Compiled by: Jack Foley
BEN Afflecks latest, Paycheck, has failed to make much
of an impression on US critics, following its Christmas Day release
Affleck stars as a world famous genius, who does specialised
projects for high-tech corporations, before getting his memory
erased in return for a massive pay cheque. When his latest project
fails to yield the money, however, he must uncover the clues he
has left for himself to find out about his past, and prevent people
from killing him.
The movie is based upon a short story by Philip K Dick (Blade
and co-stars Uma Thurman and Aaron Eckhart. It is directed by
But the general consensus seems to be one of disappointment,
with the New York Times aptly summing up the mood by writing
that this smooth but bland thriller may be the best we would
possibly expect from John Woo directing a Philip K Dick adaptation,
especially when Ben Affleck is added to the mix.
Rolling Stone referred to it, merely, as a limp
retread of Minority Report, while Entertainment Weekly
found that the amazing thing about John Woo's steely, impersonal
adaptation of Philip K. Dick sci-fi story ... is how it vanishes
in front of our eyes even as we watch it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, meanwhile, felt that it belongs
with the likes of Impostor: a near-future tale of paranoia and
suspense of disappointingly generic proportions.
While USA Today wrote that though the premise is
provocative enough, the execution feels like a host of other violent
The Washington Post, meanwhile, opined that if a
movie is going to flout, or at least bend, the laws of the universe,
it at least ought to obey its own internal rules.
On a more positive note, however, Newsday felt that while
Paycheck's no breakthrough, but it's the tightest John Woo
movie since his Hong Kong heyday.
And the Hollywood Reporter wrote that writer, Dean
Georgaris, and director, John Woo, propel a viewer through shoot-outs,
chases and suspense sequences that break enough new ground to
But, in the main, the verdict was overwhelmingly negative, spelling
another misfire for the increasingly frustrating Affleck.
The San Francisco Chronicle, for instance, wrote that
without ever quite becoming boring, Paycheck seems to narrow
into a routine pattern, and a plot that at first had nuance and
the hint of a broader meaning degenerates into chases and standard
And the Detroit News wrote that instead of a nifty
thriller, Woo delivers typical bombast, making what should be
an exciting film feel like 'Exhibit A' in the case against modern
Village Voice brings things to a neat conclusion, however,
by stating that the law of diminishing returns appears to
have caught up with Hollywood's Philip K. Dick infatuation.
The film did, however, make $13.9 million for the weekend, and
$19.2 million for the four days since its release, which, according
to a spokesman for the distributor, Paramount Puictures, was in
line with expectations. The film cost about $60 million.