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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Paycheck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman
Director: John Woo
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: December 2003
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action

*Also starring: Aaron Eckhart, Paul Giamatti, Emily Holmes, John Cassini, Michael C. Hall, Fulvio Cecere, Peter Friedman, Michelle Harrison, Craig March, Chelah Horsdal

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Let's just say 2003 was not Ben Affleck's best year. In this latest thriller, he plays mild-mannered Michael Jennings, an engineering whiz who's hired for big bucks by high-tech companies to delve into their competition's latest technology in order to make it better and cheaper. This is a highly sensitive form of theft so, as a part of each top-secret project, he agrees to have his memory erased, both for his employer's protection and his own. But when he awakens after working for Allcom's billionaire owner (Aaron Eckhart), three years have passed and the $90+ million that was supposed to have been deposited in his bank account has vanished. All he has is an envelope containing 19 everyday objects, ranging from a transit ticket to a single bullet. Utilizing these seemingly mysterious items as clues, he must reconstruct what happened and why - a task that's made even more perilous since a villainous thug (Colm Feore) from Allcom is after him, along with the FBI operatives. On the other hand, Uma Thurman ("Kill Bill") seems to be on his side, along with Paul Giamatti ("American Splendor").

Directed by John Woo from a screenplay by Dean Georgaris, based on a 1953 short story by Philip K. Dick, it's an absurd puzzle. Even the chase sequences, a Woo specialty, are diluted because Affleck is a cinematic light-weight as an action hero. On the other hand, the concept that the future may/can be changed by those who glimpse it - well, that's always provocative - as is the wishful thinking that perhaps Affleck could erase the memory of "Gigli" before his re-teaming with Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming "Jersey Girl." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Paycheck" is an inconsequential, dumbed-down 5. Fascinating theory - poorly executed.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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