Netflix February 2016_day.24 – Paycheck (2003)

_I was thinking about the Wall of Sound earlier today, which got me to thinking about separating an artist from his work. I don’t really know the details of the case at all, but…the dude got put away for murder. But…wall of sound. You put those things together now…I mean, granted, it’s not like “You’re supporting Phil Spector if you listen to Wall of Sound-esque recordings!” but…yeah. I dunno. Can you say “Yo, I admire the production of this murderer!”

Ignorance is a lot easier than thinking about that kind of stuff.


“They pay him to forget once the job is done. But this time, he’ll need to remember … if he’s going to survive.”

Time to receive our Paycheck.

_Man…this movie was all kinds of incredible. Incredible in the best ways. So Ben Affleck plays a reverse engineer, taking apart technology, reverse engineering it to build a version for competitors, and then getting his memory of building the product erased as a kind of super NDA.

So naturally, that guy is the perfect protagonist for a John Woo action movie.

_Ben Affleck helps with this thing, then gets his mind wiped for $90 million, only when he goes to collect, he finds that all he has is a manila envelope with 20 random items in it. Straaaannnnnngggggggeeeeee…

It turns out, they’re items he sent himself. Because he saw the future, and sent himself these items to guide him through the events to come.

Fuck yes, I love it.

_I love the part 20 minutes into the movie, where Affleck empties the contents of the envelope onto a bed, then he starts arranging them while dialog clips from up to this point of the movie start playing over the dramatic music. Quick cuts, flashbacks…and suddenly, the camera zooms out, and Ben has arranged all the items in the shape of a question mark.

Yes. Yes yes yes. They basically built the trailer directly into the movie. Fuck yes.

_So. This engineer. We can tell from a gratuitous bo staff training section from the beginning of the movie (Yeah, that’s a thing) that he’s super bad ass. So…he can totally get into a mexican stand off with a guy on train tracks, then drop the clips and kick it into the electrified 3rd rail to create a bullet explosion.

He can also go into a controlled slide on a motorcycle to kick up gravel into an oncoming car’s windshield, causing it to run into a barricade and explode.

_So I was talking to a friend about Uma Thurman…it was hard to explain her attractiveness. I had to think really hard to properly express it. It’s something like…when I think about Uma Thurman in my head, I’m like “Eh, she’s ok.” But when I actually see her, I’m like “Man…she’s really hot.” If you were to ask me “Who’s more attractive, Uma Thurman or [Random Good Looking Actress]” I’d probably respond with Random Actress, but if you showed me pictures of Uma and Random, I’d go “Wait, wait, wait a second…I think I’m going with Uma.”

So I decided the best way to describe her good looks is that Uma Thurman is more attractive in practice than theory.

It seems kind of mean to describe a person like they’re an abstract idea, but it seems like the most apt metaphor.

_So even in this, one of the more tame John Woo affairs you’ll ever see, it has a lot of trademark Woo flair. Yes, mexican standoffs. Yes, a white dove. But the more Woo-ian thing of all is the amount of action bullets cause. In a lot of action movies, bullets fly, and they either hit people, cause a hole in a surface, or just whiff and do nothing. In John Woo movies, bullets either hit people, or they strike a surface and cause everything around the impact within a 3 foot radius to fly up into the air in a tiny burst or energy. Bullet hits a magazine stand? Every page on the rack feels the sting. Bullet hits a metal surface? Giant burst of sparks. Bullet hits a coffee mug? Mug shatters and all of the silverware on the table flies into the air. It’s one of the things Woo excels at: When a action is performed in an action sequence, then tend to always cause something, even if it’s just a visual flourish.


_Stop by tomorrow, cause we’ll be seeing something. Witness. See you then~

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