perfectly timed reactions manages to knock out a few of their armed adversaries.

But, despite the flack that Affleck gets, or misdirected Woo's (which is pretty much any John Woo least according to Homer Simpson), this is a pretty good science fiction story. Especially, given that somewhat undermined, but valid, examination of the technology race and what it could mean for the future of mankind.
18 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Minority Report meets The Bourne Identity meets... hack producers and plain bad writing
Flagrant-Baronessa20 September 2006
First, let me debunk the myth that this is "an awful movie" as I keep reading – because it has some interesting (albeit unoriginal) notions and it often executes them well. More importantly, it will generally keep you interested by navigating futuristic concepts in a fast-spinning pace that will unable you to yawn or look at your watch. Secondly, in spite of its technologically-ridden science fiction premise, Paycheck does not fall prey to the fatal "style over substance" crime because it at least tries, which is more than I can say for its peers (Equilibrium, The Island, etc).

So the effort is at least there and 1/3 into the film, you feel that things are really well-sewn together when the plot starts unfolding. Then it completely falls apart. This is understandable, because it's pretty off-the-wall: Michael Jennings is an expert engineer hired by high-profile corporations for a reverse engineering technique which usually takes about 3-4 weeks depending on the task – then his memory is wiped clean and he receives a big paycheck. Well, this process tears on him and when the opportunity for a big-budget, 3-year-long job presents itself as "the last job", Michael takes it. He also meets a girl during this time called Rachel (an unusually rough-looking Uma Thurman). With a clean slate post the completion of the job, Michael discovers that he has declined the paycheck and left an envelope for himself filled with clues as to what happened in the past – and what lies ahead in the future.

It may sound intriguing but because this was originally written as a SHORT story by Philip K. Dick, all the characters are completely unexplored, flat and downright uninteresting. It does not help that Ben Affleck botches through the story with his usual puzzled look that only ever seems to fit in Kevin Smith productions. Thurman also inhabits a truly badly-written role here, and the banter between her and Affleck is self-referential in the most cringeworthy way (they quote their sappy first meeting, etc). They also mostly resort to meaningful glances to convey their love. That's the central performances for you, and sadly the ONE character that could have saved the others from the mud is Michael's buddy Paul Giamatti. Unfortunately he fades quickly and is later only ever used as a comedic sidekick to make up for the lack of clever things to say.

If you do not mind half-hearted acting from the leads, and perhaps you are only interesting in seeing this because it's a John Woo movie, then you will also be disappointed because there is little of Woo's dynamic, adrenaline-pumping, Mexican stand-off laden, martial arts-spinning action in this story. I remember one motorcycle chase that took me back to M-I-2 and strangely also The Bourne Identity (in which Matt Damon is being chased while on the search for his identity post-amnesia) but it was lacking in oomph; there is also a brief Woo-like face-off on the subway tracks between Affleck and the key henchman but this is the most daring John Woo will allow himself to get – the rest of the time he blindly follows the standard formula for modern sci-fi/action fare. In other words, Affleck looks at an item in the envelope, has a startling revelation, sets out knowing exactly what to do and when to do it, being effortlessly aided by conveniently appearing objects and doors – then some henchman interrupts him.

I think this is one of those films that continuity spies could OD on, because the plot really is thinner than an Olsen twin. For example, how could Michael be such an expert genius engineer if he keeps on erasing any technical information post completion of a work task? He'd have to start from scratch every time. You just have to look past the stupid goofs, the flat characters, the mediocre acting and the safe action if you want to enjoy Paycheck (2003) – but then... there is not much left.

5 out of 10
57 out of 98 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Thrilling and moving science fiction film by the great filmmaker John Woo
ma-cortes19 October 2004
The flick takes place in 2007 , an engineer , Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck's biggest paycheck) , is hired by technology enterprises , when his aim is made , his brain memory is erased of the mind . Then , he's framed of stealing important stuff and being pursued . He is helped by her lover (Uma Thurman) and a friend (Paul Giamatti) . From start to finish intrigue and action-packed is interminable , it's fast moving and is neither boring , nor tiring , but entertaining.

In the motion picture there is emotion , thriller , pursuits by car driving and cycles , shootouts and being enough interesting . The storyline is based on an original novel from Philip K. Dick , the prestigious author of : ¨Blade runner¨ , ¨Screams¨ , ¨Total recall¨ and ¨The Impostor¨ , all of them well adapted on several cinematic renditions . The plot of the film results to be pretty twisted and the ending has an extraordinary surprise . Interpretation by Ben Affleck is riveting , this one was his biggest fees to date . However , Matt Damon was originally considered for the part , but turned it down because it was too similar to The Bourne Identity . Affleck is well accompanied by the enjoyable and enticing Uma Thurman . Aaron Eckhart is outstanding as villain , likeness another nasty as Colm Feore . In addition , Michael C. Hall's feature film debut . The motion picture was compellingly directed by John Woo , who originally did not want to do his trademark "Mexican Standoff" in this film , but Ben Affleck begged Woo to include the scene having been a great aficionado of Woo's films as Better tomorrow (1988) , The Killer (1989) , Bullet in head (1990) and Hard Boiled (1992) . The yarn will appeal science fiction and thriller fans . Rating 6,5/10 , well catching .
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Philip Dick Reduced to a "McGyver" Episode
noralee19 January 2004
"Paycheck" is yet another adaptation of a Philip Dick short story that tones down his political criticism and cynicism to make a sci fi adventure flick, this time pretty much as an expensive and clever "McGyver" episode. You can tell how this is expanded from a story where the hero had five items/clues and now he has 20.

Ben Affleck is a bland Ken Doll of a hero, though Uma Furman has almost as much spunk as she did in "Kill Bill, Volume 1."

As a John Woo movie, of course the chase scenes are the best part. But the fight scenes are simply perplexing -- uh, why does Affleck's work out consist of electronic samurai stick fighting such that when the poorly-aiming bad guys all come at him with guns Uma throws him a stick to pick them off?

While I did see the movie on a scratchy print with tinny sound, I don't think that explained the confusingly bad continuity in the hair and make-up such that I thought they had been time-traveling at some tropical vacation in between scenes.
51 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
this movie makes no sense.
jiggersplat9 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Contains Spoilers normally, i don't bother with writing reviews online, but this movie has inspired me. it's pure crap. one of the worst movies i've ever seen. it just makes no sense.

first off, this movie is has a major identity problem? is it in the future?

they clearly have technology that doesn't exist, but the feds are still driving lincoln town cars? what gives? and what the hell movie are we watching anyway? minority report? mission impossible 2?

next let's talk about the premise of the movie. you shoot a laser around the universe and it comes back to you, only it brings with it tales of the future. possibly one of the most absurd things i've ever witnessed in a sci-fi movie. okay, so we'll just have to fall back on the old willing suspension of disbelief and enjoy the movie, right?

let's talk about the escape. why on earth did that guy light up a cigarette? he must have known that the smoke detector would go off, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered showing us that scene where ben and the bad guy were smoking cigars. how do sunglasses let you see through a cloud of halon gas? oh well, nevermind all that, just watch the movie and enjoy.

but wait, what about all those things in the envelope. if he could only get common, everyday items out, and they screened all his incoming and outgoing mail HOW THE HELL DID HE MAIL HIMSELF THE SECURITY KEY CARD? and why bother disguising the matches? and the ball bearings? obviously they had planned on using the ball bearings before they were in line at the security check. they could have gotten ball bearings anywhere. he didn't need to mail those. (5 stamps wouldn't have been enough to mail those ball bearings either, nevermind all the other stuff). ah well, i guess ben knows himself better than i do, so let's just assume he knew what he was doing and watch the movie.

which brings me to my next question. why didn't that guy just shoot ben in the train tunnel? oh right, so jon woo could put in his stupid point guns at each other scene. well at least we got that out of the way, right? let's just chalk that one up to self-indulgence on the director's part.

finally, something that makes sense. ben figures out what's going on and decides to destroy the machine. a good idea, given the circumstances. so when he finally gets there, WHY DOES HE START FIXING IT WHEN IT'S ALREADY BROKEN? screw it, it's an action movie, right? just watch and have fun.

so we're down to the last big fight scene. uma cranks up the wind machine while ben uses his mad ninja skills on the bad guys. the bad guys are getting blown around left and right and there faces are all smooshed like they are skydiving, and somehow ben is completely immune to the effect of said wind. more bad physics or has ben mastered some mystical ninja power that makes him immune to wind? why didn't mr. bad guy just shoot ben instead of getting in a fist fight with him? and WHAT GIVES WITH THE DOVE?

lastly, it's going to be awful hard to cash a $90M lotto ticket with the FBI looking for you.

please don't watch this movie.
39 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Entertaining Sci-Fi!
g-bodyl9 July 2010
Paycheck is actually a better movie than I thought it would be. Ben Affleck is not the best actor in the world. I tend to shy away from his movies because they all look bad and they do receive negative reviews. The only movie I have seen with him(other than this one) is Pearl Harbor.

This movie is about a guy whose job is to take other company's technology away from them and use it as his own. But after each job, his memory is erased. But, someone from the past is hunting him and he has no idea why.

I only saw this movie because I am a big fan of the science fiction genre. This is a good movie with plenty of action. I rate this film 8/10.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What More Do We Want!!
sachinsethi-mib201121 November 2011
Yesterday, I saw the movie "Paycheck" and against the so-called rating I found the movie pretty good. This movie has everything that one can expect from a sci-fiction action thriller which carves it way beautifully during its course. The reviews have unnecessarily demeaned and underrated this movie and has spread bad-word which is not at all deserved by the movie.

The movie revolves around a protagonist Micheal Jennings- an reverse engineer(Ben Affleck) who does Technical Jobs for various organizations and whenever he's done with his work, his memory is wiped out within that period and he gets a handsome paycheck in lieu of his services.

The Twist comes in the movie when a billionaire James Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart) offers him a new assignment that would take 2-3 years of his life and memory. The movie comes to a leap where in it has been shown that the assignment is finished and Jennings comes into the real world only to find out that he has given up all of his paycheck in exchange of some offerings i.e 20 Items which would help him in situations to come. The main plot here is that he was working on Machine that enabled him to see his future and he saw that he will be killed by Rethrick. So to survive he beautifully engineers his way out of this situation where FBI, Cops, Rethricks men all are running behind him.

This movie do have some lapses but it scores on strong vision of director, good performances and gripping plot. This is a breathe of fresh air for a sci-fi fan and should be appreciated.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
James Dwan's Paycheck Review
jamesdwan28 January 2004
Set in the near future Ben Affleck stars as Michael Jennings a 'reverse engineer' who hacks into new electronic technologies for rival companies to duplicate. To protect his client's confidentiality Jennings agrees to have his memory erased, but after a highly paid top-secret assignment for the shady James Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart), Jennings is awoken to discover that he has forfeited his paycheck. In return he receives an envelope of seemingly meaningless items, which may well later become integral to his survival. Jennings must discover what he has been working on in the past two years before his memory was erased, and why he's been accused of murder, but time is not on his side, and he must piece together the clues he left for himself before the Feds or his former employer catch up with him.

Paycheck starts promisingly as an intelligent story with intriguing fast-paced action, but unfortunately the chase becomes relentless and the action tedious, as the characters remain underdeveloped and the script underwritten. Based on the work of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, Paycheck doesn't live up to other cinematic adaptations of his works such as Blade Runner or Total Recall, and Dick's warped and paranoid futuristic world is unrealised in John Woo's under-designed future. This film is ultimately a disappointment which falls short of the intriguing story promised by its trailer, but nevertheless it is a better than Affleck's and Woo's respective disappointments with their previous projects Gigli and Windtalkers. On the other hand Uma Thurman has taken a backward step after her success with Kill Bill by playing such as diminutive role as Rachel the 'plant biologist,' even if that is an ass-kicking bitch of a plant biologist.

This film is at times completely unoriginal, borrowing and in some cases completely ripping off other recent films such as Memento, Minority Report and Die Another Day. Paycheck is ultimately rescued by its chase scene into which Woo crams cars, motorbikes, helicopters and a few well placed discarded pipes, topped off with a few explosions Woo shows us why he's still one of the best action directors and although this film isn't bad enough to demand your money back its not one to remember either.

33 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A very underrated and misunderstood movie.
aznraverb0ii7 June 2004
Every movie has flaws so does this. This movie is pretty interesting and is also pretty obvious but it was fun to see how ben affleck uses his items wisely. the action in this was hardly like a john woo movie.

2 people pointing a gun face to face and the Dove thing were the only 2 signatures in the movie. But thats it. I was expecting slow mo or something. But in this there was none.

a very different john woo film and a good sci-fi flick.

This is probably one of the most positive reviews i ever gave to what alot of people call a bad movie.

28 out of 56 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A 100% stinker and silly besides
Paul-2716 November 2005
This is supposed to be some sort of high tension thriller, but it deteriorates into one howler after another due to laughable science, engineering idiocy and plot holes large enough to get the moon through. I watched this movie after the first few minutes more to be amazed at how sloppy the entire thing was than to care about the plot or the dimbulb characters.

Another reviewer said this one was material for MST3K and I agree. I only wish I'd seen it in the company of my daughter so we could have made those 'misty' comments as this loser unfolded. How this one could have escaped into release utterly baffles me. Maybe the makers thought it'd be good fodder for kids looking for a movie they'd not be interested in watching so it'd make a good platform for making out in the theater. That's the only motive I can think of here.
10 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Decent sci-fi action thriller
Tweekums30 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Having enjoyed previous John Woo films and liking science fiction I thought I'd give this film a go, I'm glad that I did as it has a decent, if somewhat far fetched, story and has plenty of action as one would expect from a John Woo film. Like other later John Woo films it is a lot less bloody than his Hong Kong films and his earlier Hollywood films.

Ben Affleck plays Michael Jennings, an engineer who makes a living hiring himself out to companies for a set time then having his memory wiped so that he can't recall any classified information. After one such contract he is shocked to find that before having his memory wiped he had declined his payment of almost $100,000,000 he has no idea why he would do something so insane, nor does he know why he has an envelope which appears to contain junk rather than the personal items he was expecting to get back. Before he has time to figure out what is going on he finds himself in FBI custody. He manages to escape though using some of the apparent junk in the envelope. He still doesn't know why he is being chased or how he knew what to give himself. As he struggles to come to terms with what is going on he meets up with the girl friend he has forgotten about and teams up with her to return to the site where he'd been working.

As one would expect from a John Woo film the action is done in a very stylish way, the acting is also decent. There where a few parts I wasn't so keen on; during the main fight seen a robotic arm is used to disarm an assailant in an overly cute way and the final scene seems tacked on and unnecessary. Over all though its an exciting film that can be watched by most ages.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great sci-fi plot set-up becomes routine action film
a_chinn5 November 2017
Ben Affleck and John Woo basically do a sci-fi version of The Bourne Identify. Loosely based on a Phillip K. Dick story, Affleck plays a computer engineer who willingly has his memory erased to prevent him from sharing trade secrets, but after he's done working on the secret project he finds that he left himself a mysterious envelope with 20 seemingly random objects that are actually clues about his memory-wiped past. It's a decent set-up worthy of a Phillip K. Dick story, but the film quickly devolves into a series of entertaining if forgettable gunfights and chase sequences. Affleck makes a subpar action hero and his attempts at martial arts pale when compared to his buddy Matt Damon's work as Jason Bourne. Woo provides plenty of his usual slow motion gunfights, dramatic zooms, doves, and Mexican standoffs, although he also still has his penchant for overly dramatic of performances, which seem out of place in English language films. Production values and special effects are solid and outside of the wooden Affleck, the film boasts a strong cast the includes Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, and Joe Morton. Overall, "Paycheck" is never boring and had a story with real potential ("Memento" meets "Total Recall"), but is squandered by a poor lead performance by Affleck and what is ultimately one long forgettable chase.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I should get a "Paycheck" for making it through this movie.
TheSteak0021 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers

Johnny Mnemonic meets Minority Report minus any redeeming qualities either movie had.

I just saw `Paycheck' two days ago and I'd love to have it wiped from my memory (like they do in the movie). The movie is basically about a reverse engineer that's contracted to find secrets in competitor's technologies. Then Affleck (the reverse engineer) is hired for a top-secret assignment and when he's finished his memory is wiped clean. After he remembers nothing he's being chased by everyone and he can't remember why. Ok, the movie NEVER explains Ben Affleck's character! They make him out to be the smartest person in the world that every company needs to build them something. They stick in a random scene (looked like a Daredevil outtake) of him stick-fighting in a gym to give him some credibility when the action starts. So now he's the smartest guy in the world, and he fights like a superhero. So aside from not explaining anything, the movie is so far fetched and ridiculous at times it's funny. Last but not least, I figured I'd be ok since John Woo directed this movie. Boy was I wrong. The action was weak, very little gunplay, although the chase scene was decent. With all of John Woo's trademarks this movie had nothing. no good gun fights, no dramatic slow-motion shots, no flying boats, no action. Although there was the slow-motion shot of the birds flying towards the camera. This movie is not worth the price of admission.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dumb premise, bad acting, good suspense
segacs6 February 2005
Paycheck requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. That's for starters. It also requires tolerating Ben Affleck in one of his worst performances for a couple of hours.

Still cool with that? Then this isn't a terrible movie. It's got tight pacing, good suspense, and it moves faster than a roller coaster. It's easy to get caught up in the cat-and-mouse game that Affleck's character leaves for himself.

If you're like me, though, you'll probably be yelling at the writers for hours afterwards about all the pointless plot holes that are at least the size of the Grand Canyon. Really, this is dumb, brainless entertainment, and there are a lot of entertaining films out there that are also good. This isn't one of them.
17 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A bad, uninspired movie
freemantle_uk10 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Paycheck is a very poor film. It has a weak story and was poorly written and plotted. It also has unremarkable actor, direction or action. Paycheck is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. Some of his stories have turned into good films such as Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report, but also some turkeys have also been made like Next and this film. I have only read one Philip K. Dick novel, The Man in the High Castle, which was a good read.

The story of Paycheck is Michael Jenkins (Ben Affleck), is an engineer and offered the chance to work on a secret project for millions of dollars. However, after the project his memory is erased and insert of leaving himself money he leaves an envelope of random object and he has to figure out what they mean. This first problem with the film was that Jenkins was working a machine that could see into the future and he used it to see into his future and therefore the audiences knows he is in no real danger. The second problem is that is there is no explanation throughout the film. In the film they show that in the future there was going to be a war between a multi-national company and the United States. There is no reason to this or any other plans from the villains which leaves massive plot holes. An good writer would have learnt not to do this from day one. John Woo was also a poor choice to direct this film. Ridley Scott, Paul Verhoeven and Steven Spielberg all had grant epic visions about the world Dick would have set his books, whilst Woo choose to set the film in a contemporary world that did not fit with the story. The sci-fi element was played down, but the action in the film was poor, which was Woo's speciality. Woo hasn't made a good film since Face/off in 1997. The casting was also poor for this film. Ben Affleck is a poor actor and I have enjoyed watching his acting career decline from Armageddon to Pearl Harbour, to Daredevil, to Jersey Girl and Smoking Aces'. He has now turned to directing which will be interesting. Uma Thurman was pregnant during filming and this was clear. She is also a very hit-and-miss actress and I believe that it was only Quentin Tarantino that has got the best out of her. Paul Giamatti was also added to film just for comedic relief which most of his roles then to be.

It just best to avoiding watching this movie. It will just leave you feeling frustrated.
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Paycheck for Affleck
piablodiablo9 January 2004
One star is kind. Cliche stunts,improbable technology, bad acting and a lack of a decent plot.This is some of the worst screen writing to make it to a big budget picture in sometime. Don't miss this one if you are into Hollywood moments and dialogue that will make you toss popcorn. I am glad I was "at work" when I saw this matinee otherwise it would have been a total lost. I bet Affleck wishes they could erase his memory for the past year for making stinkers like this and Gigli. If you're a Philip Dick fan than this movie isn't for you either as this is the worst adaptation of one of his stories. What was Affleck's paycheck? Go back to doing Kevin Smith movies at least you were supposed to be funny.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Piece of junk
froboz7 July 2004
This movie starts promising. In the end it is a piece of junk you'd rather have missed. Philip K Dick is good material for movies, no problem there. Sadly enough there's still no movie that does him justice. But that's okay, as long as you get something to chew on. No, the problem here is the most tedious directorship of all time.

John Woo is not without talent. I rather enjoyed Face Off. But here he is completely one-dimensional. Through camera movements and surely much too much time allowed in the cutting room, he is taking the viewer on a leash. Watch this, now close in on that. Now jump through the hoops of these dozen quick cuts to see the motorbike chase. It's the kind of thing other directors use for at most four seconds, in the culmination of an action scene. John Woo uses it continuously, making the most unwatchable movie in history. He has lost the viewer long ago, but continues pumping in dramatic music, well-balanced camera movements from both left and right, cuts, cuts and cuts... He should go look at some good movies to learn a thing or too.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
karskrazy11 January 2004
I have watched tons of movies in my life, both good, bad, in between, and this one, at it's very best is in between. I saw this movie at the 10 PM showing at our local theater tonight along with my wife, and maybe at the very most, 15 other people and not counting the one couple that left out in the first 20 min of the movie saying what a yuk movie. Those two things should have told me something right there!! I can really say this is one of the most boring and dull movies I have seen lately to be a so called Action movie. It did indeed have a few minutes of actual very exciting chase scenes that could actually make you think it truly was an action type film in those precious few minutes, but it was short lived and so late in coming it was too late to salvage the boring beginning of the story. I actually had to nudge my wife several times during this movie just to keep her awake long enough to know anything about what was going on in this complicated nightmare of an action movie. That itself is indeed a very rare occurrence, as she loves movies as much as I do and unless a movie is absolutely terrible would never doze off in a movie. I am also not going to be a Ben basher, but I must say this is not a movie seemed to really be best suited for him as the leading role. He just seems to lack the excitement of a true action actor. Uma was also a really bad choice as well for the leading lady for this movie in my opinion. Her face looked like it had been cooked in a deep fryer around her cheek area and she looked like she was about 15-20 years too old for the part. What was up with all that? I hardly even recognized her at the first of the movie, had it not been for the short blonde straggly hair and her voice. This movie really was so boring during the first half of the movie that most people would have been asleep by the time the real good stuff even started, what little of it there even was of it. I kept thinking it was going to improve early but it was almost to the end of the movie before anything of notable mention even began to transpire. I really wished several times during the movie I had made a different choice for a flick to see for my weekend out, but maybe next time I will not go with my instinct to see an action movie just because it was played up to be just that. Like I said before, save your money on this loser and wait until it hits the cable box and don't even waste the cost of a PPV, as it won't be a long-lived feature there either. At it's very best I would rate this movie a 4 out of 10. Kars
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed