Ah, the sturdy piece of wood that is Hayden Christensen. Sure, a sturdy piece of wood is good for building a boat. Or a treehouse. But for acting? Not so much. I’m not saying it would have been a better film without him. But it’s a start.
Jumper is the story of a young man, David, who discovers he has the super-human ability to teleport from one location to another. But instead of using it to save the world, a la Spider-Man, he decides to go for personal gain, teleporting into banks and what not, just so he can get some money. There’s even a scene where he’s watching the news, and there are people stranded in a flood, who he could totally save with his ability, but doesn’t. Damn. What a self serving jackass, as the script wants us to believe. Then we get to the action. There’s an ancient brotherhood led by a silver coiffed Samuel L. Jackson who is trying his hardest to both keep the jumpers at bay, and go 2 minutes without saying “motherfucker.” And David is just trying to woo an old schoolmate, who by the way, has been under the impression that David’s been dead for the past 8 years, along with anyone else who ever knew him. The film quickly devolves into an exercise in flashy special effects and even flashier location shooting. Which I will give to director Doug Liman as being pretty cool.
I always kick it off with the acting, so here goes. Samuel L. Jackson is good, as usual. When is he not. I have a theory, that he is the black Christopher Walken. The movie could be absolute shit, but he’ll still be “OK” in it. As is mostly the case with this one. He seems to walk through the role as if it’s just a paycheck to him, which is entirely likely. Diane Lane has become less hit and more miss recently, and this is no exception. And of course the two leads. Christensen. And Rachel Bilson. The only person I can think of with the exact same lack of charisma as Christensen. Put the two together and you get… well.. Jumper.
What happened to David Goyer? He did Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, all of the Blade movies, and coming up he’s got The Flash and Magneto. So promising was his writing career. Then he turns out this P.O.S. that is an hour and a half of plot holes and missed opportunities. And that could be due to Liman not able to work the sci-fi angle. But come on. There could have been great fight scenes. Don’t get me wrong, the ones they had were fantastic. But… there could have been more.
There could have been more exploration into the “Jumpers” vs. “Paladins” (shadowy Sam Jackson organization) struggle. Especially considering how HUGE of a plot point it really is. There could have been more exploration into the whole David being dead thing. I mean… they watch him fall through the ice at the age of 14-ish, he teleports out, never to be seen again. He comes back 8 years later and people treat him as if he just got home from college. What the hell? It makes little to no sense.
The whole thing should have been longer. Should have been more in depth. Should have been better.
Though I will give them credit for doing some fantastic special effects work. The teleporting was magnificent, and they kept the practical science behind it pretty accurate. The replacement of the displaced matter when a Jumper leaves an area was accurate. The comparable velocity law was accurate. Basically it was as scientifically accurate as you would expect a sci-fi flick about young adults who can create tiny black holes at will and travel anywhere in the world through them, to be.
And as Liman demonstrated in The Bourne Identity, he has a knack for doing impressive location shooting. He gets some damn fine shots of Rome, Giza, London, Tokyo and Prague. But I could watch the Travel Channel, and get the same thing. Only no Hayden Christensen. So it’s better.
2 Stars go to this, but only because I’m feeling generous on President’s day, and I enjoyed the special effects. If we get a competent filmmaker behind the wheel, who knows what those effects can do.
Later Brodie Fanns!