Thursday, 19 August 2010

Jumper (Liman, 2008)

Imagine being able to teleport yourself anywhere, in an instant – from the Colloseum to inside a bank vault. Awesome, right? Not so awesome when you have Samuel L. Jackson chasing your ass all over the world with a license to kill. David Rice (Hayden Christensen) is a ‘Jumper’ – able to transport himself from location to location. After years of living like a king, he discovers the existence of ‘Paladins’, religious enthusiasts who believe only God should have such powers, and dedicate their lives to hunting down and eradicating Jumpers. Directed by Doug Liman, responsible for one of my favourite action movies, The Bourne Identity, I had high hopes for this movie.
The film starts with a traditional sob story – the loser kid with the broken home life finding that he has a hidden ability. Unlike the ‘becoming a hero’ direction this could take, however, we see David using his powers in a more self-assisting way – robbing a bank and living the high life in a fancy apartment, covered in photographs from the exotic places he can visit in the blink of an eye.

Refreshingly for a film of its type, he is motivated not by heroic dreams of world saving – he just wants to avoid getting wiped out, and of course, get the girl. Rachel Bilson stars as love interest Millie (I know, they spelt it wrong!), however she makes very little impact as a character and simply serves as a prop to move the film along. And despite the lengthy part of the film where we learn about David, Christensen falls short of the mark when it comes to creating a character the audience can empathize with.

Jamie Bell provides more of a stand-out character, as fellow Jumper Griffin, with plenty of attitude and a cocky demeanour. However, the lack of real character development was a particular disappointment when it came to his role – there could have been much more involvement with his own story, and perhaps more of a relationship build with David. Instead, the film seemed to fall back on the action sequences, which became repetitive, despite the ‘jumping’ between locations during them.

Although the premise is an interesting one, the film unfortunately wasn’t anywhere near as well-executed as it could have been. The location shots, although sometimes visually impressive, seemed unrealistic and underwhelming. With the inability to live up to much more visually impressive films that are commonplace in cinemas nowadays, and the weak development of the supporting cast, Jumper overall proved a bland action ‘genre by numbers’ film. Which is a shame, as teleporting is really, really cool.


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