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Paycheck (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi  |  25 December 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 86,727 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 342 user | 194 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

What seemed like a breezy idea for an engineer to net him millions of dollars, leaves him on the run for his life and piecing together why he's being chased.



(short story), (screenplay)
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rita Dunne
Christopher Kennedy ...
Agent Fuman
Agent Mitchell
Jude - Guard


Michael Jennings is a reverse engineer and what he does is technical jobs for certain companies and as soon as he is done, his memory of the work he has done is wiped out. Now the longest he has been contracted is 2 months. But now billionaire, James Rethrick offers him a job that would last 2 years, maybe 3, and he promises that he will probably earn 8 figures. Michael agrees. Before beginning he turns in all of his personal effects. And when the job is done, his memory is erased and he learns he made over 90 million dollars over the three years. When he goes to claim it and his personal effects, he discovers that prior to the erasure of his memory he waived his rights to the money he earned and that the items that were given to him were not the ones he gave when he began. Later he is arrested by the FBI who say that he committed some act of treason and murder. It's while he is in custody that he escapes using some the items that he was given. He later meets with a friend who gives ... Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Remember the future. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense action violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pago  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,462,374 (USA) (26 December 2003)


$2,141,356 (Japan) (2 April 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the making of included on DVD, John Woo says that the visual similarities in the lead character to Roger Thornhill from North by Northwest (1959), as well as similarities in chase scenes etc. are there on purpose. See more »


From the date on his first paycheck we know it is 2004 but the calendar board says it is Friday December 22. 22 December 2004 was a Wednesday. See more »


[first lines]
Holographic Woman: It's time to wake up... and get a life. We live in a 3-dimensional world. Until now, the world of computing has been a flat world, consisting of 2-dimensional imagery. Now, through the use of exclusive breakthrough technology, ARC has made it possible for you to get a life. A-Life, where we can work and play in a lifelike world of 3-dimensional reality. A-Life, the living monitor.
See more »


Referenced in Will & Grace: Whatever Happened to Baby Gin? (2006) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Philip Dick Reduced to a "McGyver" Episode
19 January 2004 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Paycheck" is yet another adaptation of a Philip Dick short story that tones down his political criticism and cynicism to make a sci fi adventure flick, this time pretty much as an expensive and clever "McGyver" episode. You can tell how this is expanded from a story where the hero had five items/clues and now he has 20.

Ben Affleck is a bland Ken Doll of a hero, though Uma Furman has almost as much spunk as she did in "Kill Bill, Volume 1."

As a John Woo movie, of course the chase scenes are the best part. But the fight scenes are simply perplexing -- uh, why does Affleck's work out consist of electronic samurai stick fighting such that when the poorly-aiming bad guys all come at him with guns Uma throws him a stick to pick them off?

While I did see the movie on a scratchy print with tinny sound, I don't think that explained the confusingly bad continuity in the hair and make-up such that I thought they had been time-traveling at some tropical vacation in between scenes.

46 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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