Paycheck (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum

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Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews

Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts
09:10 AM Liked: 688
post #1 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 9,510
Joined: Mar 2002
attachment.php?attachmentid=142714&d=1242312988
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

85






Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 118 Minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Aaron Eckert, Joe Morton, Michael C. Hall, Paul Giamatti, Colm Feore
Directed by: John Woo
Music by: John Powell
Written by: Dean Georgaris based on the short story by Philip K. Dick
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 19, 2009







"Remember the future"



Film Synopsis:

In a futuristic but familiar world, a high-tech engineer whose memory has been partially erased must use a group of unrelated objects, including a wire, a ticket stub and a bus token as clues to discover the truth about his previous identity, and collect a paycheck he had been awaiting. Based on the short story by science fiction author Phillip K. Dick.




My Take:

Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) is a brilliant computer engineer hired for top-secret projects. After each job, Jennings' short-term memory is erased so he cannot recount any project information. Emerging from his latest assignment, a three-year contract with an eight-figure paycheck given to him by his longtime friend (Aaron Eckhart), Jennings is jolted when he is told that during the end of his assignment, he agreed to forfeit all payment. Jennings has no recourse-until he receives a mysterious envelope containing clues to his forgotten past. With the help of a beautiful scientist (Uma Thurman) he once loved but now cannot remember, Jennings races to solve the puzzle of his past...while a terrifying discovery waits in his future.

I have owned Paycheck on DVD for a number of years. I don't mind its over the top and unlikely story and fully appreciating that it really never takes itself too seriously. John Woo's patented directional style is on full display and the action provides plenty of mindless entertainment. Don't go looking for competent hitmen, realistically portrayed federal agents, typical scientist/engineer types, or deep characters. Instead you will find a bit of a contrived, follow the bread crumbs premise, along with several interesting but undeveloped characters, and a very decent cast that are wrapped up in a fairly entertaining sci-fi action thriller. If kept in the right perspective it has something viable to offer.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense action violence and some language.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Paycheck comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.4 mbps.

This is an excellent video presentation that offers a measurable improvement over the standard definition DVD. It boasts refining detail and crisp definition that reveals plenty of fine minutia, and textural nuance during close-ups. Depth and dimension is appreciable during close-ups and mid level camera angles. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep, beautifully rendered primaries (especially reds) that are eye catching without appearing unnatural. Fleshtones follow suit and appear lilfelike and delineated. Blacks and contrast are strong and dynamic in appearance which provides pop when onscreen with mixed content. Shadow detail is good but not definitively resolvable which leaves some darker scenes feeling less dimensional. I noticed during some of the brightly lit scenes that the video has an edgy (artificial) sharpness. I didn't see any obvious signs of ringing or halos around objects but I feel it was worth noting. Digital noise can be seen on the light colored background walls in the lobby at Allcom in the first scene when Mike (Affleck) arrives. I saw the same thing on the rear walls in the food court sequence. Debris/speckles and faint vertical lines are also visible on the print from time to time. Grain is present and its light unobtrusive texture appears natural. This isn't a perfect and pristine quality rendering however overall quality is excellent and this film has never looked better on home video.

I was impressed with the quality of this Dolby TrueHD sound mix. I felt that the DVD had a very decent and fairly dynamic soundtrack but this certainly offers a discernible improvement. This comes in the form of high level detail, defining clarity, and rich, room filling surround sound that doesn't disappoint. This is an active sound design that incorporates a vast number of sound effects that are intricately mixed to engage the listening position. Bass is robust and can sometimes be substantive in depth but never rises inappropriately in prominence within the soundfield. The delicate blend of John Powell's stirring music, discrete/ambient sounds, crystalline dialogue and invigorating bass is supremely enriching as it weaves an aurally stimulating pattern across the entire surround platform.



Bonus Features:


  • Commentary by Director John Woo

  • Commentary by Screenwriter Dean Georgaris

  • Paycheck: Designing the future - 18 minute making of featurette

  • Tempting fate: The stunts of Paycheck - 16 minute featurette

  • 7 Deleted/extended scenes




Final Thoughts:

Paycheck is a fun, sci-fi popcorn flick that is best watched with your brain checked at the door. Its premise isn't new, but the story, over the top action sequences and good casting make it an enjoyable watch for genre fans. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount features audio/video quality that easily surpasses any previous home video release. The bonus supplements are highlighted by two commentary tracks. The two remaining featurettes/deleted scenes are standard fare but are worth checking out. This is a worthy upgrade for fans. If you haven't seen it give it a rent prior to purchase.








attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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pjonkheer's Avatar pjonkheer
09:32 AM Liked: 10
post #2 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 187
Joined: Dec 2003
Why only 2.5 points for this film? I could be wrong but I do not recall any serious plot holes or anything like that which would hugely degrade the overall rating of this film.

By the way, I love your reviews Ralph. I check for a new one every day! Keep 'em coming.
JamE55's Avatar JamE55
12:18 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 1,192
Joined: Jul 2008
Great film and story. Definitely a collectors item.
KY Colonel's Avatar KY Colonel
01:01 PM Liked: 10
post #4 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 212
Joined: Nov 2007
The story is too contrived about future events. I wonder how he knows which piece in the envelope he needs to use to get away from keystone cops and moron hitmen from conglomerate America. I advise the film if you want something mindless and pointless about America greed.
rezzy's Avatar rezzy
05:42 PM Liked: 47
post #5 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 7,796
Joined: Mar 2003
A bit silly, but I guess it's good for one viewing.
muffinmcfluffin's Avatar muffinmcfluffin
08:26 PM Liked: 69
post #6 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 1,304
Joined: Jun 2005
I bet people will see Aaron Eckhart and Ben Affleck in different lights now for their respective roles in The Dark Knight and State of Play. Hell, if it helps in sales, I'm okay with it.

I'll buy this the instant I can sell my DVD version.
stepyourgameup's Avatar stepyourgameup
08:42 PM Liked: 29
post #7 of 16
05-14-2009 | Posts: 1,469
Joined: Jul 2008
Two things about this movie that make it unwatchable for me.....Ben Affleck and John Woo.
Franin's Avatar Franin
06:56 AM Liked: 297
post #8 of 16
05-19-2009 | Posts: 17,569
Joined: Aug 2007
This is one of my favorite film can't wait to get this copy.
Dave Vaughn's Avatar Dave Vaughn
08:14 AM Liked: 108
post #9 of 16
05-19-2009 | Posts: 4,358
Joined: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

Two things about this movie that make it unwatchable for me.....Ben Affleck and John Woo.

Agree 100%.
Morpheo's Avatar Morpheo
11:26 AM Liked: 341
post #10 of 16
05-21-2009 | Posts: 6,700
Joined: Dec 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by muffinmcfluffin View Post

I bet people will see Aaron Eckhart and Ben Affleck in different lights now for their respective roles in The Dark Knight and State of Play. Hell, if it helps in sales, I'm okay with it.

I'll buy this the instant I can sell my DVD version.

I've always liked Ben Affleck anyway so... People who only know Aaron Eckhart from The Dark Knight should really watch him in Erin Brockobitch and Thank You For Smoking...
Morpheo's Avatar Morpheo
11:29 AM Liked: 341
post #11 of 16
05-21-2009 | Posts: 6,700
Joined: Dec 2006
^^^ wow, did I just spot a typo up there?!
TinMan368's Avatar TinMan368
08:10 AM Liked: 10
post #12 of 16
06-09-2009 | Posts: 179
Joined: Apr 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjonkheer View Post

I could be wrong but I do not recall any serious plot holes or anything like that which would hugely degrade the overall rating of this film.

It's been a while since I've seen this movie, but I do recall one thing that bothered the living bejesus out of me: all outgoing mail was screened but a security access card made it out of the building. Just how stupid were the people doing the screening??

The Philip K. Dick short story that this movie is (extremely) loosely based upon is infinitely more intelligent and well-executed than this screen adaptation.

BTW, I don't fault John Woo for this film's failings--he's just taken one bad script after another since Face/Off. I'm hoping he rights himself with the two-part Red Cliff.

TinMan368

*****

Trivia for 2009-June-9:

Q) Which singer/actress from Night Court scored a hit by singing with Meat Loaf on 1977's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"?

A)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Ellen Foley played defense attorney Billie Young in the 1984-85 season of the courtroom sitcom and provided the energetic vocals on the Meat Loaf classic. Ironically, only her voice appears in the video for "Dashboard Light" as she was replaced by a lip-synching Karla DeVito, a singer in her own right who regularly backed up Meat Loaf.

Cads's Avatar Cads
12:39 PM Liked: 10
post #13 of 16
06-12-2009 | Posts: 165
Joined: May 2009
"PAYCHECK" was indeed a film with a lot of potential but for Philip K. Dick stories, you want to have a smart, sci-fi thriller in combination with the action but most of all, good character development. Unfortunately, the film did not meet that potential.
Franin's Avatar Franin
05:37 AM Liked: 297
post #14 of 16
06-16-2009 | Posts: 17,569
Joined: Aug 2007
Looking forward to watch this one tonight.
Franin's Avatar Franin
10:27 AM Liked: 297
post #15 of 16
06-16-2009 | Posts: 17,569
Joined: Aug 2007
Just finished watching it and your review is spot on regarding PQ and AQ. Great film!
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts
02:47 AM Liked: 688
post #16 of 16
06-17-2009 | Posts: 9,510
Joined: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Just finished watching it and your review is spot on regarding PQ and AQ. Great film!

Greetings,

Glad to hear you enjoyed it Frank. Thanks for sharing your thoughts..


Cheers,
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