"Jumper" zooms around a lot, pointlessly
They'd better rename "Jumper" in the United Kingdom so that people don't avoid it thinking they're in for a whole movie about a sweater. here are other reasons to avoid it — unless you thought that seeing "Nightcrawler" teleport himself with a BAMF! in the second "X-Men" movie was the coolest thing of all time, and you want to see a whole movie of that.
Seattle Times staff reporter
"Jumper," with Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Rooker. Directed by Doug Liman from a script by David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg. 88 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality. Several theaters.
They'd better rename "Jumper" in the United Kingdom so that people don't avoid it thinking they're in for a whole movie about a sweater. There are other reasons to avoid it — unless you thought that seeing "Nightcrawler" teleport himself with a BAMF! in the second "X-Men" movie was the coolest thing of all time, and you want to see a whole movie of that.
At an early age, nerdy David "Riceball" Rice (Max Thieriot) discovers this new skill set. Having fallen through ice after an encounter with a bully and nearly drowned, he reappears with a splash in the school library. After some practice — hey, Spider-Man didn't have the web-slinging thing down immediately, either — he finds that he can instantly teleport himself anywhere in the world if he can see it or has a picture or strong memory of it.
Several years later, the older David (Hayden "Anakin Skywalker" Christensen) has ditched his "Riceball" life and abusive dad (Michael Rooker) for the life of a player who can teleport money out of bank vaults, teleport himself across the Atlantic to hook up in a London bar and teleport himself to the head of the Sphinx for a quiet sandwich.
Then three things happen to shake up his nifty life:
1. Samuel L. Jackson comes after him. Or rather, Jackson — not swearing — plays Roland, the white-haired leader of a group called Paladins, who hunt down Jumpers like David, immobilize them with billy clubs like Daredevil's that shoot out electric tethers and then kill 'em dead.
2. David meets another Jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell, the kid from "Billy Elliot"), who's been at the teleportation business longer, considers David an amateur, and likes taking out the Paladins by jumping them, say, into a shark-infested part of the ocean.
3. A girl. Actually it's David who complicates her life. When he goes home to sweep his childhood crush, Millie (Rachel Bilson, "The OC") off her feet, he quickly learns that the Paladins will smoke her to get to him, and Griffin doesn't care if she's collateral damage.
What follows is a whole lot of teleporting and a story that seems unfinished. David and Griffin duke it out, trying to out-teleport each other with the aid of automobiles and other objects they can take with them. And it turns out the Paladins can follow them through the "scars" left by the teleportation wormholes.
Director Doug Liman proved he knows his action with "The Bourne Identity" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." And even when the action gets flat-out Warner Bros. silly here, he keeps the pace so breakneck and exciting that there's not much time to laugh when it's warranted.
On the continuum between his painful work in the final two "Star Wars" movies and his jarringly skillful performance in "Shattered Glass," Christensen is closer to the former here. But in all fairness, he doesn't have much to chew on between BAMFS!
Screenwriters David S. Goyer ("Batman Begins"), Jim Uhls ("Fight Club") and Simon Kinberg (the third "X-Men" movie) seem like a capable team for this type of story. But they leave the reason for the conflict between Jumpers and the Paladins sketchy (apart from Jackson telling Jumpers that only God should have the power to be all places) and, worse, unresolved.
How long will it take this one to disappear from theaters?
Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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