Hayden Christensen steps into the David Rice role as Jumper progresses and delivers a performance that's as bland and flavorless as his moniker suggests. Years after leaving home, David has mastered the art of jumping and uses it to have lunch atop the Great Sphinx, surf tubular waves off the coast of Fiji, flirt with chicks in a London pub, and take his high-school sweetheart, Millie (Rachel Bilson), around Rome's top tourist traps.
It's during that Italian jaunt when David encounters Griffin (Jamie Bell), a fellow teleporter who informs our hero of his new function in the age-old battle raging between special beings with "transportational" abilities. The jumpers are hunted by paladins, who appear to be led by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), an ambiguous agent working for an unknown task force who believes only God deserves the ability to be anywhere at once. While Roland can't "jump," he does cover a lot of ground -- he discovers David in Manhattan, follows Millie to Italy, and then intercepts the couple in Detroit (which is where you jump when you run out of money to shoot in Chicago). He also piggybacks on Griffin's traveling wormhole for a climactic battle in the middle of an Egyptian desert.
A jumper's natural ability might be necessary to leapfrog the gaping plot holes in the Jumper script. Roland informs David that it's hard to teleport when electricity is being pumped through a jumper's brain, but doesn't elaborate why. And to where could a jumper actually jump? Can they merely look at a picture of a location and leap there (as suggested), or do they have to physically visit a spot before teleporting to it? David mentions something about "jumping spots" he has created around Tokyo, but the science behind the teleportation is never made clear.
Instead of delving into the clashing histories of jumpers and paladins, Jumper director Doug Liman develops the inane romance between David and Millie -- two empty vessels who make the Cloverfield kids look like Rhodes scholars. Christensen's stiff portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in George Lucas' Star Wars prequels earned him the fitting nickname "Mannequin" Skywalker. He shows no improvement as an actor, delivering lines in a monosyllabic pattern that's backed by a vacant stare. Bell and Bilson adequately overlook the overall nonsense of the story, while Jackson mails in his villainous part.
Liman musters plausible effects but directs without urgency. The action moves along to John Powell's jaunty, jazzy score, which counteracts Christensen's lifeless narration. At least Liman avoids easy green-screen technology to actually film his globetrotting scenes in world cities such as Paris, Rome, New York City, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. It lends a sliver of credibility to the production and tallies frequent flier miles for the director and his crew. At each stop, however, I wanted to send postcards to our old friend Mr. Logic that simply stated, "Wish you were here!"
Big wires make ya wanna... jump, jump.
Run time: 88 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 14th February 2008
Box Office USA: $80.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $183.8M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Regency Enterprises, New Regency Pictures, Hypnotic, Dune Entertainment, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Jumper Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 138
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Doug Liman
Producer: Vince Gerardis, Ralph Vicinanza, Marc S. Fischer
Starring: Hayden Christensen as David Rice, Samuel L. Jackson as Roland, Rachel Bilson as Millie Harris, Jamie Bell as Griffin, Diane Lane as Mary Rice, Michael Rooker as William Rice, Max Thieriot as Young David, AnnaSophia Robb as Young Millie, Kristen Stewart as Sophie, Jesse James as Young Mark, Tom Hulce as Mr. Bowker, Teddy Dunn as Mark Kobold, Barbara Garrick as Ellen, Massimiliano Pazzaglia as Italian Desk Cop, Michael Winther as Day Bank Manager
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