Jumper (2008)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Adventure  |   Release Date - Feb 14, 2008 (USA)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - Canada , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Outside of Star Trek, teleportation hasn't really gotten its cinematic day in the sun. That's unusual in an era when big ideas get exploited quickly and thoroughly, but Doug Liman's Jumper may shed some light on why teleportation and the movies are not good partners. Even when bound by certain rules -- for example, Hayden Christensen's David can't "jump" without having laid eyes on his destination -- it's just too powerful a special skill. So even though Jumper is driven by some interesting existential questions, it's also hampered by the protagonist's essential lack of vulnerability. Sure, it's fun to watch David indulge his ultimate freedom, whether he's sunning atop the Sphinx, or just making the two-foot hop that puts him within arm's length of the remote control. But the script -- by Simon Kinberg, David S. Goyer, and Jim Uhls -- runs into trouble when it moves beyond the introductory phase and tries to shape a plot around this unwieldy talent. David has no narrative goal outside of reconnecting with an old flame (Rachel Bilson), so he's left in the passive position of merely trying to escape his pursuers, which include Samuel L. Jackson in a peroxide 'do. Jackson et al. have learned some tricks to make their task easier, but they shouldn't be more than a minor nuisance to any jumper with half a brain. So, in order to keep suspense alive, Liman's characters comply, using only half their brains. Initially more uninspired than misguided, Jumper nose-dives in the last act, forgetting to resolve one main character, and concluding with one of those "why didn't he do that in the first place?" moments. Mirroring the attention deficit disorder that defines its main character, Jumper ends after just 88 minutes -- a hasty recognition that it's out of ideas and needs to move on.