Jumper

Since I’m at a bit of a loss in terms of reviewing stuff I decided to close my eyes and pick a film from my collection at random. After three or four tries (I kept landing on stuff I’d already reviewed) I landed on “Jumper”- a film strangely not about fashionable knitwear.

Jumper (2008)

The idea of teleportation has always intrigued me. I mean, who wouldn’t want to just picture a place and instantly be there? I’m not sure if it’s because I’m criminally lazy or some other factor, but instant travel appeals to me. I’m surprised that more films don’t feature teleportation – I mean we have Nightcrawler in “X-Men 2” but that’s about it.

“Only God should have this power.”

The story concerns David Rice (Hayden Christensen) and his ability to teleport or “jump” to anywhere he wants to go. Everything seems to be going fine until he meets the unfortunately named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) who is a member of the Paladins, a group of people who believe that Jumpers are ungodly and must be stopped. Along the way, we are introduced to the love interest Millie (Rachel Bilson) and fellow Jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell). So in summary, we have Mannequin Skywalker, the afroed hitman from “Pulp Fiction”, some unmemorable actress and Billy Elliot. Should be fun, eh? Well, not really.

I wasn’t expecting much from “Jumper” because of the type of film it is. It’s an attempt to freshen the tired action/adventure genre with a new twist. I expected some cool effects and some decent action sequences. Trouble is, I didn’t really get either. Well, the effects are nice enough but there’s not one decent fight in the whole damn thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all about action- I welcome meaningful dialogue and exposition in any film, but “Jumper” doesn’t even have that- it just goes on and on with dull dialogue and poor interaction in the place of explosions and fighting. To be honest I started to lose interest quite early on.

When we finally get to the action-y parts, it doesn’t seem like the whole “jumping” gimmick was used to full effect. What I don’t get is how Doug Liman, the director, could have also directed “The Bourne Identity” which has some very imaginative action sequences. I expected the fights to be awesome and disorientating as our hero jumps from place to place, kicking arse. It never happens though. It’s a damn shame. Surely if the action is underwhelming, the characters must be well fleshed out? No. Like Hell they are.

Hayden Christensen isn’t exactly Mr. Charisma, so why play him off as an international playboy? It just doesn’t fit! I’m sure Samuel L. Jackson would have been good if it wasn’t painfully obvious he was just in it for the paycheque. Rachel Bilson is forgettable too, which makes the three main players in this seem really watered down and inconsequential. The only interesting character is Jamie Bell’s Griffin, who at least does something during the film, whether it dropping a Paladin in shark-infested waters or lobbing a double-decker bus at Samuel L. Jackson’s head.

“Paladins kill Jumpers, I kill Paladins. Class dismissed”

All in all, “Jumper” is disappointing. I got the feeling that so much more could have been done with the premise that what was up there on the screen. It’s crushingly average. The only thing that saves it from being a “10,000 B.C.” type disaster is Jamie Bell who somehow manages to inject some life into proceedings.

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