By Guy Davis
Despite what its title might lead you to believe, ”Jumper” is not the story of a warm, comfortable pullover.
Okay, now that the most obvious gag is out of the way, letâ€™s talk about the movie, an allegedly action-packed adventure that tells the story of David Rice (Hayden Christensen), a young man with the extraordinary ability to transport himself anywhere in the world.
No, he hasnâ€™t racked up a huge number of frequent-flyer points. David is a â€˜Jumperâ€™, someone who can travel any distance simply by thinking about it.
Whether itâ€™s across the room or around the globe, he can disappear and re-appear in a matter of seconds. And since he left home as a teenager, heâ€™s used his skill to visit almost every country on Earth and amass a tidy little nest egg by popping in and out of various bank vaults (always leaving an apology or an IOU).
But Jumpers arenâ€™t all that popular with some sections of the community, especially the Paladins, a secret society dedicated to wiping them out. â€œOnly God should have the power to be in all places at all times,â€ is the view of Paladin head honcho Roland (Samuel L. Jackson).
When Roland and his crew learn of Davidâ€™s existence, the young man finds himself on the run. Returning to his home town, he renews his acquaintance with Millie (Rachel Bilson from ”The O.C.”), the girl he loved but left years earlier.
But while David may have a second chance at happiness with Millie, he also inadvertently puts her in danger…because the Paladins will use any angle they can to bring down a Jumper.
Based on a young-adult novel by Stephen Gould, ”Jumper” is slickly-made mainstream entertainment with one big flaw: it jumps (ha!) from scene to scene with wild abandon, offering only the skimpiest insight into the characters and their personalities.
Thereâ€™s nothing necessarily wrong with that â€“ indeed, it may well move at just the right pace Jumperâ€™s young, information-savvy target audience. But it feels a little threadbare as a result, even though itâ€™s tricked out with gorgeous globe-trotting locales and cutting-edge special effects.
Director Doug Liman (”The Bourne Identity”, ”Mr & Mrs Smith”) could well be to blame for this.
Heâ€™s a curious filmmaker, this one: heâ€™s clearly an interesting stylist who makes some cool choices (”Jumper”s jazzy music score is a standout, for example) but he also seems easily distracted and eager to get one sequence over with so he can move on to the next one.
So ”Jumper” subsequently comes across as a handful of good ideas and well-made scenes rather than a complete experience.
Christensen poses another problem. Heâ€™s not untalented (despite what detractors of his ”Star Wars” performances may claim), but heâ€™s only as good as his material. And while he shows a guileless charm in his early scenes, heâ€™s not really equipped to breathe much life into the later parts of the movie.
It doesnâ€™t help that Jackson lets his platinum hairdo do much of his work, and that Bilson is cute and likeable but unmemorable.
But ”Billy Elliotâ€™s” Jamie Bell makes up for these lacklustre turns with his performance as Griffin, a rogue Jumper who becomes Davidâ€™s unwilling ally against the Paladins.
Bell, whoâ€™s shaping as a very versatile and watchable actor, brings a scruffy, semi-feral edge to the proceedings that gives Jumper a jump-start whenever he appears.
Commentary, Making-Of… few other bits & pieces (Extras Unpreviewed)