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Renegade Reverse Engineering - John Woo Style 397

Posted by Hemos
from the memento-with-two-pistols dept.
MankyD writes "Just saw the trailer to a new John Woo film over at apple.com called PayCheck. Written by Phillip K Dick of Blade Runner and Minority Report, its a story about a top notch reverse engineer (Ben Affleck) who, after a quick memory wipe, finds trying to piece together the mystery of his past. It's also got Uma Thurman as the female lead. Unfortunately the website isn't up and running yet, and the premise of the movie seems a little far fetched, but this still ought to be a fun one."
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Renegade Reverse Engineering - John Woo Style

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  • by QEDog (610238) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:50PM (#6692528)
    its a story about a top notch reverse engineer who, after a quick memory wipe, finds trying to piece together the mystery of his past... Unfortunately the website isn't up and running yet
    Duh! They wiped his memory and his website too.
  • by jvarsoke (80870) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:51PM (#6692530)
    Did anyone else see "Ben Afleck" and stop reading?
    • by ajlitt (19055) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:53PM (#6692541)
      I disagree. He was much more believable in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back [imdb.com].
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:19AM (#6692679)


      Surely Gigli is more notable, with it's record-breaking 1.5 IMDB rating [imdb.com], up a full 7% from the 1.4 it had when I first heard about it last week.

      • by spectecjr (31235) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @01:31AM (#6692917) Homepage
        Gigli has, to date, raked in an amazing $5,600,000. (It cost $54,000,000 to make, not including marketing).

        Freddy Got Fingered, however, has grossed $14,249,005 to date, and cost $15,000,000 to make.

        Let's hope that Gigli doesn't get close.

        It's sad to think that for $15,000 (give or take), I can make a 35 minute short which will be much more entertaining than this (the script is ready, it's nearly completely cast, all we need is a location and financing). Yet I'm having trouble getting the money to do my short, while crap like this has no trouble getting cash.

        Simon
        • I read somewhere (the infamous somewhere...) that it's the product placement and the McDonalds tie-ins that make or break the movie. Perhaps not enough in this case, but enough to make other movies that seem like bombs worthwhile.
        • by squaretorus (459130) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @05:57AM (#6693690) Homepage Journal
          It's sad to think that for $15,000 (give or take),

          If its gonna be that good can I suggest CREDIT CARDS!!!!!! As my dad always says : Entrepreneurship starts with 5 credit card applications, and ends with bankrupcy or marble floors. Give it a go! You know you want to!
    • by Stormie (708) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:40AM (#6692767) Homepage

      Come on, Affleck was the bomb in "Phantoms" !!!

  • Uma (Score:3, Funny)

    by daeley (126313) * on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:56PM (#6692555) Homepage
    Stop! You had me at "Uma Thurman as the female lead."
  • by noewun (591275) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:57PM (#6692562) Journal
    It's "Philip K. Dick, whose novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was adapted by Ridley Scott into the brilliant sci-fi movie Blade Runner, and whose short story Minority Report was turned into a steaming pile of crap by Steven Spielberg."
    • by fm6 (162816)
      You do need to distinguish between the author of the book the movie was based on, and the people who made the movie itself. Not doing so is lazy and sloppy. And in the case of Blade Runner it's just plain stupid -- nobody who's seen it and also read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? see much of a resemblance between the two. They both had artificial people in them, that's about it.

      I carefully avoid seeing any Steven Spielberg movies, but I'm not persuaded that Ridley Scott is anything brilliant either.

      • Agree with your first paragraph.

        The success of Blade Runner, though, has nothing to do with fidelity to the text nor with the quality of the dialog. Scott had the foresight to obsessively construct a viable world and to put it in the background.

        Anyone today who goes to the trouble that Scott did usually highlights their work, like in Minority Report, a film you didnt see. It constantly screams "Look at me, I'm technology!"

      • Really, Blade Runner pulls a fair number of components from the story and world of Do Androids..., but as another has said, Ridley Scotts main accomplishment is his creation of an environment suffused with futuristic ambiance.

        Predictably, what is most absent from both Dick adaptations is the more philosophical edge. In Minority Report in particular the whole issue of the implications of alternate possible futures devolves to a mere plot device.

        And sigh, yes, where IS a director consistently interested

    • by R.Caley (126968) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @04:23AM (#6693420)
      It's "Philip K. Dick, whose novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was adapted by Ridley Scott [...]

      s/adapted/ignored/

    • by HBergeron (71031)
      Funny, but also so very true. While after 20 years Blade Runner is still the ultimate cyberpunk film (not that someone couldn't make a better one, they just don't seem to be trying.) Minority Report - whose riffs on justice and government power were desperately needed at the exact moment the movie was released, was exactly that steaming pile of crap. By failing to address those themes in the way that Dick had at such a crucial moment in time, Spielberg committed more then the artistic sin of being a hack,
  • by useosx (693652) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:58PM (#6692563)
    ...Ben Affleck is a master at reverse engineering??? I'm sorry I can't stop laughing. I can picture him "thinking really hard", "staring at the screen", "putting the pieces together", etc. God, this should be a good one, I can't wait.

    Can he reverse engineer JoLo's booty?
  • awesome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:59PM (#6692572) Homepage
    Philip K. Dick is awesome, but I've always kind of been on the fence about John Woo and Ben Affleck. I'll probably bow down to the hollywood Gods and go see it. However, I'll go hoping for the best and expecting the worst.
  • by Lxy (80823) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:01AM (#6692583) Journal
    ...a story about a top notch reverse engineer (Ben Affleck) who, after a quick memory wipe, finds trying to piece together the mystery of his past.

    After seeing Gigli, I wished for a quick memory wipe.
    • by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:25AM (#6692701)
      After seeing Gigli, I wished for a quick memory wipe.

      Carefull, if you did that, you might decide to go see it again.

      And when the memory wipe wore off (they always seem to in movies, don't they?) you'd have seen it twice. Or maybe more if you'd gotten the idea more than once!

  • Sounds Like ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Honig the Apothecary (515163) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:04AM (#6692603)
    after a quick memory wipe, finds trying to piece together the mystery of his past

    This sounds like Memento [imdb.com]. Maybe instead of a polaroid and tattoos, they will use a pda or cell phone with acamera for him to remember what happened.Or not.

    Although the Uma aspect is tantalizing. :-)

    Honig
    • That would be a very short movie, because he'd look in his PDA and find out everything he did that day. Case closed!
    • three days of the condor, total recall and other films about amnesia.

      "I can't remember anything and why is everyone trying to kill me".

      Sheesh, I vaguely remember black and white movies with that as a theme.

      IMDB [imdb.com] seems to think Ben plays an electrician!? I find the idea of Ben playing "top notch engineer" about as convincing as Elizabeth Shue [imdb.com] playing a nuclear physicist
  • Here's the IMDB listing for the movie. [imdb.com]

    According to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database [tamu.edu], the story originally came out in 1953. (It's one of the Dick stories I haven't read yet.) Dick always was waaaaay ahead of the curve. (Anyone else notice how dead-on the youth-culture extropilations of Time Out of Joint were?)

    Maybe we can hope for John Woo to return to his previous form of Hard Boiled and The Killer.
    • PKD was so paranoid and loony that no-one -- least of all himself -- though his stuff would be seen as anything but pulp fantasy. And now it's creepy how spot on he could be about some things.
      • Read his last three books, VALIS, Divine Invasion and the Transmigration of Timothy Acher. These were in no way pulp fantasy, they were incredibly deep and meaningful and beautiful and ugly all in one. They were truth.

        I'd love to see someone turn the VALIS trilogy into a movie and actually make it work and stay true to the book. The only names I can think of are combinations of people such as the Warchoski bros crossed with David Lynch.

    • Anyone else notice how dead-on the youth-culture extropilations of Time Out of Joint were?

      I just finished Time Out of Joint yesterday :) What do you mean exactly?
  • by Farley Mullet (604326) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:06AM (#6692618)

    C'mon guys, I can see the ad for this movie if I go to the Apple trailers site [apple.com], a site dedicated to advertising. I don't need to see ads posted as news on this putatively news site. Given the size and interests of /.'s readership, I understand why studios and production companies want to start phoney "grassroots" buzz about their films here, but do the editors really have to accept the story submissions?

    • Given the size and interests of /.'s readership, I understand why studios and production companies want to start phoney "grassroots" buzz about their films here, but do the editors really have to accept the story submissions?

      Although I agree that this is sort of tenuous as far as /. news goes, my guess is that if the story really was submitted by an undercover marketer, they would have at least waited for the website to be online. At least, I'd wait until then.

  • by r00tarded (553054) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:15AM (#6692661)
    At the end he figures out he was the male lead in Gigli and re-wipes his brain.
  • a cursed writer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pgjpgj (690039) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @12:29AM (#6692718)
    PKD has been dead 21 years, doomed in life to being treated like a hack and in death to having his work mutilated by hacks. Hollywood has a knack for picking up only the most superficial details and missing the creepy paranoid subtleties that make the fiction so memorable. Of the half-dozen efforts to date, only "Screamers" (relatively obscure low-budget effort) and parts of "Blade Runner" are even modest approximations of the works upon which they are based. I have low expectations for "Paycheck": one of his earliest short stories, too long and clumsily plotted compared his masterpieces of the 60's and 70's. I fantasize about what a first-rate director could do with "Martian Time Slip", "Man in the High Castle", or especially "A Scanner Darkly". As long as crap star vehicles with the likes of bozos like Affleck continue to get greenlighted, fantasy it will remain.
    • "Screamers" was very underrated for what it achieved, probably due to the lack of 'megastar' actors in it.

      It was good sci-fi that was well executed.

      You didn't laugh at anything rediculous, because there wasn't anything, you could believe in each part of the film.
  • come on.... we see way to many films with this guy and frankly he has gotten on my nerves...

    and talk about bad casting?

    does anyone here look at afleck and think he's worthy of being a hacker?
  • Chase scene (Score:2, Funny)

    by aardwolf204 (630780)
    Well, if its going to make it in the theaters its going to have to have a chase scene in NYC, but who is he going to be running from?

    My question is, who is going to play the DMCA?
  • A) It's a John Woo flick made in Hollywood.


    A - also) It's got Ben Affleck in it.

    Either one would be enough to ruin it. Both, together? There are two possibilities: it'll stink worse than Daredevil, Swordfish & Gigli combined, or the combination of such evil crapiness will flip the "sucks" bit and Uma Thurman will cause it to not suck at all.

  • No, not, "Where to we stand on the matter of the MPAA?" Where do I stand and where do you stand on the matter of the MPAA?

    I would urge everyone to, when then find themselves facing the dilema of whether or not to financially support the MPAA, to not just say, "Oh, isn't that funny; yesterday we hated them, and today we will support them," and shrug off the matter.

    If you generally accept the business practices of the MPAA and member studios, peace be upon you, but I can offer you nothing further. If not:

    C
    • What? (Score:3, Funny)

      by autopr0n (534291)
      What's wrong with letting us know what movies to pirate off the kazzalite?
      • "What's wrong with letting us know what movies to pirate off the kazalite?"

        =)

        Hah, a good one, my man!

        Perhaps there is no shame in taking what is freely given to you. While I do not violate copyrights, I also do not have any hatred for those who do, and believe there may arise situations where we must do so.

        When you do so in the privacy of your own home, alone, perhaps the implications for public endorsement are much less pronounced.

        To another point, I also do realize the potential hypocrisy of posting
  • Will it have two adversaries face off pointing their guns at each other and smiling? Will the guns then be empty?

    Will it have the adversaries come at each other while the camera zooms in on the convergence point?

    Will it use wire-fu?

    Will the screenplay be written by an ADHD ten-year-old?

    Will it run Linux?

    (okay, that last one doesn't have anything to do with John Woo films, it just seems to be a requirement for this site...)
  • ...the premise of the movie seems a little far fetched...

    You mean unlike Face/Off, The Matrix movies or the Terminatormovies??? You must be a big fan of documentaries...

  • by friscolr (124774) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @01:07AM (#6692856) Homepage
    Paycheck, I have it in a 1977 Del Rey Compilation (the cover is a multi-sphered space structure, i think, it's rather worn). It's typical Dick, listed as (c)1953 Greenleaf Publications, Inc, for June 1953 Imagination, and the story reads like many other of his stories from that time period. It's witty, innovative, and, to today's audience, 100% cheesy.

    For reference to other movies, Minority Report [imdb.com] was published in 1954, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (Total Recall [imdb.com]) published 1965, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep (Blade Runner [imdb.com]) published 1968, Second Variety (Screamers [imdb.com]) published 1953, Impostor [imdb.com] published 1953.

    Personally i really enjoy the cheesy wit that most of his short stories are innundated with, and am looking forward to Paycheck, despite my apprehension with Ben Affleck (god, that jaw!).

    If you want to read PKD, i think his best stuff was from the late 60's early 70's. The short stories from the 50's and early 60's feel like quick thoughts that PKD was shooting out on the fly, stuff he was thinking through on his way to later full thoughts. His stories after the mid-70's (there aren't many) are too ethereal and "out there", almost to the point of being unreadable. And for a very different sort of work by PKD, read Confessions of a Crap Artist.

    Disclaimer: I've read a substantial amount of PKD, but as he was such a prolific writer, i've read nowhere near all or even most of his work.

    As for John Woo, I've enjoyed his style in Face/Off [imdb.com] and Broken Arrow [imdb.com], and in both he had to overcome the Actor Wraith John Travolta (lately seems to act so bad that he sucks the acting ability out of others). Hell, Hard Target [imdb.com] even had some style thanks to John Woo, and it's a Van Damme movie. Presumably he'll be able to work through Ben's jaw as well.

    It's too bad the rumours of John Woo doing a TMNT movie aren't true [countingdown.com].

    • Paycheck, I have it in a 1977 Del Rey Compilation (the cover is a multi-sphered space structure, i think, it's rather worn). It's typical Dick, listed as (c)1953 Greenleaf Publications, Inc, for June 1953 Imagination, and the story reads like many other of his stories from that time period. It's witty, innovative, and, to today's audience, 100% cheesy.

      I have it in one of the volumes of Dick's collected short stories. I have to admit I thought it standed out among the crowd. The story flowed better and
  • Eventually, because of his reverse engineering, Ben Affleck gets arrested by the FBI -- but not after twenty minutes of gratuitous John Woo-style explosions, culminating in the hand grenade explosion which has an equivalent fireball as igniting twenty-five barrels of gasoline and highly combustible oil filled with iron and aluminum powder. His arrest seems to stem from the fact that he reverse engineered the wrong product and got tied up in court on a DMCA violation. Fast forward through five or ten minut
  • I've been knowing (and doubting) about this project ever since it was confirmed, especially given the male lead (I have already decided that when my cat, Chuck Norris, is dead the next one will be called Ben Affleck) and John Woo's slow and pathetic descent from the epic style of his Hong Kong classics to the worst of Hollywood action trash.

    And yet, each time he puts a new movie out the door I have faith, and I go see it on opening day, even though I know M:I-2 and Windtalkers are going to suck I go there
  • There is no reverse engineer in the story.

    "Electrical wiring. I'm an electrician. Television, rockets, computers. That sort of stuff."

    I can see where a bunch of "action" stuff could be shoved in. The electrician is a common character in PKD's stories.

    He had his memory wiped as part of a contract working for a large company. The goverment is a Police State, except that corps are still individual entities. The SP (special police) want to know what Jennings (the main character) was doing working there.
  • by Bugmaster (227959) on Thursday August 14, 2003 @02:15AM (#6693026) Homepage
    The voice-over in the trailer states that, "in the future", corporations will use reverse-engineering to learn each other's secrets. I think someone in Hollywood has their wires crossed -- because that's what corporations do now.

    A more realistic trailer would involve something like this:

    Voiceover: To learn how something works, you must first take it apart (*). But, in the past, reverse-engineering was outlawed by the megacorporations. Technological innovation has stopped. Now, 20 years in the future, one man strives to revive the old arts...
    Ben Affleck: Hmm. So to tighten the screw, you can only turn it clockwise ! Ingenious !
    Voiceover: But now, he must race against time as corporate forces are closing in...
    Jack-booted thug: Ben Affleck ! You are charged with the violation of DMCA in the first degree. By the powers invested in me by RIAA/MPAA, I pronounce your warranty void !
    Ben Affleck: Aiiieee ! The Fritz Chip ! In my head ! Erasing... memory... Must remember... which... way... screws... turn...
    Voiceover: Will this dangerous criminal be brought to justice ? It is your duty as a consumer to watch this movie NOW and find out. Remember: you belong to the MPAA.

    (*) actual trailer quote

  • the premise of the movie seems a little far fetched

    A Philip K. Dick story far fetched? Surely you jest!

  • I've just (coincidentally) finished this story, from the first (very excellent) collection of P.K.D. short stories, "Beyond Lies The Wub". I've ordered the remaining 4 books in the series on the strength of that.

    The book concentrates on the individual's loss of power in the face of the tension between omnipresent government and big business.

    Our hero, Jennings, an electronics engineer signs a two year contract with Rethrick Industries - a catch being that all knowledge of his two years with them will be surgically removed on leaving. This is pretty much where the story starts.

    On attempting to collect payment at the end of his mysterious contract he is presented instead with a bag of apparently "trinkets": bits of wire, tickets, a broken poker chip etc. He is told that he (before his memory was wiped) supplied the items to be given back instead of the money. He's obviously not pleased.

    However as the story progresses these "trinkets" become far more valuable than money ever could...

    And there I shall stop.

    I enjoyed the story. I'm 3/4 of the way through "Beyond Lies The Wub" and at the end of almost every story I end up thinking "Ooh, XYZ really ripped off some of these ideas for this film or that book".

    What amazes me about Dick is how stories written in the 50's haven't dated, either socially or (often) technologically.

    In "Wub" there is a very interesting preface by Dick himself and some extra context set in a posthumous introduction by Roger Zelanzy a friend of his.

    If you haven't read any of his stuff before (I hadn't) then this collection is a great place to start.
  • Geez...judging solely by the rate of book-to-movie conversions you'd think Philip K Dick was the only Science Fiction author who ever put pen to paper. Okay he was good and all that, but there have been many many good science fiction authors then and since. This just reflects a maddening lack of imagination on Hollywood's part (oh what a surprise).
    • Philip K Dick was the only Science Fiction

      Yeah, I mean there's L Ron Hubbard too...

      • The late L. Ron specialized in what was more or less old fashioned space opera - typical Hollywood fodder - so what with that and the fact that his cult seems to have assimilated half of the citizenry of Beverly Hills...

        Actually though I'm no fan of Scientology, that "Invader's Plan" decalogy wasn't a bad read in a page-turning potboiler kind of way. You can just imagine the movie financiers drooling as they comtemplate a series of ten badly scripted movies.
  • the hacker will be some buffed, good looking cool dude who gets the chicks. I know its fiction but come on. Was anyone convinced that Hugh Jackman was a hacker in swordfish. I mean he used toi be a hacker but now he works the oil fields.

    'Pumping is hard...gloibens'
  • Ben Asslick, star of the critically abashed Gigli, in Johnny Mnemonic 2.
  • or is this poetic license - someone actually holds this title? i thought it was a verb, not a noun...
  • Ben Affleck, forgets who he is, (goes for crazy mini chase through Paris streets), saves the day.

    Where have I seen that before?
  • I haven't seen the trailer, but I imagine they are going to turn this into another action thriller with lots of chase scenes. I've read a few P.K. Dick books and they are not, first and foremost, action flicks. Dick's books tend to be situational dramas with occasional, short, intense bursts of action. Blade Runner is the only P.K. Dick based movie that came close to the spirit of alienation and disjointed reality that is P. K. Dick (although many liberties were taken with the details).

    I'm waiting for s

  • Johnny Mnemonic meets Memento.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader

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