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Overall Rating
2.49

Awesome: 1.49%
Worth A Look: 23.88%
Average: 22.39%
Pretty Bad26.87%
Total Crap: 25.37%

8 reviews, 19 user ratings


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Jumper
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by Erik Childress

"Take Me Home.....Cause I Don’t Remember"
1 stars

Not every director has a particular style you can point to when referring to their work. Hacks have nary a talent to speak of, but the few with such talent can at least be singled out as such. Doug Liman is one such director. While crafting a reputation on recent big budget spectaculars, The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, for being a stickler perfectionist that has risen the budget beyond expectations, Liman proved to be a reliably efficient action director even if his narratives would suffer in stretches. The Smiths was an above average entertainment until a rather unimaginative shoot ‘em up finale and his contribution to Jason Bourne while ratchets above the perceived disaster in store after multiple reshoots and countless release delays, remains the weakest of the series. Apparently hoping to jumpstart a new one 20th Century Fox put into motion an apparent trilogy based upon the work of Steven Gould’s young adult novel about a teleporting teen and Liman again has been handed the keys. I’ve worked his name as often as I can into this opening as it is about the only indication that those familiar with his resume will know that he was behind the camera on Jumper, a lethargic, incomprehensible event picture that is the action film equivalent of Phil Collins’ Take Me Home video.

At the age of 17, David is a mumbling drip with a crush on the pretty Millie (AnnaSophia Robb). When one of the most random bullies in the history of high school thwarts his efforts and nearly gets him killed, David has his first “jump.” From the bottom of a frozen lake to the town library, he inexplicably asks himself, “Did I just teleport?” Maybe an enthusiastic geek with some love of comic books or Star Trek might ask themselves this question with giddy aplomb, but what little we know about David his story is barely worthy of a plan involving a Radio Flyer. An abusive father he has though. At least one assumes as much when played by Michael Rooker, Tom Sizemore or Michael Madsen. David has Rooker and escape he does, utilizing his newfound powers to rob a bank and stockpile enough international currency to set himself up in New York.

Hot on his trail though are the Paladins (evidently the Mavericks and the Hopalongs were busy), a shadowy group in drab commie clothing hunting down his kind under the creedo that “only God should have the powers to be everywhere.” Their top guy, Roland “I Hate Jumpers” Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) tracks “” back to his apartment and once his intentions are made clear, “” goes into hiding back home to Ann Arbor and after a single afternoon is able to woo Millie (Rachel Bilson) off to Rome where she’s always dreamed of visiting and making love with the guy she once believed to be dead. Also noticing his globe-hopping is another jumper named Griffin (Jamie Bell) who has been waging a private war against the Paladins for reasons that are sketchy at best. I suppose the fact that they’re trying to kill him is enough.

What isn’t enough is every aspect of Jumper from the wafer-thin storyline down to its chintzy action sequences that carry none of the flair Liman brought to chase sequences and shootouts in his two previous blockbusters. The prospect of transcontinental brawling at the flick of a thought is an exciting one. You can get punched on the Eiffel Tower, wind up in Las Vegas and finish up with a grand homage to Hitchcock and all his landmark set pieces. Instead the climax becomes a half-assed and choppily edited homage to Wes Craven’s Shocker finale without any of the fun or insanity. It’s unnecessary to provide any scientific notion as to why David is able to jump, but shouldn’t’ the screenwriters have concocted at least one scene where he takes us through the thought process. Is it enough to just think of a location or would you have to be very specific? Would Paris be too big of a target? And what of the physical implications of jumping? Sometimes David's arrival leaves large breaks through the floor. Sometimes his window just disappears and repairs itself.

Asking for any sort of explanation is a curse onto itself as it would have meant more of Hayden Christensen’s narration. Just a few weeks removed from seeing his Awake partner, Jessica Alba, give one of the most listless narrations ever heard in The Eye, along comes Christensen to win the prize for the male side. I was less harsh than most on his work in Episodes II & III of the Star Wars prequels, since Mark Hamill was hardly Shakespearean trained either. But Christensen will never be able to follow in the footsteps of Hamill’s entertaining animated voicework in the years since his days as a Skywalker. Christensen gives us David as a blank page. None of the trauma as a neglected child. None of the necessary cockiness or charming confidence of having such abilities. And none of the knowing wink humor that tends to arrive with outlandish tales of superhuman etiquette. You think there would be one brief attempt to show David's frustration and impatience with having to wait through airport hassles and suffering a transatlantic flight when even a hop and skip is wasting his time before a jump.

Fans of the original Steven Gould novel may be wary of that being the first mention of an airplane in this plot and they should be. This is not the book you may know and love. No hijackers and airplanes here. Not for fits and giggles after 9/11. But the studio bought the potential franchise anyway and made four screenwriters cut the guts out of it in the hopes that the 21st century version of throwaway Star Trek technology would be enough to craft an 88 minute movie around. By the time we start getting what passes as a thorough background check on the Griffin kid, we’re past the hour mark already and any hope of some rousing finale has long been written off. Diane Lane shows up for about 47 seconds during the film and three minutes during an epilogue that clearly has its hopes up for a sequel. I believe there’s a support group forming for failed films with franchise ambitions currently made up of The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising and The Golden Compass. If a miracle does occur (and people sure do flock to that Fantastic Four crap) and there is a Jumper 2 in our future, maybe it will craft a scenario more intriguing than the mystery of whether that’s drywall on Samuel L. Jackson’s face after a fight with Davey or if his hair dye had run onto his face.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16844&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/15/08 00:51:26
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User Comments

3/13/17 morris campbell thin plot he justs jumps from place 2 place 2 stars
9/15/11 Mepp Like a couple of the reviewers I thought this was good fun, filled in the blanks myself 4 stars
1/08/09 Peter North no boner salute. great concept, but terrible acting & horrible story line 1 stars
12/29/08 Bean Very enjoyable. I don't get why there's so much hate on this. 4 stars
12/06/08 Jared Robb Entertaining, if nothing else. Just fall away from reality for a while and enjoy! 3 stars
10/17/08 daveyt jamie bell, sort that accent out! I thought chris waddle's was bad! 2 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
7/09/08 Totir Alexandru I expected more from this movie. It didn't quite matched the attention before the release 3 stars
6/30/08 mike really stupid movie. it could have been so much better. 1 stars
6/29/08 E. Leo Green Unbearable! 1 stars
6/15/08 g. junker 2 stars
6/05/08 Jayson Pretentious crap. 2 stars
3/07/08 David Graham why all the negatives? 4 stars
3/05/08 Renee Griffin I thought this movie was really good, jumping as much as they did I did almost get dizzy, 4 stars
3/03/08 Nicholas Plowman Average, boring, over done, cliched, but great to see with friends! 2 stars
2/21/08 ralf fun popcorn movie, but tons of missed chances to make a great one 3 stars
2/20/08 M Had so much potential! 1 stars
2/18/08 blyskalp Not to good 2 stars
2/15/08 Noexit worst review ever 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Feb-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jun-2008

UK
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