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James Rethrick

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I am the future, Mike!
~ James Rethrick to Michael Jennings

James Rethrick is the main antagonist in the 2003 film Paycheck.

He is portrayed by Aaron Eckhart, who also portrays Two-Face.

Biography

Rethrick is the billionaire CEO of a Seattle technology company named Allcom, and an old friend of reverse engineer Michael Jennings. Rethrick offers Jennings a three-year reverse engineering job at his company, for which he will receive a hefty reward, and Jennings accepts. At the end of the three year period, Jennings' memory is wiped and he receives a share of approximately $92 million of the company's profits. The memory wipe leaves him unaware that he has constructed a machine that is able to depict the future, based on an invention developed by physicist William Dekker (who was eliminated by Rethrick's men).

When Jennings returns home, he discovers that he has apparently given away his share of Allcom's profits for unknown reasons, and receives an envelope filled with everyday items that he had apparently sent to himself. It is later revealed that Jennings had used the machine he created to predict the future, showing him the disastrous consequences of the machine's existence, such as a nuclear strike prompted by self-fulfilling prophecies. Jennings had also used the machine to determine what items he would need to escape from various situations he had foreseen. When Jennings uses these to escape from FBI custody, Rethrick sends his men after him, knowing he plans to destroy the machine. Rethrick tries to use the machine himself in order to depict Jennings' actions, but finds that Jennings had previously jammed the machine to prevent him from doing so.

Jennings eventually returns to Allcom and reaches the machine without being captured. He manages to fix it before using it one last time, being able to see himself getting shot by an FBI agent. Rethrick and his men break into the room and battle Jennings, who sets the machine to self-destruct. When the FBI agent finally arrives and shoots at Jennings, he dodges the bullet (since he had foreseen the incident) and it hits Rethrick instead, knocking him off a gangway and killing him.

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