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Running Time:
119 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for intense action violence and brief language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A flat, derivative pseudo-thriller with few surprises.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Commentary by director John Woo; Commentary by screenwriter Dean Georgaris; "Paycheck: Designing the Future" featurette; "Tempting Fate: The Stunts of Paycheck" featurette; Seven extended/deleted scenes.

Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, and directed by John Woo ("Face/Off") "Paycheck" starts with the premise that a computer genius named Michael Jennings (Affleck) is hired by ALLCOM and its powerful founder Rethrick (Aaron Eckhart), to work on a mysterious project for two or three years, at the end of which he’ll have his memory of the whole period wiped out for security reasons. When the job’s completed, however, Jennings discovers to his surprise that not only has he signed away his promised huge salary, but that the only thing he has left are some nineteen random items he’d mailed to himself before his memory was erased. Then, as if things weren’t bad enough, he’s taken into custody by 2 FBI agents (Joe Morton and Michael C. Hall), who inform him that he was working on something that is a menace to the whole world, and they try to retrieve his memory of it by a particularly painful process. But Jennings manages to escape, and soon he’s not only pursued by the Justice Department, but marked for extinction by Rethrick’s ruthless henchman Wolfe (Colm Feore). Luckily he has some allies; Shorty (Paul Giamatti "American Splendor"), a scientist who’s jovially nervous in that typical sidekick way, and Rachel (Uma Thurman "Kill Bill"), a crack biologist with whom Jennings had an affair during his now-forgotten years. And luckily, those apparently useless items that he’d sent himself, prove to be helful in getting him out of one close shave after another. Surprisingly, for a John Woo film, the action sequences are surprisingly unimaginative. As for the cast, Ben Affleck is his usual appealing but stiff persona, as in many of his recent films, and after the disappointing “Gigli,” he'd better watch it. Uma Thurman is now in the action heroine phase of her career, (as in “Kill Bill”), which is probably wise for her, since her acting abilities don’t seem be as obvious as her physicality. Aaron Eckhart oozes a well-groomed ruthlessness that he plays neither too broadly nor too subtly, but Paul Giamatti and the Morton-Hall FBI agents aren't very interesting, Colm Feore seems to have the requisite cynical smirk required of underlings to madmen lusting after world domination. There is some humor as the film charges along to a rather exciting finale.

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