Jumper (M, 88mins) Directed by Doug Liman *½
David Rice (Hayden Christensen) leads an extraordinary life.
A typical day might involve coffee in Paris, surfing in the Maldives, lunch at the Pyramids of Giza and watching the final quarter of the NBA Playoffs.
However, it has not always been so. Although his mother left home when he was five and his father barely recognized him, David was a typical teenager until the day he crashed into a frozen lake. Instead of drowning, David is somehow magically transported to the Ann Arbor Public Library. After jumping once more, he begins to discover how he can control his powers and then seeks to use them for his own ends. Believing he can get away with anything, David relieves a number of banks of their excess money, but does not realize that his actions will eventually come back to haunt him.
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Director Doug Liman, best known for his more adult-oriented octane action flicks like The Bourne Identity and Mr and Mrs Smithfailed badly here.
Sloppyly edited with an overreliance on a single special effect, this breathless, hyper-kinetic film feels like it was cut for about 20 minutes.
Start as I was a teenage teleporter, the screenplay, based on Steven Gould’s 1992 sci-fi novel of the same name, ends up being nothing more than a lengthy chase sequence and travelogue as Paris, Rome, Egypt , the Czech Republic, Mexico and Tokyo are all visited. At least the cast and crew got to see the world; all we get is an empty-headed, teenage wish-fulfillment film as superficial as its ethereal lead character.
I still don’t know how writers of the caliber of David S. Goyer (batman begins), Jim Uhls (fight club) and Simon Kinberg (Mr and Mrs Smith) made such a mess. The motivations of the characters are either unexplained or absurd. And how the hell does the “jump” actually work? They talk about having “jump sites”, but seem to be able to jump to and from anywhere.
The mishmash continues in the music department. John Powell’s score over-eggs, rather than underlines, the action.
You can see the appeal of this film. Reuniting Mace Windu (Samuel L Jackson) to take on young Darth Vader himself (Christensen) with the entire planet as his battleground? I can hear sci-fi geeks salivating from here. But Christensen just falls back on two expressions – smarmy and sulky – and Jackson sports the worst dye job since Wesley Snipes in the wrecker.
At least with this movie there were intentional laughs.
Jumper is now available to stream on Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.