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Paycheck (2003)



Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 154
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 112

Though Dick's short story has an intriguing premise, Woo reduces it to a lot of meaningless chases, shoot-outs, and explosions.


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 30

Though Dick's short story has an intriguing premise, Woo reduces it to a lot of meaningless chases, shoot-outs, and explosions.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 163,704


My Rating

Movie Info

Brilliant computer engineer Michael Jennings routinely has his short term memory erased, so he can't divulge any information about the top secret projects he works on throughout the year. For his most recent gig, he expects to receive over four billion dollars. Upon completion of the job, however, Jennings is given a filled envelope--not with a check for his billions, but containing random objects. It is communicated to him that he had agreed to forfeit his payment for this specific project.

May 18, 2004


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All Critics (155) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (112) | DVD (39)

There's a sense of treading water about this movie.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 action.

December 26, 2003 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You may not buy everything about this movie, but you'll likely leave it with a smile.

December 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

December 25, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Woo] still has pretty much of a tin ear for American performances, so he lets Affleck doze through the starring role. The film feels as if it has no center.

December 25, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the premise is provocative enough, the execution feels like a host of other violent action-drenched movies.

December 25, 2003 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Woo's stylish touches fall flat in this forgettable project

May 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

This movie just sags, even in the action scenes.

December 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

It's not necessarily high brow sci-fi, but it is very accessible to the mainstream eye.

January 9, 2010 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Paycheck takes two hours to watch and two minutes to forget.

May 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Playful but inconsequential...the interpretation of Dick's intriguing concept is a street which mostly just dead-ends into noisy silliness. [Blu-ray]

May 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

"Paycheck" is a no-brainer action movie with just enough sci-fi thematic input to keep it spicy.

May 11, 2009 Full Review Source:

Most of it is very predictable and so obvious and instantly draws us away from the characters because everything here feels very artificial and very staged.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

For those who enjoy a ripper of a good yarn, Paycheck is good value.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Some remedial script work is in need, and the characters are far from compelling. But the action is up to scratch and it rattles happily along.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's nice to know that there's a director out there who still knows how to use marquee stars and to blow stuff up real good, without resorting to CGI fakery.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Paycheck is John Woo lite.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A mildly entertaining slice of science fiction that's anchored by some top-notch action.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source:

The film discards serious discussion for Mexican standoffs and action scenes, trading the possibility of complex rewards for simple pleasures.

April 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

This could have been a terrific movie. Unfortunately, Paramount and Director John Woo (who was responsible for the lamentable Windtalkers), ruined it by prolific special effects.

October 7, 2004 Full Review Source:

There is enough left of the original idea in the movie to recommend it, just barely.

August 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Ben Affleck is one of the blandest actors vying for Hollywood's action movie crown now that Harrison Ford is on pension . . .

June 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Clearly, the whole cast was here simply to collect - yes, you guessed it - a pay cheque.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The characters are charismatic, the action sequences strong and the plot — adapted from a Philip K. Dick story — better than average.

May 21, 2004

Inexpressibly ropey sci-fi thriller joylessly directed by John Woo and based, natch, on a Philip K Dick short story.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Guardian

Audience Reviews for Paycheck

Another classic Philip K. Dick story is brought to the big screen only this time its been 'Woo'd'. To be very very honest this is pretty much a poor mans 'Minority Report' with a bad cast, accept for the big chinned Eckhart, why this short story has not been given the same care as 'MR' I don't know.

The film plays out with Affleck (yes -_-) as a 'reverse engineer' who...actually I still have no idea really what he is suppose to do in his role, all I know is it involves having his memory wiped after he's done each job but this time he has been used and set up by the evil Eckhart.

Cue allot of running around, guns blazing everywhere, your typical Woo car/motorbike chase with standard silly slow motion stunts and of course your typical standard Woo point blank face off...or Mexican standoff. The concept for the film is pretty neat, not totally original in today's film world but it has promise, unfortunately like 'M.I.2' Woo was totally the wrong director for such a decent sci-fi story.
The whole thing looks bad, especially during the finale which looks like its been filmed on a set from the 60's Batman TV show, plus the acting is poor and hammy from almost everyone. Its all too predictable and quite simply its been done allot better with other films.
April 9, 2012

Super Reviewer

Not a fan of Ben Affleck or Uma Thurman at all but what I saw was ok. I like the twists and turns as I tried to figure out what had happened to him. At times it felt rather slow and lethargic which ruined the atmosphere. Not something I'd watch again but a good watch for anyone interested in Philip K. Dick and time travel stories.
October 29, 2011

Super Reviewer

'Paycheck' is a film that simply does not know what it is and simply doesn't care. I say that because despite a promising premise, the audience has no idea what is going on through this cluttered mess of a film, and we just don't care at all for the protagonist, played well but unmotivated by an aging Affleck. I guess if you are into these weird, retroactive and hip films, then go ahead. If you are apart of a mainstream audience, rent Dogma, Affleck's better film.
August 8, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Michael Jennings: If you show someone the future, they have no future.
    2. Michael Jennings: You take away the mystery, you take away hope.
    – Submitted by Wasfi A (12 months ago)
    1. Rita Dunne: My name is McBeth, bitch! And I'ma gonna fuck you!
    – Submitted by McBeth C (2 years ago)
    1. Michael Jennings: If you only look where you can't go, you might just miss the riches below.
    – Submitted by Simon H (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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