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Michael Jennings has a great job. He's a reverse engineer, paid huge sums of money to figure out how rival technology works and improve on it. In exchange for his massive paycheck, he must have his memory wiped to prevent any information leaks. Life is good.His latest project at Allcom was supposed to be his biggest yet, lasting three years and earning him enough money to finally retire - but something has gone wrong. His 8-figure payment has been replaced by a manila envelope full of random odds and ends. The FBI wants to talk to him about his apparent involvement in the death of another engineer. A lot of people are trying to kill him. Now Jennings finds himself in the strange position of having to reverse engineer his own future... before time runs out.Paycheck (2003) is a film adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, starring Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, and Aaron Eckhart, and directed by John Woo. It was received poorly by critics, but made about $30 million more than its budget back at the box office.
Cool Bike: The BMW R 1150R Rockster utilized in a chase scene. Which, of course, Jennings had bought ahead of time.
Death by Adaptation: Rethrick. In the short story Jennings simply blackmails Rethrick into letting him become a partner in running the company, while in the movie Jennings leaves himself a watch timed to tell him to move just in time to get out of the way of a bullet and allowing it to hit Rethrick.
Five Second Foreshadowing: The bad guy stands in front of the machine that shows the future, but only sees his own back, as he is futilely trying to get away from the exploding machine. He realizes that this means the machine will explode, and futilely tries to get away from it.
Memory Gambit: Knowing his memory would be wiped, Jennings left clues to lead himself to the info or escape route he needed.
Mood Whiplash: An assassin attempts to take a shot at Jennings from behind his newspaper disguise while in a subway station. Then, suddenly, a small kid with a toy revolver approaches the assassin in disguise, and "shoots" him (saying something along the lines of "Bang! Bang! You're dead!"). The assassin ignores him and takes out his long badass silenced pistol (BFG) to take aim at Jennings. The kid only seems annoyed.
Note to Self: Made difficult as the only things Jennings could sneak out were innocuous items.
Ontological Mystery: Jennings' last job and what happened on it kicks off the bulk of the plot, especially since due to the memory-erasure procedure he doesn't know why anyone would kill him over it or why he's been accused of killing someone.
Plot Tailored to the Party: As a reverse engineer, Jennings is uniquely suited to analyze the numerous potential bad futures and give himself innocuous-looking doodads to allow himself to survive.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Though the basic idea is more or less the same (Jennings completes a job and has his memory wiped, finds himself in trouble with the law with the only clues being a series of seemingly useless items he left for himself as the result of seeing his own future), the movie is a lot more elaborate than the short story. Some of the key plot elements are seen earlier in the movie, but the ending is completely different in both versions.
Retroactive Preparation: A variant. Jennings doesn't have a time machine, but he did have access to the time portal.
Screw Destiny: What the machine would hopefully do, though Jennings's initial use of it indicates it's closer to a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. The eventual conclusion seems to be that you can do it, but it's really hard.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The stamps on Jennings' envelope demonstrate this. Images of newspaper articles show that the predictions the machine makes come true but it's because the people they are given to are too quick to jump to conclusions, thereby creating the very catastrophe they were trying to avert. Jennings, an engineer, had both the time and intelligence to logically deconstruct his prophecies and give himself specific tools to avert them.
Someday This Will Come in Handy: Inverted. Jennings was working from (temporary) foreknowledge of his own future, and after his memory wipe he has to figure out what is needed where.