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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.
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.
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…
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*
Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) is a top-notch reverse engineer. Corporations pay him to crack the secrets of their competitors' products. When the job is done, he has his memory of it erased. Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart), head of a company called Allcom, hires Jennings to reverse-engineer a secret government device. After the job, Jennings wakes from the memory erasure to find himself being chased by various agencies. He soon realizes that the fate of the entire world may be in his hands.
This movie came out in 2003, but really feels like 1991 for some reason.
At the end of this movie everyone is happy because it's over. The pain is finally done.
I haven't even watched this film but the UK DVD release has blue cover art so shiny and chrome I think I've gone colour-blind
Batman and Poison Ivy fight Two-Face.
A Hitchcockian thriller on narrative machinery that is often too clever for its own good and never quite manage to exist beyond an exercise. Much like Spielberg’s Minority Report and McTiernan’s Basic it is a bit too literal too pull what it is going for. Still, this last Woo American film is better than I remember and shows him trying a hand on different register of action with success.
An old school action packed movie. Old school as in too much 90's, too much John Woo and too boring. I really live Uma Thurman, but she sucks soo much in this one! I couldn't even believe my eyes on how two dimensional and silly she was. And there's a character that is short and weirdo, and a sort of sidekick ( Giamati) that's called Shorty! Why? The other guys are also two dimensional (not as bad as Thurman).
The premise is ok but not even my love for "time travel" related stuff could save this movie.
Despite its decently entertaining visuals and action sequences, and a slightly interesting premise, the actual plot to Paycheck is cheesy, formulaic, even somewhat convoluted with uninteresting characters and a talented cast working with a very bizarre script resulting in a mostly underwhelming sci-fi thriller that just doesn't live up to its potential. John Woo could've honestly done a much better job with this, in my opinion.
All the films mentioned by name in Kim Newman's definitive encyclopedia of horror films, Nightmare Movies. Well worth a read.…
I'm trying to create a full list of the subgenres. Cyberpunk can best be defined as high tech meets low…