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25th
AUG

Paycheck

Posted by Player under Action

PaycheckFace/Off is one of my favorite action films, cause it throws out realism and replaces it with incredible action scenes and one liners from what may be one of the last films I actually liked that featured Nicholas Cage. John Woo was the director who made Face/Off, and also Paycheck. However this time, Woo does not deliver on action as much as he delivers what I would call a suspense or thriller film which falls short of being good.

I guess it seemed like a good idea to put Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman, two of today’s biggest Hollywood actors and make a loosely sci-fi themed thriller, but somehow the acting did not quite pan out. Affleck plays a brilliant engineer named Michael, who routinely reverse engineers products for any company that will pay his price. Since his customers can’t trust him with their technology once he leaves, Michael undergoes a memory erase after he completes the project so that he has no memory of the time he spent at the company’s lab. For his current job, he is asked to go a longer memory erase, which amounts to three years, in order to get the biggest paycheck of his life, hence the name of the film. During his time at the company he meets Uma Thurman’s character. Thurman is a nerdy biologist at the same company. We are led to believe that they fall in love during the 3 years Michael works for the company. Thus begins the action and conflict of the story. When Michael leaves the company he finds out that things are very wrong and that he has sent himself an envelope containing insignificant items to help himself out of danger as he is now a wanted man by both his former employer and by the FBI. In other words there is no paycheck! This all leads to Michael realizing just what he did during the last three years and trying to save the world.

If all that seems impressive, it is, but emotionally Michael is not very much of a hero. Affleck’s character never seems believable and is not very emotional. Unlike Cage and Travolta where they seemed overly dramatic in Face/Off, Affleck comes off as being unsympathetic to the audience and about the only sentiment of actual depth is from Thurman’s character. In the film, Thurman plays her part well, emotional and not stunningly hot, basically your typical boring scientist who just happens to be somewhat attractive.

As for the action scenes? Well it is a Woo film, so expect a motorcycle scene which is at least interesting, but in no saves the film from its mundane acting and unsympathetic characters.

What I found most interesting about Paycheck was the sets, and the way the future looked. The theme also speaks a little to our attachment to technology and how shallow and petty people can be in valuing such things.

So if you are looking for a good Affleck film, this one is not it. Pretty much Affleck’s acting might have helped kill this film, but that all depends on what you think, for me, he definitely did not help.

3 out 5 stars

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