Every time someone asks me what I thought of the new action thriller Jumper, I smile widely and say, “It was awful!”
I know what you’re thinking — that’s an impossible combination. Viewers need a certain sense of humor and a blissful ignorance of logic to enjoy this movie. Jumper is visually stunning and has some great ideas, but it fails in a lot of aspects.
The 90-minute movie introduces David Rice (Hayden Christensen), who, as a teenager, discovers he has the ability to teleport. David harnesses this power, and gets out of town, leaving the girl of his dreams, Millie (Rachel Bilson), and his neglectful father (Michael Rooker).
With a lavish apartment and daily trips to anywhere in the world, David is living the good life. Of course, this dream world is interrupted by the arrival of Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), a Paladin whose sole mission is to take out Jumpers, people with teleporting ability.
David jumps back to his hometown, finds Millie and decides to take her on a trip to Italy. While there, he meets a fellow Jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell). However, Roland tracks the two Jumpers down, and it boils down to a battle to the bitter end of the Jumpers against the Paladins.
First of all, don’t worry too much about that plot synopsis. The filmmakers behind Jumper probably don’t want you to pay attention to it very much, anyway. What they want is for you to love the stunning visuals and the cool special effects used throughout. These are easily Jumper’s best qualities. We see David standing on the pyramids of Egypt, hanging on the face of Big Ben in London and exploring the ruins of the Coliseum of Rome. For those who dream of traveling the globe, Jumper provides an escape from the slightly boring reality of New Jersey.
The film’s performances aren’t stellar, but they’re entertaining to watch. Christensen’s performance is satisfactory, yet endearing: He combines his character’s selfishness and yearning to be powerful with teenage awkwardness.
Meanwhile, Jackson, who sports white hair and a pair of badass shades, is terrific to watch. Jackson has his usual dedication to the role, even though his character has terrible lines, including this gem: “Only God should have that power.”
Perhaps the only above average performance is delivered by Bell, but that may just be because of his dreamboat looks and rugged Irish brogue. Bell pulls off that rebellious air better than Christensen can.
But mostly, Jumper is wrecked for its gaping plot holes; the film rushes itself to the end, as if the filmmakers themselves want it to be over as quickly and painlessly as possible. There’s a lot of context and background sacrificed. For example, there are hints of “an ancient war” between Jumpers and Paladins, but the audience doesn’t learn a thing about that. For all intents and purposes, Jumper could refer to a person leaping over all the movie’s massive holes in logic.
Jumper’s good if you’re in the mood for something light and pretty to watch. I wouldn’t shell out the cash for a full-price ticket, but it might be worth the $5 for a weekend matinee.