Hayden Christensen is an obnoxious young man with special abilities in Jumper, the 2008 Doug Liman-directed thriller. Based on the science fiction novel of the same name from 1992 by Steven Gould, this film is a relatively hollow narrative with little emotional investment and bland characters. While the premise is nice and has gobs of potential for great stories, Liman’s final product suffers under the weight of poor acting and sloppy storytelling.
Christensen stars as David, a young man with a genetic anomaly that allows him to teleport like Nightcrawler from X-Men. David even leaves a little trail of dust and smoke, just like the horned blue guy. While exploring his gift, David decides to live the high life and escape his less-than-ideal circumstances back at home. He is a jet-setter, firmly entrenched in a lifestyle of adventure and fun. David can show up anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat, which enables him to eat a sandwich on top of the Sphinx.
David reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, the ridiculously-named Millie (Rachel Bilson) and they head to Rome the old-fashioned way (in a plane). While there, David’s adventurous side clashes with his desire to keep his “jumping” ability secret and it makes for some interesting but bland moments as he tries to sneak into various parts of the Coliseum. While mucking about in Rome, David discovers that he is not alone with his talents and also learns that there are those who want to kill “jumpers” for being abominations. While grappling with religious zealots and his new jumping ability, David learns about what’s really important in life.
With a supporting cast that boasts Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, and Michael Rooker, one would think the acting would be a little more on point. As such, the performances are generally all lacking in any substance or punch. Jackson’s turn as Roland, the story’s lead villain, is uninspiring and unintimidating. The chemistry between Bilson and Christensen is laughable, especially during a handful of terrible scenes at the Roman Coliseum.
Jumper will be a dream movie for some, as the idea of jetting off out of a bad situation and into a good one in another part of the world is sure to be exciting. It’s just too bad that Liman’s efforts with the premise fall so darn flat. For starters, there are no rules to the jumping. It is implied, somewhat, that a jumper has to have visited the place he is going to jump to. The film plays by these rules sometimes, but for the most part it appears to just make things up as it goes. The screenplay meanders around, correcting things where convenient and leaving huge gaps in logic. Why would a jumper need a car for any reason other than stylish purposes?