*** (out of 5)
February 14, 2008
Hayden Christensen as DAVID RICE
Jamie Bell as GRIFFIN
Rachel Bilson as MILLIE
Diane Lane as MARY RICE
Samuel L. Jackson as ROLAND
Michael Rooker as WILLIAM RICE
AnnaSophia Robb as YOUNG MILLIE
Max Thieriot as YOUNG DAVID
Directed by: Doug Liman
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I’ll have to admit that I was a little nervous about seeing “Jumper.” (I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but when you know how and why movies are released at different times of the year, it’s hard to ignore.) First, the film was starring Hayden Christensen, which isn’t really a problem, but he’s having a hard time proving his acting chops after the “Star Wars” movies.
Then, the film was being dropped into February, which isn’t as bad as January but still not the greatest release time for big budget films. However, I was willing to take a chance on this one because Doug Liman was behind the camera for this, and he hasn’t disappointed me yet. (And this means something considering I was dreading “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” yet it turned out to be a spectacular film.)
“Jumper” is a mainstream, contemporary science fiction action flick. Christensen stars as David Rice, a guy who learned at a very young age that he could teleport. He uses this ability to escape from an abusive life in Michigan. He funds his lifestyle by robbing banks, and he slops around the world like a trust fund kid.
Unlike the characters we usually see in films, he doesn’t try to become a superhero. Rather, he takes advantage of his power, teleporting for the most mundane reasons, like to get the remote on the other side of the couch and go to the refrigerator to get some milk.
However, when he shows up on the radar of the Paladin (led by a wicked-cool Samuel L. Jackson with white hair), an elite group of agents bent on killing all Jumpers, he must go on the run. But he still manages to bring along his new girlfriend Millie, played by a pretty but too-skinny Rachel Bilson.
When you get down to the reasons to see the movie, it’s not for story or characters. I’ll admit there are problems with leaps of logic and general silliness from the characters. For example, after he’s targeted by the Paladin, Rice chooses to gallivant to Italy with Millie rather than go into hiding.
Still, the real reason to see the movie is all over the film. It’s an action piece all the way, and contemporary sci-fi action is sadly very rare. In science fiction circles, I imagine this film will gain a following, but I think it has a flavor that can translate to the popcorn audience of the mainstream.
Christensen and Bilson are two of the most beautiful people in Hollywood, but they’re drab in the roles. Bogey-and-Bacall they are not. Heck, they’re not Hanks-and-Ryan or even the McConaughey-and-Hudson for the month. But they aren’t terrible and can carry us to the next action sequences.
And let me tell you, the action sequences rock. I never thought I’d say this about the overblown Hollywood big-budget action genre, but you will see stuff in “Jumper” that you have never seen anywhere else. In fact, the only way the action could have been better would be to have Christensen and Jackson to whip out lightsabers and have a kick-ass cinematic rematch.
Ultimately, I really hope that “Jumper” does well enough to warrant another film. I feel that there’s a lot left unsaid in the film, and much more of a story to tell. In many ways, “Jumper” seems to be a great set-up for better movies to come, and I’d love to see a franchise for this.
Perhaps Christensen and Bilson aren’t needed for more films, but the whole Jumper concept could make one hell of a series. For that reason alone, people should see the film.