Watched May 11, 2012
Tony Black’s review:
That's a 'twofer' today then on brainless adaptations of inventive source material from brilliant sci-fi writers. And much as Philip K Dick doesn't need to spin in his grave with Paycheck like William Gibson has probably spun on his axis for Johnny Mnemonic, it still makes me wonder how such a celebrated scribe can have his ingenious ideas so completely arsed up by a more than competent cast and a director in John Woo who is capable of far, far better work than is displayed here.
I described it above as brainless, and that is truly born out by some of the thuddingly stupid decisions Woo and the script makes in the name of spinning the wheels of narrative. Case in point: Ben Affleck's dial-tone lead Michael escapes from FBI custody when Joe 'I'm too good an actor for this shit' Morton's agent sets off--wait for it--a smoke alarm. Yes, it just takes the idiocy of an FBI agent lighting a cigarette to trigger one of the most implausible escapes committed to celluloid. That's the level of dumb we're dealing with, and it gets little better from there - its interesting early ideas about subscribed memory erasing thrown aside in favour of a bland, routine chase thriller so Woo can throw Affleck and Uma Thurman (wasted in a pointless role) on a back of, you guessed it, a speeding motorbike. Oh John, where are the slo-mo doves? Don't you have any new tricks? He wastes a decent cast around them too - Aaron Eckhart, Colm Feore, Michael C Hall, Paul Giamatti, all phoning it in for the most part.
A stupid movie, then, but one lacking even that entertainment factor that can make you love a poorly made piece of work. Points basically for a decent first 20 minutes and the fact it came from Dick, a genius who deserves far better than this offal staining his epitaph.