Paycheck is the latest Philip K. Dick story to be turned into movie. While the short story this film is based on is quite good, the film version, just based on the trailed and the synopsis, doesn’t lead me to believe that Paycheck will be another Minority Report in terms of quality.
Why? Well, first of, the following 7 words should never be used together: “Ben Affleck is a brilliant computer engineer”. Riiiiight. All I think of when I see Affleck’s name is that duck from the Aflack commericals. “Affleck!”. Secondly, the movie is directed by John Woo. Ok, this means an action movie. The short story isn’t about action, although there is some. Since its Philip Dick, its about reality and our perceptions of it. I won’t go in to detail so as not to spoil the plot.
Third, and finally, the whole movie premise is based on Affleck being a super “reverse engineer” guy. Again, riiiight. We’re supposed to believe that there is a person (or persons) who are so gifted that they can reverse engineer just about anything. Why would you want to reverse engineer anything mechanical or electrical? Its not like a new product is going to be using some unknown law of physics that needs to be figured out. Reverse engineer really only comes in to play when dealing with more intellectual property. Software, firmware, etc. Compaq didn’t reverse engineer the IBM PC. They didn’t have to. The fundamentals of computer design are well known. What Compaq did reverse engineer was the BIOS that allowed the software to run on a PC. The rest is history. I guess I’m saying the premise pretty much ruins the story for me and the attempt to make it an action/adventure type movie doesn’t appeal to me either.
I could be wrong. They could turn this into a really good movie. But then again, we’re not talking Spielberg here.