A teleporting anti-hero

Director Doug Liman (Swingers, Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) has gained quite a following over the last decade. But with time, he’s consistently gotten more lax on plot, giving emphasis to action. That’s not to say his movies aren’t pure fun for everyone, they’re just not the greatest quality. His latest, Jumper, shows most evidently this transition.

Hayden Christensen plays the lead role in Jumper as David Rice. After school one day, a handful of students watched David fall through the ice of a fast-flowing river. When his body was never found, everyone assumed he had died. In reality, when David was facing his own death, that hopeless moment triggered a special power David never knew he possessed – the power to teleport.

With everyone believing he was dead, David set out into the world to do the things he never could – robbing banks, visiting places he’d never been before, living his selfish life without any of the constraints he had in the past.

Even though this sounds like a superpower for a superhero, David Rice is in no way a superhero. He’s a selfish, arrogant punk, and you’re constantly reminded of this. In one scene, David sees live news of trapped people in a serious flood. The news anchors says these people will never make it out alive, and David just sits there eating his lunch, showing no signs of remorse.

Shortly into the movie, we learn that David is not the only person with this power. Just as there are other "jumpers" out there, there is also an elite group dedicated to bringing the jumpers down, called paladins. After evading them for so long, the head paladin (played by Samuel L. Jackson) makes it his personal mission to stop David in his tracks, claiming that only God should possess the power of omnipresence.

Although Jumper is full of fun, intense action and great effects, there are plenty of holes and unanswered questions. Some of the dialogue is extremely cheesy, especially lines delivered by David’s romantic interest, The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson (whose poor acting sticks out like a sore thumb). And for some reason, Liman made their cutesy love scene feel like it was from The O.C., playing The Fray as the two gave each other googly-eyes and stripped down.

If you’re looking forward to Jumper as a simple, fun movie, you’ll get what you’re expecting. If you thought the previews made it look corny and lame, rest assured knowing that it’s more fun than it appears. But if you want something quality and solid, Jumper is not for you.

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Carol, I’m rooting for jumper2.jpg because it’s a nice action photo. I don’t think the other ones will look as good in B&W or in print. If you use jumper2.jpg, please use the cutline:

"If the movie is called JUMPER, why do I look like I’m tripping?" Hayden Christensen asks himself.

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