All the films mentioned by name in Kim Newman's definitive encyclopedia of horror films, Nightmare Movies. Well worth a read.…
Remember the future.
Michael Jennings is a genius who's hired -- and paid handsomely -- by high-tech firms to work on highly sensitive projects, after which his short-term memory is erased so he's incapable of breaching security. But at the end of a three-year job, he's told he isn't getting a paycheck and instead receives a mysterious envelope. In it are clues he must piece together to find out why he wasn't paid … and how he's gotten in hot water.
A slick and twisty sci-fi thriller, John Woo's "Paycheck" entertains despite never quite fulfilling the promise of its premise. A muscular, somewhat mind-bending future tale, Woo's film makes for a swift and solid genre experience.
Built around Ben Affleck's Michael Jennings, the film follows as a perilous job assignment puts Jennings' life, not to mention the fate of the world, in jeopardy. Future-reading technology, erased memories, and other science fiction skullduggery fill out a plot that compels. The story may be more set-up than fully explored narrative, but it clicks regardless of its empty center.
Woo's direction pops with energy, and the production gleams with a shiny aesthetic exterior. Action beats propel the film forward; they are muscular, lean, and…
This one's finally starting to click for me a little. Woo's oft-stated love of Hitchcock manifests here with a literal bag full of setups to pay off. It's basically an excuse to move from one puzzle scenario to the next, at its best sort of a feature-length version of the mall chase in MINORITY REPORT. My main issue with it still stands, though: it looks cheap, like it was shot in a convention center in Vancouver or something, and I still think the editing is frequently arrhythmic by Woo's standards, cut for narrative clarity rather than visceral impact. But it's packed with trademark grace notes like a bead of sweat bouncing off a bullet in slow motion, or those patented spontaneous releases of kinetic energy like a guy getting launched into the air by an errant shotgun blast.
Dumber than a bag of rocks, and easily the weakest of John Woo’s American films, but contains a bunch of indelible images (e.g. Uma Thurman impostor reflected in the lid of creamer pot) and enough Hitchcock-isms to make Brian De Palma shit his pants.
Have no idea why this is so disliked. It's a perfectly fine cheap riff on Minority Report (another Philip K. Dick adaptation that was released a year and a half earlier). The genre is an odd fit for John Woo (he looks backward, not forward, and thus is not a natural for sci-fi), but he adds a privileged moment here or there and the car chase has a tangible sense of speed. Ben Affleck makes a terrific empty suit and watching him figure out his bag of tricks is a lot of fun. Paul Giamatti comes and goes too easily, the city is clearly Vancouver and not Seattle and I have no idea what's going on with Uma Thurman, but…
Despite its story being both its greatest strength and greatest weakness, Paycheck is a sleek-looking, thrilling, and highly enjoyable sci-fi action thriller with slick, stylish, and energetic direction from John Woo, entertaining action sequences, strong performances from a great cast, an intriguing premise, and snappy pacing.
Me watching this movie:
"I don't quite get what's going-- ohhhhh..."
"Hey, its Dexter!"
"Wait, what? Oh, now I get it...."
"Hold on, what in the fuck?!"
"Oh, its that thing he had and that other thing he had and next he'll use that other thing he has. "
*Predicts rest of plot with 90% accuracy*
*Calls friend and verbally assaults him for recommending this film*
How is this even more of a mixed bag than Carrie? So crazy how a film can do something amazing one minute and turn around and do something completely terrible the next.
bruce wayne looks good here
Is Ben Affleck made out of plastic? It looks like it in this film. Ken looking for his Barbie. But he plays a whiz kid engineer who gets hired by companies to do sneaky ripping off of other people’s ideas and then he has his memory wiped, presumably so that he doesn’t steal the ideas he has come up with off the company...but as they patent them does that make any sense? But I hate plot pedants so let’s ignore that. And he gets a big 3 year job and gets his memory wiped and the F.B.I. are after him and the company he worked for are trying to kill him...there is a big clever plot idea but more importantly…
Oh, now I understand why John Woo went back to work in China.
If it's hilariously derivative of at least a dozen major action/sci-fi movies in content (fun game is counting all the movies it rips off), it's 100% Woo in form and style. His fluidity and rhythm are just as good here as in Hardboiled, though that movie is a masterpiece and this is just fun. Silly (so, so silly) but not so stupid. And the scene of Affleck meeting the doppelgänger is 👍
i love John Woo
Good cast with safe performances and Hitchcock overloads. John Woo at his weakest.
At some point, Ben Affleck gets involved with some lady named Dunne! I'm glad he later forgot about it and fell for Uma Thurman.
Brilliant puzzle movie, Total Recall meets Memento. Uma Thurman is hot! Loved it.