Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’m not quite sure what to make of this mid-winter blockbuster ‘Jumper’ since, quite honestly, it’s barely a movie. It’s not completely without entertainment value but it feels so hurried and rushed that I’m fairly certain when it gets released on DVD in a few months there will be an entire second disk filled with deleted scenes. It seems as if the filmmakers, and the editor in particular, took the ‘Torque’ theory of cutting a film in that they viewed it, thought it was completely unwatchable and decided to cut anything out that wasn’t action themed, or at the very least led to some fancy CGI action. This would have included, plot, narrative, and character development. But then I’m one of the few people alive that actually liked ‘Torque’ so sometimes I don’t mind having my brain pickled for 80 minutes or so.

David Rice is a picked on high school student who has a something awful kind of crush on Millie. David gives Millie a small gift which a bully throws on an ice covered lake which David goes to retrieve. Tragically David falls in the ice and would have drowned to death had he not unexpectedly transported himself to the safety to the local library. Eventually David realizes that he has a mysterious power to jump from location to location and considering that his dad (Michael Rooker) is a helpless pathetic drunk and mom (Diane Lane) cut out on him when he was only five, David leaves tiny Ann Arbor Michigan to find his way in the world. Eventually he finds his way into a bank vault and robs them blind introducing us to a rather unpleasant man named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) who has a keen interest into how someone could rob a bank apparently from the inside out.

A few years have passed and the pimply David has now transformed into the tall and handsome movie star Hayden Christenson. Now being as how Hayden Christenson

and female lead Rachel Bilson aren’t really that far removed from high school I’m a little curious why director Doug Liman didn’t just change their hair and slap some pimples on them so they could be high schoolers in the past, but at least those other two kids got a paycheck. Regardless, David has now mastered the whole jumping thing and has seen the world three times over. Hell, if David wants a one night stand, apparently he just jumps from bar to bar from country to country until he runs into some willing skank ready to service his needs. He also has quite the treasure chest of stolen loot, and though it’s been some years, this Roland cat has finally tracked his ass down. Roland is known as a Palladin, an organization of individuals who has nothing better to do except hunt and kill Jumpers, their friends and their family members. Roland is a little confused though how David could have avoided detection from his crack group of Jumper hunters so long and is convinced someone has been helping him. What little plot there is thickens with the introduction of Griffin, a much more skilled jumper who makes David’s acquaintance and is in the business of hunting and killing Palladins. As you might imagine we have a pretty girl, we have a very bad man and we have hero. Somebody warm up those computers because there’s a special effects showdown to render.

I’m curious to see what this film originally looked like because I know there is no way on God’s green earth that director Doug Liman and screenwriter David S. Goyer had this in mind when all was said and done. You don’t have to hold my hand and literally tell me every tiny thing about your story but give us something. Who are jumpers and why have they come into existence? You’re guess is as good as mine. Who are Palladins and how have they formulated this bizarre religious theme that all jumpers must die? I guess one good thing about making your villains fanatical religious zealots is that the whole ‘God told me to do it’ theme never has to be explained or justified. Gee David, since you’ve just barely escaped with your life from a guy who has told you that he lives only to hunt you and kill you, is NOW the best time look up and old girlfriend and start a relationship? Not good lookin’ bro. We won’t even try to figure out what the deal was with mom. Then there was the whole ‘heroic’ issue of David in the first place since he basically spent his spare time unnecessarily robbing banks and museums, even though it would appear he has stolen enough for seventeen lifetimes.. There was scene where they had a newscast of some folks stranded during a flood, which was there to tell us, I suppose, how non-heroic David actually is. Then there was his absolute laziness. I mean my man Dave couldn’t even walk to the fridge for cold frosty beverage. I’m surprised he didn’t just transport inside the ‘fridge to save himself the trouble of opening the door.

On the plus side the movie was mercifully brief, Samuel L. did what Samuel L. does, Diane Lane is ancient but still hot, and the movie never stopped for barely a moment to catch its breath. The movie seriously doesn’t have enough substance to warrant any bad feelings towards it. You watch it, get up from your seat and go home never to give it a second thought, unless of course they make the sequels that the open ended conclusion seemed to be gearing up for. Truly the epitome throwaway entertainment, this is what Jumper represents in spades.

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