Paycheck

Metascore
43

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 34
  2. Negative: 8 out of 34

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. 80
    John Woo's smart thriller Paycheck may not intend to be political, but it's marked as much by its era as post-Watergate thrillers like "The Parallax View" or "Three Days Of The Condor."
  2. A nifty science-fiction twist on the old amnesia plot where a guy spends most of a movie trying to remember what he did and why everyone is after him.
  3. 70
    Quite honestly, if this had been a more violent film, it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.
  4. 67
    Affleck is in the middle, engaging in derring-do, pitching woo to Uma Thurman and making the whole thing come off as less exciting than it should have been.
  5. There are chases that feel way too long, and dialogue that feels flat. Affleck and Thurman make a handsome duo, but there's no spark between the actors.
  6. 63
    We're left with the painful reality that Paycheck might get Alfred Hitchcock, but it certainly doesn't know Philip K. Dick.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 186 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 30
  2. Negative: 7 out of 30
  1. Nov 25, 2012
    8
    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 thanPaycheck 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
    10
    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 toI 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. Jun 11, 2015
    6
    When I first saw this film I didn't even know it was a Philip K. Dick short story. The movie came out almost 12 years ago but it didn't seemWhen I first saw this film I didn't even know it was a Philip K. Dick short story. The movie came out almost 12 years ago but it didn't seem so far off until I realized I didn't remember why he’s being chased. I remembered some of the action scenes and the mystery solving so in my mind it looked more like an action than sci-fi movie. The plot is basically centered around the action, the car chases, gunshots, and explosions - not at a Michael Bay level - but still a very action-centered movie. It made the characters looks quite one-dimensional

    It's funny how this futuristic sci-fi movie is a bit off. I mean the movie doesn't really hold up today. It's still a good science fiction - I meant action - story and I enjoyed watching it, maybe even more now that I recognize all of the supporting cast, but parts of the movie looked...fake I guess, or like it was made in the 80s instead of the 00s.

    Paycheck was awesome when I saw it as a kid, it’s still a pleasant movie to watch but it’s definitely not a film for a nitpicking audience. @wornoutspines
    Full Review »