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…
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*
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.
A John Woo directed scifi Hitchcock movie sounds like a great idea. No wait. It sounds like a terrible idea.
This movie features everything I hate about Woo's Hollywood films: ostentatious camera movement, mannered performances, and a nonsensical plot. Woo pulls out his complete bag of tricks, including multiple contrazoom shots within minutes of each other, which should probably be illegal somehow, or at least evidence of gross incompetence. There is the most ludicrously staged car chase I've ever seen. The climax of the movie is 20 minutes of nonsense action and explosions and loud noises where no one feels like they're in any danger at all. This movie is terrible in so many ways.
That's not what I thought of, not a good thriller movie. One time watch movie, that will be not in my mind for a long time
I was not impressed. The idea behind the film is intriguing and could have been clever, but this failed to pull it off.
The characters weren't horrible, but they were fairly bland. The plot had potential, but they stuck with something really simple (not a bad thing, per se, but it didn't leave any lasting impression on me) and didn't explore everything they could have. Exposition felt really slow and there was a lot throughout the movie that could have been left out and the story would have stood up perfectly.
If you have nothing else to do, this is a mildly entertaining film, but I would not highly recommend it.
pay me back my wasted time
As always with John Woo, the action is great. There are some cool looking action sequences, e.g. a well choreographed pursuit. The acting on the other hand was more than lacking. I was not surprised at all, when i found out that Ben Affleck won a Razzie for his performance in this film. Generally an enjoyable action flick though, but I don't plan on watching it ever again.
I love Philip K. Dick. (Yes, Beavis, I love Dick.)
And I love how a solid Philip K. Dick story idea can even get me to like a John Woo movie.
Ben Affleck's performance here has convinced me that I'm going to really enjoy his turn as Batman.
Some explosions and a twist can make the shittiest movie better apparently.
i love this sorta movie and it seems like a better johnny mnemonic?? either way sci-fi futuristic thrillers are my thing i loved it all, uma thurman is so amazing and ben affleck *licking emojis* noiceee
Very interesting plot, based on a Philip K. Dick story. But it lacks the futuristic approach of Blade Runner and Minority Report.
my personal ranking of all of ben's films as an actor (not based on performance)!
*i still have three movies…
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