On the surface Jumper looks like a movie I’ve been longing for – an action movie that has a character that actually embraces his or her extraordinary talent and uses it in a realistic manner (i.e., not like a superhero). Of course after seeing the movie, it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations.
The concept, I like. Loosely based off of the book of the same name by Steven Gould, Jumper captures the life of a guy, David Rice (Hayden Christensen), with the amazing gift of teleportation. Using these powers as any young man would (or a least how I would), he teleports himself around the world to lavish, breathtaking locations and into a great deal of wealth. But such travels don’t go unnoticed. There are people known as paladins who feel this ability leads to absolute corruption. They’re led by a cruel gentleman named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) and they’ve taken it upon themselves to rid the earth of jumpers and all people associated with them.
As for the execution of the film, I didn’t like it so much. Director Doug Liman (who had a strong hand in the phenomenal success of the Bourne trilogy), doesn’t get nearly enough out of this cast nor does he manage to make much sense of the screenplay that was handed to him.
Let me tackle the casting issues first. While I initially thought handing the lead role over to Christensen couldn’t do any harm (you may recall he simply destroyed Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels), I ashamedly was wrong. He had no emotional range then, and he has none now. Granted there isn’t much needed in Jumper, but a blank stare and parted lips hardly convey exasperation, fear or excitement – the main emotions needed for the movie – it shows confusion (which was basically the look of most people in the theater). Same goes for Rachel Bilson who plays Millie, the love interest in the movie. You can pretty much insert her name in place of Christensen’s in the preceding sentences, but just add she used puppy dog eyes for everything and that the cute little body she sported in The O.C., has magically left her and in its place left her some pancake titties. If she doesn’t want to end up like that rag Mischa Barton, she better get her act together – quickly.
Moving onto the story, it is so full of holes I thought I may as well be looking at a wedge of Swiss cheese. Without giving away too much, I found myself asking questions like, “If these jumpers simply appear and disappear in full view of people, why is only a secret sect of people hunting them?”, “If the paladins have been hunting jumpers for hundreds of years, why do they insist on full force attacks; wouldn’t tact be an easier avenue to capture them?”, “Why would Millie go to Rome with David when he’s been missing and presumed dead for eight years, and dodging all the questions she’s asking?” and “Why is Diane Lane first billed?”. There are, as you may presume, lots more questions without answers but the real ass kicker is the pathetic twist tossed at the ending. It is so totally out of scope that I couldn’t help but laugh at it.
As an oh yeah, I’ll mention that a great many of the locales are beautiful (Paris, France, Giza, Egypt and Rome, Italy) and some of the CGI action is impressive (teleporting, car chase), but on the whole, you can safely hop, skip and jump right past Jumper.