This Movie Suuucks: Paycheck

Okay, first off, does anybody even remember this movie? It sucks pretty bad, but as I sit down to type this, I wonder how many people will even know what this is. It sucked then and it’s almost a decade old. Who remembers movies from a decade ago? Either way, I’ve already made up my mind, so oh yeah- this is happening.

In the near future (we’re not given a year, just understand that this could happen to you), Bobblehead Ben Affleck decides to use his skills for something other than bobbling and becomes a reverse engineer, rebuilding the competition’s products and even making them better. After he does this, he undergoes a memory wipe, so he can’t rebuild the toys he’s rebuilt. How he is ever able to advance if he should find a new way of solving a problem or, God forbid, a new way of thinking altogether doesn’t matter: he gets those three dimensional TVs made. Gasp! Three Dimensional televisions! The future is here! But Afflak doesn’t just make the 3D TVs; no that’s for his lame competitors- he makes that third dimension a hologram. BE AMAZED.

Whoa, kid, easy! You'll go blind sitting that close!

Whoa, kid, easy! You’ll go blind sitting that close!

And evidently, it’s an interactive hologram because I’m pretty sure I remember it looking at him and blowing a kiss or something. Anyway, Aaron Eckhart shows up and offers him a lot of money for three years of his life. In Malaysia, this is a wonderful deal but this is (John Woo’s) America so only Ben Affleck would and he does. At the end of three years, Aflac’s memory is erased and he is thanked for his services.

Shortly thereafter, Aflack finds that before his memory was erased, he gave his money away and sent himself miscellaneous items. After that, he’s framed for a murder and has to use those items to figure everything out: why he gave his money away, why he’s been framed and what did he MAKE?

As mentioned above, this movie is made by John Woo, so everything you see is “Wooified” and since this movie has mystery to it, I consider it a “Woodunnit,” meaning that while a character has to figure out a way to solve their problem that only an idiot would’ve ended up in, they have to shoot, defile, or destroy anything that they come into contact with. This includes glass, cars, or people. See: Face/Off (1997) and Broken Arrow (1996). Oh, and boats- gotta destroy those boats. Or cowboy butts. Wait, that’s Ang Lee.

I want to tank you for dees award, "Butthole Playgrounds 8."

I want to tank you for dees award, “Butthole Playgrounds 8.”

I don’t really have a problem so much with the underlying story, as it was originally written by Sci-fi King Phillip K. Dick, the author of Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report. I’d give you more, but jeez, read that; do you need anymore?

Point being, the execution of said story is the issue here. Every time Affleck realizes exactly why he sent himself the Baby Magic Gentle Baby Lotion, it’s not enough for us to watch him use it to get out of a tight situation, we have to have repeat flashbacks of him putting it into the folder he sent to himself, flash forward to him taking it out when he received it, go back to the present (future for us)  for a few shots of his antagonists closing in, and let’s not forget my favorite: an extremely close zoom on Benny’s wide-eyes and gaping mouth so you get that he remembers why he sent it. Followed by him squirting it on the floor in front of him so the FBI will slip all over it, complete with wacky sound effects.


You get the idea.

Okay, so the baby lotion didn’t happen, but you get the idea. “What? I have BMW keys? But why? Will I need to drive a car at some point today? This day just keeps getting crazier!” I imagine this is every day for Ben Affleck in reality. I kept expecting him to say to himself whatever object he was holding right before he used it. “Lighter…” “Fortune Cookie fortune…” “Butt floss…” Excuse me? Mr. Affleck sir? I’d like to borrow that floss and hang myself.

Let’s not forget the lovely(?) Uma Thurman. Every time she speaks in this, she exhales the entire sentence. Say this sentence out loud while exhaling- “Hi, Ben. Are you going to be working all day today?” Finish that with a smile, and we’ve got a pedophile in training on our hands. Or someone who’s delirious from an asthma attack. Nobody wants to be around either.

Aaron Eckhart is the villain whose hair is gelled to his head so hard, he looks like a Ken doll or a Surrogate or something. Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame shows up as an FBI agent with like two lines, so a quick paycheck (“paycheck…”) is all he needed from this I guess. But I can’t blame the cast for all the problems. Because the real problem for me…is Woo.

No, not this Woo.

No, not this Woo.

I know a lot of people like him, and I think he has his good points, but none that I can think of off the top of my head. He seems to be a big fan of things I accepted as a kid; at one point in the movie, Afflick is on a motorcyle (“keys…”) being chased by who cares, and he smoothly drives into a horizontal, Mario-style pipe. The driver of the car decides to tell tangibility to screw itself and also attempts to drive through this pipe, slamming into it and having his cars’ life end with a glorious explosion emanating from the trunk of the car the second the two metals touch. No, he wasn’t driving a Pinto.

I also find myself looking at the stupid things Affleck has done and immediately think that I could do the same, regardless of my situation. Moments later, another person/poorly made car have the same fate. I want to do a play-by-play (Is that the right term, Bryce?) but there’s just no time. So just watch.

Wong-Woo is also notorious (at least to me) for having slow motion shots of his actor’s stunt double’s face during pivotal action scenes. Nevermind your suspension of belief, we need to put this completely different person in this shot and show you what they look like in slow motion. Maybe to Woo, Caucasians all look the same and as long as they’re about thirty and grit their teeth, you won’t be able to tell the diffrence. Well, I can, John. And I’ve been pointing out the difference since I was 10 and watched Face/Off.

"On the count of three, we rip our own faces off and slide'em under the door."

“On the count of three, we rip our own faces off and slide’em under the door.”

Take all that and the future-changing conversations that were thrown in to pretend they give a crap about consequences and anything more than the action, and you’ve got yourself a film that’s certifiably Woo. But don’t put too much thought into it. A movie like this deals with some mind-blowing issues about the future and whether or not you could or should change it if you knew what was going to happen.

When I say “mind-blowing” I really mean that John Woo was told he had to have some scenes with talking in it and doves don’t count as talking. *Eyes wide, mouth open* “Doves….”



One Response to “This Movie Suuucks: Paycheck”

  1. hotbitch Says:

    I never saw Paycheck and just found out that it contained a hologram. I was intrigued by this and came across your page while looking for more info. I think it simply foretold what was to come and to get us used to the idea of the fakery they’re throwing at us. It makes you question the Tupac & MJ holograms. And then it hit me…Jem and the Holograms. They’ve been planting this seed for years. I wouldn’t doubt that our “leaders” have holograms as well.


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