Review: Jumper (2008)

In Jumper, certain people possess the ability to instantaneously transport themselves anywhere in the world.  David Rice (Hayden Christensen) is fortunate enough to discover this special ability of his when trapped beneath the ice on a frozen river.  After teleporting himself to safety, David is only too happy to teleport himself away from the unhappy home he shares with his alcoholic father, and into a life of bank robbery, extreme sports, and general selfishness. This could have been the starting point of a good fantasy movie with an engaging main character and perhaps some compelling themes about the importance of responsibility and selflessness.  At the very least, this should have made for a fun action flick.  Unfortunately though, Jumper unfolds like a movie made by an eight-year-old boy.  Despite the fact that director Doug Liman also helmed The Bourne Identity, a successfully stylish and exciting action picture, Jumper is a failure.  The pace is frantic, the narrative disjointed, and the technique messy.  Likewise, the hand-held camerawork does not inject the film with realism, energy, or indie credibility: it just seems sloppy.

The characters are just as messily constructed and are frequently idiotic and unlikable.  David Rice has about half a character arc: he goes from abused loner, to cocky and selfish playboy, to less cocky and less selfish guy in a relationship.  I am usually a fan of Samuel L. Jackson—even in bad movies—but in Jumper he is atrocious.  His character Roland frequently speaks out loud for no other reason than to let the audience know his already obvious thoughts and tempers.  Rachel Bilson’s Millie is so mindless she never thinks to ask David what happened to him all those years he was gone.  If one of your childhood friends who you last saw falling through the ice on a frozen river came back into your life years later and asked you to go on a trip with him to Rome, wouldn’t you at least want to know where he’d been?

In the end, I am amazed that such a fast and frenetic movie about super powers and crazy fights lost my interest so quickly.  I guess when things are this bad our minds tend to transport themselves elsewhere.

3 out of 10

Jumper (2008)

Directed by Doug Liman; written by David S. Goyer and Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg; starring Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Samuel L. Jackson.