PAYCHECK      -  A  Narada Film Review

  UMA THURMAN 
  as Rachel Porter
     
   Out-take of   
   PAYCHECK 
   Movie Poster   
     
   BEN AFFLECK
   as Michael Jennings
PAYCHECK - 2003   -John Woo -Director  &   John A Davis -Producer
    Any film made from a Phillip K Dick story has the promise of greatness.  We, each of us, was asking, would PAYCHECK be the next Blade Runner?  Cinebuffs and science fiction fanatics await such comings with great anticipation - much as music buffs await the next Elvis.  (Fair or not, like it or not, these comparisons to Blade Runner will be made until the coming of the Armageddon.)
         PAYCHECK started out with just such a promise of greatness.  When we heard the words, "Show a man his future, and he has none," we thought -at long last- we had a serious contender.  Had Director John Woo taken that and run with it, he might have had a classic.  But alas, this was not to be, and the failure falls directly on his shoulders.  Does he, or any other director for that matter, ever analyze successful science fiction films to see what makes them so?  I seriously doubt that it has even entered their egocentric minds.  But in the event John Woo is out there reading this now, Phillip K Dick's vision of the future was among other things, awe-inspiring, dark, and viscerally, just below the surface, frightening.  This was the essence of Blade Runner, and a big part of the reason it is now the classic of the genre.
        Director John Woo, on the other hand, has decided to ignore all this and go his merry neo-Hollywood way.  Skipping lightly over the 'science' of the marvellous new lens that could observe the curvature of the Universe itself, he concentrated on how to give PAYCHECK a warm and cozy Hollywood ending, where all the 'good guys' live happily ever after, and all the 'baddies' get their comeuppance.   As the film concluded we could see that John Woo had succumbed to Hollywood's threats not to show anyone actually being shot - but it was OK to knock them out with a pole....  Gawd, what did we do, where did we go wrong, to deserve this directorial kowtowing?  I left the theater, for once, without waiting for the credits, feeling slightly angry at having witnessed the potential of greatness squandered by pandering, gutless direction.
         Hang down your head, John Woo, and don't come back until you get the message.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "Show a man his future, and he has none."

2003,    Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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