Paycheck is an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story directed by John Woo and scored by John Powell. Powell's previous work on films like Shrek, Two Weeks Notice, and Woo's Face/Off showed a flair for fusing contemporary and classical, and his work here is a flawless stew of electronic mayhem and orchestral elegance. The piano cues employed throughout the piece bring to mind the schizophrenic motif from the Nightmare on Elm Street films, and they provide a sinister breath between the bombast of tracks like "Hog Chase" -- a mad concoction dripping with James Bond-meets-Bollywood excess. Scoring action movies must be a tiresome assignment, as a great deal of the composer's time is spent propelling characters through the films at a speed that defies the establishment of memorable musical interludes. Powell manages to find a unique middle ground, utilizing percussion as his engine and strings as his vehicle. The result is a lush, textured joyride that stands apart from the film it was designed for, and an exercise in utility with an emphasis on creativity.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
|Paycheck, film score|