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Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 47 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 34
  2. Negative: 8 out of 34
  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. 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.
  3. 60
    Woo's film is in some ways closer to Dick's -- and his own -- pulp roots, and if he lazily quotes himself (and, inexplicably, Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly") once too often, he at least gets loose, spirited performances from his cast -- Uma's post-"Kill Bill" gravitas notwithstanding.
  4. 50
    Longtime fans of John Woo, who have come to accept operatic, lead-slinging death dances as an integral part of the director’s powerful aesthetic, will probably be unsatisfied with this neutered variation on his earlier, superior works.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    40
    Uninspired star turns from Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman suggest something less than full belief in this quickly forgettable thriller.
  6. Represents such a professional nadir for each of its principals that you wish better for them in the new year.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. 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 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. Expand
  2. 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 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. Expand

See all 27 User Reviews

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