‘Jumper’ falls short

Wed, 02/20/2008 - 11:11am
By: Emily Baldwin

David Rice (Hayden Christensen) discovers at a young age that he has the ability to teleport himself anywhere in the world. Made possible through a genetic anomaly, his power allows him to escape his current life – one of being bullied at school by classmates and at home by an abusive/alcoholic father. His mother left when David was just five, and he hasn’t seen her since. David uses his power to flee his home life, becoming a bank robber to fund a life he never could have dreamed of before. (Robbing banks is pretty easy, it turns out, if you never have to open a door!)

Now a young adult, David has traveled the world. He lives life across the globe on a daily basis – beginning his day in New York City and traveling to London, Fiji and Egypt before heading back to his Manhattan apartment.

The one part of his old life that he misses, however, is his childhood friend Millie (Rachel Bilson). Although David sometimes goes home to watch his father from a distance, he never interacts with anyone from his old life. That is until he can’t resist seeing Millie any longer. In an effort to impress his old friend, David encourages Millie to travel with him (the old-fashioned way) to Rome – the place she always dreamed of going. David only tells her that he is “in banking” when she asks where his wealth comes from, and for a while things go well. That is until David finds himself being chased by a group of armed strangers who clearly want him dead.

Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper who has been watching David’s conspicuous use of his abilities, steps in just in time to help David escape a fatal encounter with those after him. The Paladins, as Griffin calls them, have long been on the hunt for Jumpers.

According to Griffin, the Paladins want to wipe out Jumpers because they believe Jumpers are too powerful. According to head Paladin Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), Jumpers shouldn’t have the ability to be everywhere at once – only God should have that ability. So, Paladins must clear the planet of these genetically different individuals.

So now David has placed not only himself but Mille and his father in harm’s way. Griffin and David must find a way to stop the Paladins before the Paladins stop them.

“Jumper” is based off a book of the same name by Steven Gould. Gould's book is the first of a series, and it’s quite clear by the end of this film that it was made to be the first in a series as well. At only an hour and a half, the film is lacking some of the meat of the story that would make it more well-rounded.

We see who the Paladins are – as in we see some of their faces, we know that they want to wipe out the Jumpers and we’re told they’ve been doing this for centuries, but we aren’t given much else. Who are these people? Who gave them the power to go after the Jumpers? Why do they have such a deep seeded hatred for Jumpers? And how do you become a Paladin? These are just a few of the questions the film left me asking.

I think that if the filmmakers had added 30 more minutes to the film, they would have answered some essential questions and really improved the story-line.

What I will say for the film, though, is that it’s actually not too bad. It’s no “Bourne Identity,” but it’s not a terrible action, sci-fi film either. While the story could have been more filled out, the action sequences are fun to watch – particularly one fight sequence between David and Griffin, where they jump from place to place across the globe while duking it out.

The idea for the novel-turned-film itself is fun and interesting, and I think that a sequel could make “Jumper” a bit more compelling – especially if they spend a little more time on the back-story.

“Jumper” is a decent action film for this time of year and not a bad choice for a trip to the theater despite its faults.


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