Limanís Jumper Falls Flat
As a teenager, David Rice (Hayden Christensen) discovered he could teleport himself from one place to another, leaving his abusive father William (Michael Rooker) at fifteen to set out on his own. Taking up residence in Manhattan, eight years later the young man is now living a life of leisure thanks to all the banks heís been able to rob without a single person knowing he was even there. Now he picks up women in the pubs of London, drives fast cars through the streets of Hong Kong and spends quiet moments lounging on the head of the Egyptian Sphinx.
Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen in 20th Century Fox's Jumper
All is good until the mysterious Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) comes knocking on his door. He hates Davidís kind, Jumpers, he calls them, and he and his cohorts, Paladins, have sworn to rid them from the face of the Earth. With his back against the wall and a fellow teleporter named Griffin (Jamie Bell) shadowing his every step, the youngster returns home to visit the girl of his dreams, Millie (Rachel Bilson), and hopefully disappear with her by his side. But Roland is hot on his trail, a final reckoning coming, and if David isnít careful everything he holds dear will be lost at this manís fanatical hands.
I donít even know where to begin. Doug Limanís latest effort Jumper has so many problems, so many things that are just plain haywire, so many dangling intangibles left unexplained (or, worse, unexplored), trying to recap them all here would take the rest of this young millennium. The bottom line is that this thing is a bona fide mess, and no matter what you thought of Swingers, Go!, The Bourne Identity or Mr. and Mrs. Smith this one is about as disappointingly awful as these sorts of things can get.
The basic problem is that the entire story feels more like a collection of greatest hits then it does a feature film. You know those moments before your favorite television series where a mysterious voice says, ďPreviously on such-and-such?Ē Thatís this movie. Every scene and every moment looks and sounds like one of those recaps. The problem is that there are 80-plus minutes of them, not sixty or so seconds. Worse, after itís over there isnít an additional episode to make sense of it all. Itís almost like if someone told you what happened during the first three seasons of ďLostĒ but then forgot to include what happens next, all the loose ends left hanging in the wind so infuriatingly frustrating you almost feel like beating someone up.
Whatís so sad about all of this is that there is potential here. I like the concept of the Jumpers, am intrigued by the Paladins and their all-encompassing hatred of them. Iíd love to get to know more of what happened to Roland, what it is that makes him tick. Same goes for Griffin, his aggressive demeanor masking some greater pain thatís both intriguing and magnetic all at the same time. And what about Davidís mysterious mother? Is she a villain? Is she a hero? I donít know, and yet part of me canít help but anxiously want to find out.
Iíll take bets I never will. The screenplay doesnít bother to make sense of itself, while Liman seems to be more interested in how many whiz-bang visuals he can pull off then he is in trying to make a cohesive comic book-style adventure. As for the actors, Bilson is stranded playing ďthe girlĒ and does nothing of interest with her, while Christensen doesnít show an ounce of the charm or cocky grace he displayed in spades in Billy Rayís fantastic Shattered Glass. Jackson is fine, I guess, but heís bummed around in so many bad movies that at this point heís coming remarkably close to making slumming an art form.
Only former Billy Elliot wunderkind Bell rises above the material, but even then not enough to warrant being interested in seeing him revisit the character for a sequel. Not that weíll probably get one. After what will likely be a robust opening weekend my guess the word will get out and this one will fade pretty darn fast. Even if the whole thing is just one giant coming attraction, Jumper canít help but fall on its sci-fi face with a proverbial splat.
Film Rating: Í1/2 (out of 4)
- Jumper Theatrical Trailer