REVIEWED
6.1.05

STORY



LOOK

Paycheck
Director: John Woo
Year: 2003
TRT: 1:59


An Ode to a Chode That is Named Ben Affleck
or
Why Automatons Should Never Be Action Heroes

Yet Another PKD story
Shot to Hell
(Not for lack of Trying, I guess)

Mugging for the Camera
is Not the Basis
of a film Career.

You know what really sucks about this? It's a nice, action-packed little short story, seemingly perfect for confectionaries known as "Hollywood Productions." But by casting the above-mentioned chode in yet another action film doomed it from the start. Give it to Woo for being fully, wholly, totally manipulative in nature, it's still a fun romp.

There's this smart engineer-type, who in exchange for his memories while working on top-secret corporate projects, gets a big paycheck (hence the title of the film). But instead of using his brain over braun, Mr. Affleck chooses to look constipated while trying to figure out mediocre clues, with big, long, overproduced action sequences interspersed between so that we almost forget the "hero" is, in fact, constipated. (Un)fortunately he's able to kick ass and dodge bullets like Neo, narrowly avoiding certain death and/or capture at every turn. This is because he's apparently foreseen the future, but can't remember it. There are clues he's left himself, and FBI agents and goons and old friends all out to get him, of course, but, well, it's still Ben.

Then there's Uma Thurman. She scares me. I didn't know this was supposed to be a horror film. I'm strangely fascinated by this, like watching a circus oddity perform in front of my very eyes, enjoying it in a macabre way while always trying to figure out how exactly the freakishness is pulled off. Movie magic my ass, give that woman proper lighting!

Plot, shmlot, it's all fuckin whacked because of Affleck, plain and simple. It'd a good action flick as far as Woo is concerned, lame compared to the short story it's based on (one of Philip K. Dick's better earlier works). I'm glad Paul Giamatti's getting some props for Sideways (as opposed to American Splendor!?!), and it's only a matter of time before Ekhart gets a better starring role than that schlop known as The Core.

Great Scene: Where Affleck the "computer geek" drops the gun clip into the rail; it's so cheezy it's good.

DVD Notes: Somehow in my drunkenness I forgot to review the collection of extras for the disc, though there was an alternate ending out-laming the current one. Whatever.