Paycheck, the movie from a Dick short story

So this guy has bits of his memory erased (see Johnny Mnemonic, Total Recall) and has to put his missing memories together to save his life (see Memento, Total Recall) and there is a love interest who helps him (see a dozen other action flicks including Total Recall).

It's an average action flick for all that. Ben Affleck is great. Like everyone else I really like him as an actor even though he still hasn't found a really good movie to star in.

Now, I can accept some initial hanky panky to create a story, so long as the rest of the plot flows smoothly.

First, he is supposed to be a wunderkind genius engineer, but he is also a big muscular guy who fights and thinks like a secret agent. I know a lot of engineers, and I don't know any who fit that bill.

I can overlook that. As an engineer, I would like to think that kind of thing is possible.

However, there are two things that kept smacking me in the face that I really couldn't accept:

***spoilers -- don't read if you haven't seen the movie and want to***

(1) these little items that he stuck in a paper envelope and somehow managed not to lose through all his running and hiding and getting shot at (bonus: the envelope didn't even get frayed) were a stretch. Okay, so he could see the future, but come on.

An FBI agent who is supposed to be clever yet he lights up under a smoke detector? A paperclip jammed into a complicated electrical circuit that instead of frying the works, only does exactly what he needs it to do? A quarter that does the same thing? These things would only work if he could also make the future happen!

(2) now, follow me through this one: (a) he sees the future and knows he has to destroy the machine because it's bad; (b) he inserts a bug into the works so no one else can use the machine; (c) he sends himself a bunch of stuff to remind himself he has to go back to remove the bug and destroy the machine.

Question: why didn't he just make the bug destroy the machine in the first place???

Oh right -- because then there would be no movie.


Supposedly this came from a Philip K. Dick short story. I hope the story wasn't as badly written as this script.

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EmptyKube's picture

Re:Paycheck, the movie from a Dick short story

[quote]Supposedly this came from a Philip K. Dick short story. I hope the story wasn't as badly written as this script.

The Dick story is less about the machine having to be destroyed and more about a guy who has no memory of who is or why. He knows he was offered achoice between the items he carries and loads of money. He chose the trinkets. Why? The story, like a lot of PKD's stuff is about not being who you think you are and discovering the truth. Great story, but you can't really convey that sort of thing easily in movie format. Unless you're a really good film maker:)

Thanks for the review. Wasn't sure if the movie would be worth it or not.