Jumper (2008)


Jumper is all style and no substance. This movie takes a cool idea– people with the ability to teleport are being stalked by a government entity who seeks to kill them– and does pretty much nothing with it. Instead, slick visuals and action sequences are substituted for a plot. It’s maddening that this idea was screwed up so badly.

The main issue with Jumper is that the story goes absolutely nowhere. A lot of information is thrown at the audience, with little of it explained. We’re introduced to characters who seem like they should be important, but who are in maybe two scenes. This feels like the beginning of a series, except that there has yet to be a sequel. Even if one is eventually made, I wouldn’t be that interested in seeing one because this movie is just so darn dull.

The only thing Jumper has going for it are some really great visuals. The effects are great, and incorporated well into the action sequences. The filmmakers also took full advantage of the idea that “jumpers” can teleport anywhere in the world, sending characters to beautiful and exotic locales.

But showing the characters bouncing around the globe is not fun to watch, even when pursued by government agents. There needs to be something more compelling to the story than that jumpers are being hunted down because one guy doesn’t like them (seriously, this is the explanation given). It seems that the love story was inserted to add to the story, but it’s also boring and largely underdeveloped.

Seriously, Jumper could have been really cool. All it needed was an antagonist with a more compelling angle and to replace the love angle with more backstory featuring the protagonists family.

Rating: D

Jumper had a lot going for it, it is disappointing that the finished product was not more entertaining. Anakin Skywalker plays David Rice, a man who realised as a youngster that he can teleport. He uses these skills to rob banks and get up to all kinds of illegal activity that any young twenty something would be doing if they had these powers. Eventually the law catches up with him in the form of a silver haired Nick Fury, who works for a special brand of some government organisation specifically trained to hunt down these teleporters. David must escape these super cops and hope his lover (Rachel Bilson) doesn’t get caught up in this mess too.

This is such a cool idea. Teleporting!!! It sounds awesome. Unfortunately the finished product is not that great. I think it comes down to the character of David. He is not that likable, in fact he is kind of a jerk. It makes it hard to root for him when Sam Jackson comes calling. Jackson just oozes charisma and Hayden Christensen is quite good at playing surly teenagers. Maybe quite good isn’t the right word, let’s just say he has experience playing surly teenagers. It feels like resident badass Sam Jackson should be the good guy because he is hunting down a criminal, but the film wants you to believe David is the good guy. They throw some irrelevant subplot about David’s mother (Diane Lane) being one of the teleporter cops to try and make the audience get onside with David, but it doesn’t really work. I had a real problem rooting for David. He was a jerk and was breaking the law. I didn’t find him relatable at all.

The action sequences are quite good in Jumper. Director of The Bourne Identity, Doug Liman is responsible for this film and he does a good enough job with the action here, even if it is nothing we haven’t seen before. He is just missing that good leading man a picture like this needs. I really don’t want to bag too much on Hayden Christensen, because he can be really good. He has given good performances in other films like Shattered Glass and Life as a House, so the talent is there. I feel like Christensen needs a certain type of director to make him excel, which he obviously didn’t get in this film. I don’t want to mention the Star Wars prequels, but I will. I feel like the problems with this film were the same ones with the Star Wars prequels. He gives a very wooden performance in both this and the Star Wars movies, I almost have to put this down to his director because I have seen him give good performances in other roles. Rachel Bilson is boring as his girlfriend, I can’t add much more. It is surprising to me that Christensen and Bilson are together in real life since they don’t really have much chemistry on screen, maybe they were saving it for off camera shenanigans.

Jumper takes an interesting idea, but wastes it on an unlikable protagonist with generic action sequences.

Rating: D

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