HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
   
 
Newest Articles
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
   
 
  Paycheck Race Against Time
Year: 2003
Director: John Woo
Stars: Ben Affleck, Aaron Eckhart, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, Colm Feore, Joe Morton, Michael C. Hall, Peter Friedman, Kathryn Morris, Ivana Milicevic, Christopher Kennedy, Fulvio Cecere, John Cassini, Callum Keith Rennie, Michelle Harrison
Genre: Action, Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) has a very specific field of expertise: he is able to take a piece of new technology, break it down into its component parts, and then make a replica of it for rival companies, improving and altering the original just enough to be judged as different. To cover up his tracks, these companies insist he is given a memory wipe, just as today when his latest job sees him recreate a holographic monitor, then the last two months he spent on it are erased from his mind. But what if Michael was offered a commission big enough to set him up for life?

Paycheck was one of many science fiction movies based on the writings of cult author Philip K. Dick, although from what director John Woo obviously thought he was less recreating that mindbending plotting and more constructing an homage to Alfred Hitchcock. So while there was a strong element of speculative fiction propelling the story, what he was more interested in was the suspense and naturally, the action, though by this time his trademarked slow motion gunfights, Mexican standoffs and those doves were beginning to look a tad overfamiliar.

Even hackneyed, which might explain why Paycheck didn't do so well at the box office, or not as well as a would-be blockbuster might have hoped to do. However, this may have suffered from a fatigue with Woo's stylings at the time, but over the years viewers have caught it on television and thought, you know, this isn't bad at all. There were problems, the main one being that it took far too long to get to the point, as when we were twenty minutes in the main plot hadn't started yet, but once Michael is assigned his mission to live three years as one of Alcom's operatives, three years which will then be wiped, the intrigue picks up.

As Alcom is led by James Rethrick, and as he is played by Aaron Eckhart in full-on smarm mode, you can guess there may be more to this than meets the eye, so when Michael awakens what feels like seconds after his injection, that time has passed and he is ready to spend his millions. Yet there's a snag - when he goes to pick them up, he finds all his cash has been forfeited for a large envelope full of random objects, and he is understandably baffled. Why give up all that money for this collection of junk? The answer to that you will likely be way ahead of, but as with too much else here the hero takes far too long to work things out.

This was Affleck in his slightly bland but dependable leading man persona, something audiences began to be turned off by for some odd reason as he was more likely to take up space in the gossip pages than make popular movies at this stage. That didn't last when he began to fashion his own vehicles later on, so Paycheck has a novelty of seeing the direction he might have continued in, of the undemanding light protagonist in the Tom Cruise mould, which his old friend Matt Damon seemed to have settled into with far more welcome from the public. This was not a one man show, as there was a decent cast backing him up between the gunplay and chases, so Uma Thurman was the slightly disposable love interest and Paul Giamatti showed up as the best friend, but what kept you hooked here was the ingenuity of the narrative, which after all was simply a jigsaw puzzle, though a theme of knowing the future leaving you bereft of free will was stimulating too. Music by John Powell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2252 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Woo  (1946 - )

One of the most influential directors working in the modern action genre. Hong Kong-born Woo (real name Yusen Wu) spent a decade making production-line martial arts movies for the Shaw Brothers before his melodramatic action thriller A Better Tomorrow (1987) introduced a new style of hyper-realistic, often balletic gun violence.

It also marked Woo's first collaboration with leading man Chow-Yun Fat, who went on to appear in a further three tremendous cop/gangster thrillers for Woo - A Better Tomorrow II, The Killer and Hard Boiled. The success of these films in Hong Kong inspired dozens of similar films, many pretty good, but few with Woo's artistry or emphasis on characters as well as blazing action.

In 1993, Woo moved over to Hollywood, with predictably disappointing results. Face/Off was fun, but the likes of Broken Arrow, Windtalkers and Mission: Impossible 2 too often come across as well-directed, but nevertheless generic, studio product. Needs to work with Chow-Yun Fat again, although his return to Hong Kong with Red Cliff proved there was life in the old dog yet.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: