Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 at 05:00 PM
By: S. Tran
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell
Directed By: Doug Liman
Running Time: 90 minutes
Imagine that someone gave you a brand new Ferrari. You walk around it and admire its sleek lines and curves. Then, giddy with excitement, you pop the hood and find that the entire thing is powered by a scraggly little hamster running like mad on a wheel. This is what it felt like to watch Jumpers. What made this even more depressing what that Doug Liman is behind some of my favourite films like Swingers and The Bourne Identity.
With the wife and kid out of town visiting relatives I was all amped up to finally see a new movie and the Jumper trailers looked promising. The movie is about a young man, David (Christensen) who discovers that he has the ability to teleport himself anywhere he wants. Sound like a great premise? It absolutely is. Unfortunately, much like the hamster in our analogy, there really is nothing underneath that premise to really "drive" this film.
Where do we begin? How about the lead, Christensen. Remember how wooden, corny and just plain migraine inducingly bad his acting was in the Star Wars films? Well apparently someone told him to go with that and try and make a career of it as he is back with that same stilted, almost mumbling delivery. He is such a non-presence that I sometimes wonder how he even registers on film. The guy makes Keanu Reeves look like De Niro. He shows the same emotion eating a sandwich that he does trying to save his girlfriend. Plus his characters think the rest of us are â€œchumpsâ€ because we can teleport and rob banks so he's not exactly a sympatheic character, coming across more like a douchebag stockbroker.
The girl, Millie, is played by Bilson and she actually does a pretty good job. Despite not being given much to do she does have a nice presence on film and I think will have good career if she picks better projects. I was impressed by her ability to move away from the shallow ditz she played on The O.C. Jackson and Bell fill out the main cast and do a decent job.
But it is with the material that we find the real problem. During the film we are introduced to the jumpers and "Paladins" who for some reasons hate the jumpers and have sworn to hunt them down. Likely this feud began a long time due to some jumper dude stealing a Paladin's woman or something. So then the Paladin dude was all like â€œI'm going to kill you and what not.â€ and the fight was on. The Paladins are a pretty scary group lead by Jackson who apparently stole a lightsaber from the Star Wars movies to use here.
Once we get a little bit of the back-story though the writers fail to advance it at all. It was like the writers were looking at a checklist, found they had provided some history, checked it off the list and never looked back. This story had some real potential but at the end of the day we know nothing more about either the jumpers of the Paladins. Whether this is going to be the first in a series or a stand alone film, fleshing out that story is critical, otherwise its just another chase movie with cool effects.
The writers continue their half arsed job all the way to the ending when they slap on one of the worst endings I have ever seen. Seriously it was so bad I could hear the record player screeching to a halt in the background. What everyone thought was the beginning of the third act was in fact the end of the story. Now if you are going to do this in thinking movie Like No Country for Old Men I will cut you some slack. But trying to pull this off in a popcorn action piece just tanks the film and don't even ask me about the plot holes in this one.
Aside from the stupid non-ending, the movie is well done and the special effects are fun to watch. Too bad no one likes to watch a bunch of special effects strung together with no story for 90 minutes otherwise this might be a hit.
Save your money on this one or just watch the trailers on T.V. Because there is nothing else in the movie for you to really see.
2.5 out of 5 stars.