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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT TOOK ME BY SURPRISE!
Every now and then a movie passes by me and I totally dismiss it out of lack of interest. Paycheck was one of those. When it was first released, It didn't sound all that great, so I ignored it. Then by chance I came across a DVD of this movie and decided to watch it. What a surprise! This is now one of my favorite sci-fi movies. Had I known that it was based on a short...
Published on October 17, 2004 by Redbird

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good sci fi-action flick
Paycheck is a pretty good scifi/action movie if you can turn off the logical part of your brain and ignore plot contrivances and bad guys that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn when they shoot. I'm like anybody else in that I wish Hollywood would do better, but until they do, I enjoyed this movie. Ben Affleck plays an engineer who takes jobs that result in him having...
Published on June 1, 2005 by Christopher Hivner


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT TOOK ME BY SURPRISE!, October 17, 2004
By 
Redbird "Love Mother Earth" (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
Every now and then a movie passes by me and I totally dismiss it out of lack of interest. Paycheck was one of those. When it was first released, It didn't sound all that great, so I ignored it. Then by chance I came across a DVD of this movie and decided to watch it. What a surprise! This is now one of my favorite sci-fi movies. Had I known that it was based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, I might have paid more attention to begin with. Especially since he was the author of Minority report and Blade Runner (under the written title of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"). One of the most outstanding things about this film is that there is no bloody gore, no sex, and not a lot of strong language. It is very fast paced, filled with action and suspense, great acting, and includes some of todays finest actors. I thought it one of Uma Thurman's best performances, and Ben Afflick was at his best. I would highly recommend this DVD (which also has some great bonus materials) to anyone who is a Sci-fi fan and loves action movies, because it is both. An excellent movie!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paycheck- Mostly Enjoyable, December 30, 2003
By 
Daniel K. (Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
Paycheck, the new sci-fi action thriller from John Woo delivers some great action and entertains on a high scale. Ben Affleck is better, (eagerly trying to redeem himself after the huge debacle of Gigli). Uma Thurman does just fine and Joe Morton and Paul Giamatti shine.
Now the premise of this film might throw you off, but it shouldn't. Knowing that this film is based on the work of Philip K. Dick who wrote Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall you can expect something new. The film while similar to The Bourne Identity definetly has its differences. In fact, Matt Damon was originally offered the lead role in Paycheck but he declined because he said it was too similar to his role in The Bourne Identity.
Essentially, Affleck plays Mike Jennings, a big computer engineer. His clever mind has enabled him to make a new program. Mike is soon offered a huge job offer by his good friend Jimmy Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart). After he's done the job he gets a huge paycheck, hence the title of the film. But his memory but be erased, and so he'll have no recollection of what his job was, since it is very secretive and confidential. After his memory is erased he soon learns he has a girlfriend, played by Uma Thurman. She along with his good friend Shorty played nicely by Paul Giamatti are the only ones he can trust.
Though the movie isn't as predictable as it may seem, it does build up with some suspense. And as I stated earlier it delivers with the typical action of a John Woo flick. From here we get a great BMW motorcycle chase, (similar to M:I-2, though it's hard to say which was better) along with some other action sequences.
Paycheck is rated PG-13 for Intense Action Violence and Brief Language. The violences includes mainly gunplay, fistfights and explosions. Language is extremely mild. There's
also some sexual innuendo, but not explicit. All in all, a good movie to see over the holiday. Worth viewing in theatres and possibly owning on video or DVD.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun & action packed, January 3, 2007
By 
Eric Townsend "Eric Townsend" (Post Falls, ID United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I think people are being too critical of this film. It is very fun, and I thought it had a clever story line. You will be on the edge of your seat with it. If you watch this movie with the intent of entertainment, then you will really enjoy it. Just don't try and over analyze the science depicted; remember, it is just for fun. At the price Amazon has it for, it is worth owning if you are a movie collector.

The audio/video quality is very good too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pay no attention to the NaySayers, October 22, 2004
It seems this film's reputation may be suffering from incorrect genre identification. This is an ACTION drama with a futuristic twist. John Woo says the original story was SciFi, but he took "80% of that out" so he could make a more believable movie. (Perhaps it would've received kinder reviews if he'd left more in.) The characters ARE developed well enough to create interest & empathy. Perhaps not successful as SciFi, "Paycheck" is a decent action flick.

The actors all do an excellent job of staying real & interesting, but nobody goes over the top. Woo intentionally spreads the focus among the ensemble rather than making another Star-Driven vehicle. Oh, there are stars, and the villains do get edgy for sure; but there are no scene-stealing overacted performances. That's just fine - some of us just do not need to be visually assaulted by acting style in order to enjoy a performance. Ben Affleck continues in his understated 'regular guy' mode. Uma Thurman, fresh from her 'Kill Bill' gig, looks smart & tough, and that's exactly how she acts. If anybody in this cast does a very polished job with the action itself, it's her - BUT it's very believable & in character. She just may have become THE leading lady for sincere & skilled action. The supporting cast is excellent, the action is generally slugfest 'NFL' style instead of 'martial arts masters', and the principals do most of their own stunts.

The premise is handled in a believable way (much better than the typical time-travel stories which unravel) with well done tech-FX. Chases, explosions & other stunts abound, but don't overpower the story. The action is REAL live action, mercifully not blue-screen CGI overdone to death. (OK, there are 1 too many "mexican standoffs.")

The characters actually develop & portray relationships that don't require a lot of screaming, cursing & nudity to convey. Wow. Some of us LIKE that. John Woo did it that way on purpose, with homage/respect (= PROPS) to great films & directors who created memorable classics that way. It even bears repeated viewings. Hmm, wish there was a genre for THAT.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected., June 16, 2005
By 
SRFireside "ZOOM!" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
It's funny how great ideas can come from the most unexpected places. John Woo is known for his high-energy action films and not for innovative science fiction. Paycheck delivers on the latter, but in a smaller dose. It's more an action/suspense movie anyway, but if you focus on what the movie is you will end up pleasantly surprised by what it turns into later on.

The plot is an interesting twist on the whole man-on-the-run type theme we have seen in movies like Minority Report. And like Minority Report it delves into seeing into the future. Thankfully the similarities stop at the future seeing and hero chasing elements. While the theme is rather simple and even derivative the details around it make for an interesting show. Having our hero not know what he did for the past three years and only having a pocket full of items he left himself is a nice touch, even if the previews made it sound better than that. While the execution of the script is all well and good you don't get to the really good stuff until further into the film when Ben Afleck finds out why he is in trouble to begin with. Not only does this become a fascinating plot twist it makes the entire movie come together as an innovative story.

This being a John Woo movie I am sure many of you are expecting lots and lots of action. Well it's not a full throttle John Woo movie in the action department. Don't get me wrong. There is a really exciting motorcycle chase scene and near the end you get a sweet fight sequence. There just isn't as much action in Paycheck as there are in Woo's other films. That's actually a good thing since you get more background into the story itself that wouldn't be there.

There is one thing that sticks to my craw about this movie and that's Ben Afleck. Don't get me wrong. I think he did do this role well... technically. It's just I didn't feel drawn into the character at all. I wasn't convinced I was seeing Mike Jennings struggling through his predicament, just Ben Afleck. Uma and the rest did a fine job though. Sorry Ben. Technically speaking the movie is tight and you get some dynamic camera angles as well as some other neat cinematography tricks. It all makes the movie quite stylish, which seems to be another of john Woo's trademarks.

Paycheck has elements in it that make it a truly fascinating movie, but you have to wait for it. For those of you who enjoy a good time paradox story I believe the wait is worth it. If you can get past that (as well as Ben Afleck's average performance) then you should be able to get the most out of Paycheck.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good sci fi-action flick, June 1, 2005
By 
Paycheck is a pretty good scifi/action movie if you can turn off the logical part of your brain and ignore plot contrivances and bad guys that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn when they shoot. I'm like anybody else in that I wish Hollywood would do better, but until they do, I enjoyed this movie. Ben Affleck plays an engineer who takes jobs that result in him having his memory of what he did erased at the end. He takes on a 3 year project for an old friend thinking of the massive payday when its over. When the project is over he discovers he has signed away his rights to the money and left himself an envelope of seemingly useless objects instead. He uses the objects to piece togeher the mystery of just what he did for the last 3 years. The movie is at its best in the first half as you try along with Affleck to figure out what's going on. The second half humps up the action and the number of bullets that never find their target. Uma Thurman plays the love interest but isn't given all that much to do, nor is Paul Giamatti as a trusted friend. As for Affleck, I'm bored with this "let's all hate Ben Affleck" cult that has grown in the last few years. Will he win an Oscar? No, but his performance here was fine. No other actor would have done any more with the script as written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the Founder of the All-Movie Guide, August 9, 2004
By 
Michael Erlewine (Big Rapids, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What a minute. Let’s not trash this movie. Instead, let’s look at the glass as half full and not half empty. For one, this is a good old-fashioned suspense/action (science fiction!) movie, with no cartoonesque quality, no larger-than-life stuff, and only a teeny-weeny bit of camp. Philip K. Dick is THE man for science fiction in our lifetimes, and even if they messed with the story, it still is better than 95% of the crap out there.

It is well acted, coherent, and perhaps best of all for me, a real example of a science fiction film, as we like it, and not some over exaggerated bit of nothing. This is straight-ahead science fiction. Despite its flaws, I only wish I could find one movie of this quality a month. I liked it.

-- Michael Erlewine, Founder of the All-Movie Guide (allmovie.com)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "What you erase doesn't matter", July 13, 2004
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change of heart!!!!!, February 12, 2007
I used to use these reviews to see which movies i would buy, but after seeing that most of them rated paycheck so poorly thats over with. It is one of my favorite movies and i watch it all the time. Stop trying to analyze the movie so much, its a freakin action movie and it has good action in it. If u wanna pinpoint every flaw in the movie go sit with ebert and roper or somebody, they seem to suck at rating movies too. Kill Bill was freakin weak and stupid to me but it had a lot of good action in it and thats all im lookin for in a ACTION movie. Stop trying to be a critic and just watch the movie!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Significant Futuristic Thriller, October 8, 2005
I, like many people, am not a Ben Affleck fan, and therefore, for a long time, avoided this movie like a razor blade through an eyeball. What a mistake I made. Sure it's true that Ben Affleck usually has about all the charm and acting ability as a cardboard cutout of himself, but in Paycheck, he actually does occasionally show a bit more talent than usual.

Affleck aside, Paycheck is a stylish mystery that does manage to more than hold your interest. John Woo's direction gives the film its' near frenetic pace, while allowing the viewer enough time to process the new clues as they are uncovered. Uma Thurman is fantastic to look at even when she has dirt on her face, and clearly, this is what Woo was intending when he put her in the role of a gorgeous scientist who steal's Ben's character's heart. Sure lady scientists who happen to border supermodels in appearance is a bit unrealistic, but no more so than the gratuitous and unnecessary motorcycle chase, so characteristic of this genre of movie.

Those slight shortcomings aside, Paycheck delivers on its' promise to thouroughly engross the viewer by delivering a future scene much more feasible than other more weak kneed futuristic thrillers that only rely on special effects to catapult their stories along. It's an inventive and terrific ride that will keep you wanting more as the many secrets are revealed.
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Paycheck [Blu-ray]
Paycheck [Blu-ray] by John Woo (Blu-ray - 2009)
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