Thursday, March 20, 2008
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell
Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane
David Rice (Christensen) is a jumper: he can teletransport himself to anywhere in the world by just thinking about it. He can sunbathe atop the Sphynx, surf in Maui after a one night stand in London and he can travel two inches closer to the remote control on his couch.
Since he was a teenager David has lived by robbing banks and then using the money to buy himself expensive things and lead a carefree life.
When he watches people waiting to be rescued on TV and the words "out of reach" should sound like a cue for him to come help, he chuckles and turns it off.
In other words, David has the power of irresponsibility.
One day he discovers there is a group called the Paladins, led by Roland Cox (Jackson) whose sole mission is to kill jumpers.
He runs away, after going back to his hometown to get his childhood love Millie (Bilson) and while having a Roman holiday meets Griffin (Bell) a fellow jumper with whom he teams up to get rid of the Paladins.
It's of course out of the question to believe in a film that has people teletransporting themselves all over, but even for something like this, there should be a string of veracity that makes the characters and situations believable within the context.
"Jumper" has none of it.
What we get is a lot of explosions, even more "whoosh" sounds and fast editing, along with awful perfomances.
The film never feels the need to elaborate on why the featured jumpers have dedicated their powers to hedonism or haven't at least looked for easy jobs to keep their secret safe.
If you wanna try to look deeper into what the film might be all about we have on on side the jumpers, whose irresponsibility and the way in which they travel causing mischief is reminiscent of what a child would do.
Then we have the Paladins who want to stop them (even if the reason Cox gives is that "only God should be able to be everywhere") but in a way they are adulthood trying to catch up with these kids.
If the methods are a bit drastic, one might argue that maturity usually involves hard knocks when it arrives, but of course all this would be looking too far into a movie whose existence results impossible to defend.
Christensen's casting as the lead is puzzling, unless they wanted David to be played in a robotic manner (and can we really believe that someone who won't commit to an apartment will go back because he has never stopped loving his childhood sweetheart?)
Jackson is so over the top that he isn't even as selfconsciously campy as he usually is.
Bell is good, if only because his caddish ways never let his character take any of the crap he does seriously. The British actor must've known he was in the movie for the money and makes no effort trying to prove otherwise.
But what results plain disappointing is how aimless Liman's direction is. Like his jumpers he has lost all clue of the commitment filmmaking should be.
And while he gets to throw double decker buses in the middle of the desert and stage instant crosscountry battles, he doesn't seem to be extracting any fun out of it.
During the film's most ironic sequence David tells Griffin they should unite like "Marvel heroes".
What the characters, and the director, misunderstood is that superpowers don't instantly make you a super hero.
They should have taken cue from a true hero, and a much much better film that reminded us that with great power, comes great responsibility.