JUMPER. 2008

Director: Doug Liman

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Jumper When Jumper (2008) was first-run in the cinema houses, the television ads for it were so slick & exciting, it looked like it was an A-budget Hollywood sci-fi thriller of the sort that relied exclusively in CGI instead of telling a story.

It was instead, despite an A-cast, much closer to a B-movie, from a producer-director mostly of episodic television. Neither story nor FX impressed.

The primary special effect was to stop the camera, have the actors move somewhere else, & start the camera again so it looks like someone teleported. It's an effect Georges Melies did as well or better by 1904. Which could've been fine if it had told a story.

Though hardly worth filming, & resoundingly trashed by critics including the film fans who are capable of loving crap, the director nevertheless seems to have believed it was worth risking everyone's life & limbs (except his own) to get it filmed.

A set dresser was killed dismantling a set under obviously unsafe conditions. Even the lead actor had multiple injuries & hospitalization, because the director insisted the idiotic "stunts" be done by the star.

JumperIt wasn't a film so much as it was an advertisement for a larger franchise, with comic books, spin-off novels, & video games for multiple consoles, among other products.

David (Hayden Christensen), a teenager on the verge of certain death, teleports himself from under the ice of a frozen lake to the safety of the school library. This is the first time he has ever teleported, as it is made perfectly clear he has never done it before. But toward the end of the film the badly written script will assert he's been doing it since the age of five.

He becomes quite the bankrobber & world traveller for eight blissful years, until the bad-ass leader of a cult of "Paladins" gets on his trail. Since medieval times the Paladins have tracked & killed jumpers, because "only God should have that much power."

The evil jumper-hunter is played by Samuel L. Jackson. The character's name is Roland Cox but I think Cox is his middle name & Ucker is his last name.

JumperApart from having bleached his hair white for the role, he's playing Roland Cox Ucker exactly as he plays bad guys in all too many films, & I'm sick & tired of seeing him play so many characters in exactly this manner without the least variation.

Barely escaping with his life from his first encounter with the top Paladin Roland, David doesn't set out to figure out how in the whole wide world he's going to survive being hunted.

Rather, he decides this is the perfect moment to track down an old highschool crush, Millie (Rachel Bilson), & try to kindle a romance. This of course will make it much harder for him to survive, but even more fun, it'll involve an innocent bystander for no reason but his own stupidity.

By now I'm just so annoyed by the assininity of this character & the whole movie, it was hard going to press through. Stories this lame should only exist in microbudget slashers made by snot-nosed brats barely old enough to vote.

Then a somewhat interesting character appears as if by magic, literally, as he's another jumper, Griffin (Jaimie Bell, the first cast member to go on the record during the promotional period, with the news that the movie sucked).

From the second jumper we learn there are quite a few like them, though we never see a third one. Together they teleport here & there pursued by Paladins, & have to save the damsel in distress along the way, until in the end they just win, cuz taking down the leader of a centuries-old cult is all that needed doing to make the world safe for jumpers.

There's a halfheartedly developed side-story about a confused alcoholic father (Michael Rooker) who is very nearly the only sympathetic character in the whole film, but he just gets summarily killed by the bad guy.

An equally halfhearted subplot regards our hero's missing mother (Diane Lane). She unexpectedly shows up to help her son at one point, then vanishes just as quickly not to be seen again until the film's coda.

I'd kind of hoped she was the leader of a jumper underground or something, & herself a jumper. Instead we get an irrational coda to the film, when she's in the story a second time to reveal she is herself a born member of the Paladin cult.

She had no choice but to abandon her son when he was five years old & she saw him do his first jump, as otherwise she would've been bound by her religion to kill her own child. Even now she'll have to hunt him, but she gives him a headstart & wishes him luck. It's a set up for the sequel obviously -- & unfortunately.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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