Film: Paycheck starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman (amongst others)
So. Ben Affleck. Action movie. Two phrases you wouldn't exactly expect to go well together, and to a degree, you'd be right. No doubt you've already at least heard rumours of how bad this film is, although if so it begs the question: why are you even reading this review?
Well, first I'll get straight to the point - I don't think this is a BAD movie. Love, Actually is a bad movie, only saved by the fact that it featured a large number of stars I recognised from great comedy series and films in prominent roles. Paycheck isn't particularly bad, it has the action you'd expect, a semi-believable plot (i'll explain this in a minute), a love story, and a (albeit uncomplicated) puzzle. Now, if you've seen the trailer, you'll know the plot centres around a specialist software/electronic engineer who, in the near future, makes a living from shady jobs by reverse-engineering competitors' products for whichever companies hire him. After each job, his memory is erased to safeguard that job. Without going into detail, he gets hired for a particularly large job, but he is offered a "minimum of 8 figures". He enters the inner sanctum of the hiring company, and is injected, as part of a new method of memory wiping. There is a little bit extra after this, but then the film skips forward to the end of the job. His memory of all the time spent on the job has just been erased. He goes to get his personal things (handed in before the job began) and sell some of his stock for cold, hard cash - and gets his first shock. He forfeit the stock, the problem is, it would've been worth just over $92,000,000 and he can't remember forfeiting it, or why he did it. Cue the first half of the film proper; he gets arrested by the FBI, manages to escape by a couple of lucky coincidences, then ends up back at the place he had his personal belongings given to (a law firm i think). By now, he's already used up 4 of the 20 personal items, and the rest are still just as puzzling.
One of the problems with this film, is that the trailers give away what could have been, if it had been kept under wraps, a good surprise part of the plot, whereas instead, I already knew what it was (the big project he was hired to work on produced a machine that can let you see into the future)
the other most noticeable problem is the amount of credibility-stretching that goes on. Action films, by their nature and by tradition feature credibility-stretching to some degree, although it varies greatly (some of the James Bond films are more believable than, for example, Matrix:Revolutions). But Paycheck has such blatantness about it at too many points in the film - it spoils the fun. It's like the film's makers are trying to test your strength "we dare you to laugh and shout out loud at the screen in the cinema. SHow everyone what a fool you are!"
Cue example 1:
during the token car chase, one of the baddies' cars slams into metal pipe that is too small for it to fit through, and promptly explodes as if a block of c4 had just detonated inside it. it's not carrying any c4, or a load of dynamite, and more stupidly on the part of the film, a minute later, another of the baddies' cars crashes and DOESN'T EVEN BURST INTO FLAME. Talk about crappy movie logic.
Cue example 2:
during the spectacular fireworks-laden finale, our hero and his woman are just the other side of a grid of glass windows. There's a big explosion the other side of the glass, throwing a bad guy through the windows (he's dead) and yet, our heroic pair survive not only the shock and deafening sound of the explosion, and the heat, they also survive a deadly shower of glass and metal shards flying at God-knows-what-speeds
But more importantly, is that there's more. Quite alot more.
Also, why is it that all industrial labs in films feature a thick layer of white smoke floating at ground level? I bet health and safety would never allow such a thing in real life