In a world where instant gratification is king, Jumper is movie-based crack for the ADD-addled mind. The latest effort from director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) starts out with David, a loser of a 15-year old, walking out onto a frozen Ann Arbor river to retrieve a thrown snow globe. This is presumably done as a romantic gesture to the one girl who will actually talk to him.
In a world where instant gratification is king, Jumper is movie-based crack for the ADD-addled mind.
The latest effort from director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) starts out with David, a loser of a 15-year old, walking out onto a frozen Ann Arbor river to retrieve a thrown snow globe. This is presumably done as a romantic gesture to the one girl who will actually talk to him.
He then falls through the ice and is about to drown, when BAM! he suddenly finds himself drenched in the local library. Hmmm …
He makes the logical assumption that he has the ability to teleport at will, gets his ass out of Dodge and quickly uses his power to rob a shitload of banks.
Fast-forward eight years, and David is now 23 and played by Hayden Christensen. He has a sweet Manhattan apartment and travels around the world multiple times a day, doing things like standing dramatically on top of Big Ben and boinking foreign women.
One day, a gray-haired Samuel L. Jackson shows up in David’s apartment, declares his hatred for “jumpers” (people who can teleport, get it?), and gives him a phenomenal ass-kicking. David barely escapes alive and his apartment is destroyed, so he decides he better go back to his hometown, find Snow Globe Girl (who he hasn’t talked to in eight years) and take her to Rome. Snow Globe Girl says OK. All this happens in roughly the first 25 minutes.
Does it make any sense? Not a fucking bit. Is it totally awesome anyway? Yes.
Jumper, in the usual tradition of Liman’s films, chooses to sprint instead of walk. The plot is spotty, yet interesting, and that’s really all Liman needs. Jumper is filled with fast cars, bad-asses going head-to-head, an awesomely awkward sex scene and a pointless-yet-great amount of plot twists.
Even Hayden Christensen doesn’t screw it up, having apparently graduated from the Talentless Hack School of acting to that of the Solidly Mediocre.
Plus, Christensen’s middle-of-the-road performance is actually backed up by some pretty good acting from the supporting cast.
Jamie Bell (also known as “Billy Elliot” or “that one dude from that one Green Day video”) makes a good dark foil to Christensen as a fellow jumper with a misanthropic bent, and a final battle between the two of them is too cool for words.
Rachel Bilson (The O.C. ) suavely avoids what could’ve easily been a very annoying damsel-in-distress character as David’s sweetheart Millie. And Samuel L. Jackson, who turns out to be the head of the Paladins, an organization whose sole purpose is to kill all the jumpers they find, really needs to start playing more villains. Dude can be scary.
The blotchiness of the plotline does somewhat restrain the movie and can perhaps be attributed to the peculiar screenwriting trio of Jim Uhls (Fight Club), David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Blade) and Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, X-Men 3). It seems like they’re all battling each other for what they want Jumper to be, and it’s too much chaos to fit into such a small amount of time. The plausibility of the scenes can get absurd even for a sci-fi flick, the inanity of the characters is too discombobulated to ever really gel and the resolution at the end makes pretty much no damn sense at all.
If anything, Jumper suffers from an uncommon problem: It’s too short.
Clocking in at 90 minutes of screen time, it feels less like a movie and more like an action-packed double-episode pilot for TV, and as such it never really gives the more interesting parts of the plot (David’s family’s past, the history between the Paladins and Jumpers) any room to take shape and grow.
It’s unfortunate. Jumper is a good movie, but a longer and more well-rounded script could’ve made it a great movie. Still, the meat of the film works, and it’s spectacularly fun to watch. Jumper is no great stimulant for the brain, but Liman’s directing makes it engaging nonetheless.