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Released 2003


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out of 10
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3 votes

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Movie Summary

John Woo
Paycheck is a 2003 action movie directed by John Woo and based on a Philip K. Dick short story of the same name. Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) has just undergone a memory wipe after reverse engineering a product for the Allcom Corporation. The CEO of Allcom, James Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart), hires Jennings and he begins to live on the Allcom compound. There Jennings meets Dr. Rachel Porter (Uma Thurman) and the two fall in love. Upon completion of the product, however, Jennings' memory is wiped. Also unfortunate for Jennings is that he declined his paycheck before his memory wipe and only left himself with a few mysterious seemingly useless items. He soon learns that he has left a trail of evidence for himself to follow and the items are the key. He must then use these items to escape from the FBI and figure out what his own clues mean.


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Metacritic Score

  • 50

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Surprisingly . . . ept given that it is basically a dumb movie about smart people. This smooth but bland thriller may be the best we could expect from such a collaboration.

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times Manohla Dargis

    The sort of noisy nonsense that Woo's earlier action movies made irrelevant, but alas not extinct.

  • 40

    Variety Robert Koehler

    Uninspired star turns from Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman suggest something less than full belief in this quickly forgettable thriller.

  • The Ultimate Movie Review! -- @tss5078

    While you may not know the name Phillip K. Dick, many of the biggest Science Fiction films of the last thirty years have been adaptations of his work. Dick is responsible for the films Blade Runner, The Terminator, Total Recall, Minority Report, and Paycheck just to name a few. Due to the popularity of his work in film and how successful they've been, even a lesser known work like Paycheck has been made into a film. The story includes many of the action sequences and interesting characters associated with Dick's stories, but Paycheck does lack the futuristic Science Fiction that has become Dick's signature, which is the main reason this story isn't as well known as his other works. The story takes place in modern day, where a man is offered an irresistible deal. Jennings (Ben Affleck) is told that if he works on a secret project for the next 3 years, he will receive 100 million dollars. The only catch being that after the 3 years are up, Jennings memory will be erased and he will have no idea what he worked on. As expected, Jennings accepts the deal and returns to his life 3 years later, but nothing is that simple. Soon everyone from the FBI to bounty hunters show up trying to get to him, and the only clues he has come from an envelope he sent himself, containing 19 random items that seem to have little or no value. Ben Affleck stars and by this point we all know how I feel about him. Affleck is a terrific Director, who seems to have little interest in acting anymore. Paycheck however is a 2003 film, a time before Affleck had proven himself and he shows that rare charisma that is only present in his real early work. His performance is outstanding and aided further by his chemistry with co-star Uma Thurman. Thurman is another performer who I find isn't very good unless she's in very specific type of role, and fortunately for Affleck, this is one of those roles. Paycheck is missing the big signature associated with Dick's work and will be somewhat disappointing to his fans. I did miss the futuristic element, but I was intrigued by the mystery Jennings was trying to solve and the 19 items. Combined with the action sequences, (that are always top notch) Paycheck isn't what I expected, but was still very well done and definitely worth watching.moreless
  • Original.

    Underrated. Great!

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