Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 34
  2. Negative: 8 out of 34
  1. The story, adapted by Dean Georgaris, doesn't come within a light year of science-fiction plausibility, and after a while Woo gives up trying to sell it and reverts to the action choreography that made him a master of Hong Kong martial-arts movies.
  2. 38
    With a script that waffles between being hilariously absurd and insultingly stupid, and action scenes that won't cause anyone's pulse to skip a beat, Paycheck is less appealing than a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking.
  3. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Paycheck is a bogus journey.
  4. Isn't a bad movie, until John Woo remembers that he's John Woo and we remember that Ben Affleck is Ben Affleck.
  5. Paycheck is a terribly muddled mess, a Hitchcock homage (with generous, obvious nods to The Birds, Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest) by a great filmmaker trying to say a great deal with so very little.
  6. 25
    The title of this limp retread of "Minority Report" -- both films are based on stories by Philip K. Dick -- presumably refers to the reason the big names involved did this movie.
  7. 20
    Maybe it’s time for Woo to finally make that musical he keeps talking about.
  8. Represents such a professional nadir for each of its principals that you wish better for them in the new year.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. Nov 25, 2012
    Paycheck is one of those movies that had the potential to be really, truly great, but due to a series of small problems, ended up as less than it could have been and largely ignored. In short (and you can get this from the trailer), Ben Affleck plays a gifted engineer whose particular talent lies in reverse-engineering a company's product so that a competitor can get a head-start to market. In order to maintain deniability, his memory of each job is wiped, leaving him with just a paycheck (hence the title). But after accepting a long-term job, he finds himself a wanted man with no clue why, just a lot of questions. An outstanding premise. It is made all the better by creative writing, particularly the inclusion of a MacGuyver-esque puzzle that wends its way through the entire plot of the film. Dialogue is generally well written, only rarely losing its real-world edge (which is forgivable). Outstanding performances are turned in by Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, Aaron Eckhart, Colm Feore, and Joe Morton -- who, although given a relatively thin part, managed to turn it into a major, dynamic element of the plot and really shines. John Powell's original score was outstanding and a perfect balance of driving action music and reflective melodies when appropriate. Really, the faults of the film lie with John Woo, whose now-trite directorial hallmarks end up making their appearances in the film self-ridicule rather than poignant moment. (John, if you're reading: get rid of the flying dove gimmick. It was ridiculous in Mission Impossible 2, and it was ridiculous here. It's a joke, not art.) Woo is still an excellent action director, and the car chases, fight sequences, and other action-driven sections of the film do well by him. But someone else needs to take over when the fists and tires aren't flying; it's only the innate acting ability of people like Affleck, Thurman, and others (did I mention Joe Morton did a great job?) that save some sections of the film. Casting was bang-on, though, and Paul Giamatti does an A+ perfect job as the Voice of Reason and comic relief -- one of those blessed times that you don't groan inwardly when the comic relief character shows up; Giamatti does an exemplary job. And even though the film is, as of this writing, nearly a decade old, it doesn't come off as stale sci-fi -- a rarity. It is definitely worth watching if you're any kind of sci-fi fan (it comes from the mind of Philip K Dick...check out how many of his stories became wildly popular films) -- find a copy and have fun. Full Review »
  2. Jun 9, 2012
    I think that this movie has many twists and turns that is enough to keep people on the edge of their seats. And it surely has something to tell. It mentioned that predicting the future is something that we should not try to do. After all, I think that this is a very nice movie. Full Review »
  3. [Anonymous]
    Nov 10, 2005
    THe story has premise, but John Woo's excecution renders the movie mediocre. Even the action ain't all that great. There are moments when the brillinace of the sci-fi story does surface, particularly consequences of looking into the future, but it's not enough to save this film from being merely mediocre stuff. Full Review »