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3.9 out of 5 stars60
3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 April 2013
Paycheck is another one in a long line of films e.g Minority Report, Total Recall or Blade Runner etc... based on a short story by Philip K.Dick. In this outing sometime in a not too distant future, we follow reverse engineer Micheal Jennings (Affleck) whose job it is to take current technological idea's from whomever and improve upon them to make them better for his employer. Hired by old friend James Rethrick (Eckhart) who is a CEO of a huge technology firm called Allcom, Jennings trades 3 years of his life to work on a project for them, then have his memory wiped, in return for millions of dollars in company shares. Bam! 3 years pass in a few minutes & Jennings is off to the bank, where he finds he has forfeited his shares & in return he receives an vanilla envelope from his past self containing several random items. Returning home he is captured by the FBI for treason, and escaping using the items in the envelope whch turn out to help him on the way, he must go on the run & uncover what has happened & what he helped build.

Overall Paycheck is an entertaining sci-fi thriller with plenty of slick action, suspense & intrigue, with a love story & humor all mixed in covering many bases. The story is refreshing, different & draws you into a well paced film with a strong cast. Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting) whose in pretty much every scene handles the combination of intellect & being able to handle himself in a fight well. Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) has a good rapport with Affleck & the love story between them is made more believable because of it. She may not come across as believable as a scientist, and the scene with the double was silly as Uma has a unique look, but she excelled equally to Affleck handling the transition from nerdy scientist to kicking ass just as naturally. No doubt she was picked for this role on the former & latter. Aaron Eckhart (Battle: Los Angeles ) is great as the smart underhanded CEO, but demanded a bit more screen time, while his slimy lackey Colm Feore (The Chronicles Of Riddick) whose the hound after Affleck is perfect in another of his usual baddie roles. Likewise Joe Morton (A Town Called Eureka) as the hard exterior FBI agent with a soft spot. And Paul Giamatti (Sideways) is smartly cast as Shorty, the comedy relief friend who drifts in & out just at the right moments to add a little bit of humor to uplift the proceedings.

In conclusion, Paycheck may not be everyone's cup of tea if you have hang up's on the story concept or can't abide seeing Ben Affleck for almost every frame. But i always have time for it as i know it's going to entertain me no matter how many times iv'e seen it. Recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 August 2015
Although John Woo’s film may have originated from a Philip K Dick short story this is really an action movie with a futuristic twist rather than a SF action movie. Had I realised this I may not have watched the movie in the first place, although the initial premise is intriguing. Ben Affleck plays Michael Jennings, a brilliant engineer who hires himself out to companies where he proceeds to reverse-engineer new computer breakthroughs where he dissembles seemingly impenetrable codes (thereby sidestepping copyright infringements) and recreates the technology, often with significant and profitable improvements. In order to protect his clients' intellectual property and himself, Jennings undertakes a memory wipe to remove knowledge of his engineering, resulting in a memory gap of several weeks and a large paycheck. However, a three-year contract with Aaron Eckhart’s Allcom technology company may be a memory wipe too far as the promised $92 million paycheck fails to materialise at the end of his contract and all he has is a manila envelope containing 19 mundane objects. What follows is a Hitchcockian romp with Bourne-esqe vehicle chases, martial-arts fight sequences with Mexican standoffs and explosions aplenty as Jennings attempts to decipher the purpose of the objects whilst being pursued by the FBI and Allcom’s henchmen. There are some good actors present here but the lamentable screenplay presents them as mere marionettes uttering inane dialogue and occasional lame humorous comments. Because of the SF input, the movie is not quite mindless nonsense and it is probably a film to watch if it is screened on television.
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on 8 September 2005
Paycheck is (another film) based on a on a Philip K. Dick short story. The story (or at least the central idea behind the story) is strong: it follows an engineer (played by Ben Affleck) who works on secret projects and after he has completed the work he has his memory wiped. He takes a job which involves a phone number pay check and a couple of lost years. When he returns to the 'real' world he finds himself in great danger with only a set of seemingly innocuous items he has mailed himself for protection.
This first half hour is strong and well handled, in particular the scenes that involve the engineer being placed in jeopardy and extricating himself with seemingly useless items are very well done. However, after the strong start the film loses its way. Once the conspiracy is revealed it simply heads for the conclusion at breakneck speed via a series of action set-pieces. In my opinion, the best Philip K. Dick adaptations (e.g. Blade Runner) explore the themes of book but Paycheck simply falls back on a set of well-handled but ultimately formulaic action sequences. Quite enjoyable in a rather mindless way but much of it is unbelievable (a ninja engineer and a kung-fu botanist?!?) and a number of inconsistencies to creep in which detract from the film.
Another problem is that rhe casting never quite works: Ben Affleck is OK but playing an amnesiac leads to inevitable and unfavourable comparisons with Matt Damon in the Bourne films. Uma Thurman, who plays the botanist love interest, can be excellent but this is not one of her better performances, she seems oddly disinterested and often appears to be just going through the motions. The supporting cast are all competent but none are outstanding.
I enjoyed the movie, but after the first half an hour I had to switch my brain off. The real disappointment is that it could have been so much better.
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on 15 January 2014
Jennings is an engineer who works for a company and uses their rivals' technology, alters it slightly, and has his memory wiped after each job.

When he is offered a job by James Rethrick, he is told that the job will take three years and his mind will be wiped afterwords. Against the advice of his friend Shorty, he takes the job.

When his mind is wiped, he heads to the bank to collect fee, it turns out that during the erased three years, he signed the money away and exchanged it for a group of nineteen seemingly worthless items.

Then, his efforts are to uncover the secret of just what he was working on, what the items are for, evading arrest, and exploring his relationship with Rachel, a scientist, who is a vital part of triggering what is left of the scraps of memory left to him....

The first thing you notice about this movie, is that present Affleck seems a lot more stupid than erased Affleck, he carries around a bag of tricks and stares at them for long durations of time.

Then you have to imagine that Woo, and even K. Dick had nothing to do with this, then you can kind of enjoy this throwaway piece of garbage.

The main problem is, is that it gets bogged down in its own smugness, and we are left to scenes of Affleck and Thurman being chased on foot, bike, whatever.

It's never that exciting, and coming from the man who gave us some of the best action movies ever made, it really affects the overall outcome of the film.

Affleck is okay, and Giamatti adds the acting chops, but it feels a little too Mnemonic to me.
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The concept of reverse engineering is carried out all the time and warping space time is theoretically possible and these ideas are cleverly dealt with in this film but it could have been so much better , there were unnecessary car chases involving helicopters and motorbikes and you tended to loose the thread of what was actually going on because of the padding. If more attention had been devoted to the science rather than the spectacular it would have been a much more worthwhile and rewarding film. Car chases and violence in films is so common now that directors regard it as "De Rigueur" although there are many of us , me included , who find the proliferation of these traits boring. They ought to pay more attention to what the film is trying to say and stop trying to impress us with expensive and pointless padding.
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on 13 July 2004
This movie clearly reflects the characteristics of its director John Woo. I would define it as "Mission Impossible" meets James Bond, and as happens in these productions, the creator of "Paycheck" goes overboard in a couple of scenes making them extremely unbelievable. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining film, which ended up being more fulfilling than I had expected, since the plot is considerably better than other action-packed films out there.
Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) is specialized in reverse engineering and his job consists in working non-stop for several weeks in each project he faces. Upon completion, he gets his money and his memory of that time interval is erased. The longest Michael has worked on a project is two months, but now his boss entices him to work on a three-year project. The bait is an eight-figure remuneration. Of course Michael has doubts, but the offer is too tempting for him to pass. By the time he finishes the project, he gets his one big paycheck in exchange for three years of his life: close to one hundred million dollars.
Michael gets a huge surprise though, when he finds out from his attorney that he has forfeited the portfolio and that the only possessions to recover are a set of items in an envelope at the attorney's office. Michael sent these items to himself, and they all look worthless; the list includes a can of hair spray, a pair of glasses, a book of matches, a bullet, a lighter, a watch and several other little an seemingly unimportant personal effects. When the FBI comes after him, Michael realizes that there is something wrong and that the items he sent to himself are meant to help him solve the mystery and keep him alive.
Even though I am not a big fan of Ben Affleck, I think he does a good job in this movie and that he fits his role very well. I am a fan of Uma Thurman though, who in the film plays the part of Dr. Porter, a lady that captivated Michael since he met her and who also works for Michael's boss. As usual, Thurman's performance is convincing and shows the passion she puts in her work. This is a good movie for spending a couple of hours entertained, but it is not one I would enjoy seeing repeatedly.
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on 8 January 2015
awesome! watching this classic in Blu-ray rejuvenated the pleasure generated by this John Woo's great movie, ok ok we can now notice the slightly "tired" eyes of Uma, but I'd say she's even more sensual and lovely with tiny wrinkles. more human. I had forgotten Dexter's role in the movie, funny too! I'm so happy I bought it.
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on 16 January 2014
In view of the great cast, I found this movie disappointing. I know it is categorized as sci-fi, but the storyline was so far fetched that the ridiculous idea behind it made me lose all interest in the plot .... Had to force myself to watch it through to the end.
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Having John Woo direct "Paycheck" was a big mistake because forcing this film, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, into a "Mission: Impossible" type movie was the wrong move to make. But after "Bladerunner" and "Minority Report" Hollywood apparently cannot conceive of doing one of Dick's imaginative science fiction stories as anything other than an action film. Of course, look at the travesty they have planned for Issac Asimov's "I Robot" with its killer robots violating the First Law and I guess we should not be surprised.
There is a major surprise in this film set up by the trailer, which introduces Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck), a brilliant scientist of some sort who does ultra secret jobs, gets his mind blanked for the period he worked, and then picks up a paycheck. However, after his biggest job instead of a multi-million dollar paycheck he discovers that he has sent himself an envelope with 20 objects that he has never seen before (okay, he has seen them, he just does not remember any of them). The inference in the trailer is that these are clues as to what he did and why he would give up the biggest paycheck of all. It has to be something pretty big and pretty bad to give up all that money. Chase scenes and fights are tangential to that and not all that impressive (the point of a motorcycle is not speed but manuverability, but apparently Jennings is not smart enough to know that and take advantage of it).
But to get back to the crux of the problem with this 2003 film, those items are not clues but something more interesting that should have been the driving force of this story. On the off chance that has not been given away already by what you have seen and heard about "Paycheck" I will refrain from saying more, because when I picked up on what was really happening was when I really got interested in this film. But Woo focuses on the physical rather than the cerebral and this film jumps off the tracks. You know things are just plain wrong when the best moves in an action film are done by a robotic machine.
Ultimately, "Paycheck" reminds me of the few computer games I have played in the past such as "Phantasmagoria" and "Gabriel Knight," and I was excited by that idea. This film needed to be more like "Memento," where the emphasis is on being clever instead of dumbing everything down to action sequences that are decidedly unimpressive. There are some great ideas at the heart of this movie but they were quickly forgotten and buried beneath substandard Hollywood schlock. Besides, after the "Kill Bill" films it is hard to see Uma Thurman playing a relatively ordinary woman. But the main thing here is that once again Hollywood has taken a pretty good idea and thrown it away.
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on 14 March 2015
Bought this for Husband. I rather enjoyed it too. Not my normal sort of movie but it passed a wet Sunday afternoon very nicely. Will probably watch it again sometime too.
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