Jumper *** (out of ****)

Director: Doug Liman
Writers: David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls, Simon Kinberg based on the novel by Stephan Gould
Cast: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Michael Rooker, Tom Hulce, Kristen Stewart, Max Thieriot, AnnaSophia Robb
Rating: PG-13 (sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality)
Running Time: 88 min
Release Date: 2/14/2008

It all starts out when young David Rice (Max Thieriot) a high school student in Ann Arbor has a crush on young Millie (AnnaSophia Robb) and tries to give her a gift. Thereupon some jerk grabs it and throws it out onto some melting ice. David risks his life to go retrieve it and sure enough he falls through the ice. But the next thing he knows, he is in the local library in the middle of a pile of books soaked in water. His home life is no more friendly than school. He abusive father (Michael Rooker) just gives him grief for getting the floor wet when get home. David realizes that he has the power to teleport and as his father pounds on the his bedroom door he jumps to the big city.

He practices his newly acquired skill and soon finds that his life has taken a turn for the better. His need for money is satisfied when he teleports into a bank vault after hours and makes a substantial withdrawal. We now jump eight years forward to see David (Hayden Christensen) living in a fancy well furnished high-rise apartment with pictures everywhere of the places he’s been. Funded by his occasional bank withdrawals and using his special ability, he is now free to be a world traveler. He can picnic on the head of the sphinx, pick a hot babe in a London pub, and then go surfing the next morning. It a good life until one day he returns to his pad to find Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) waiting for him.

It seems his activities hadn’t gone completely unnoticed. Roland is a leader in a quasi-religious group known as the Paladins. Roland and his group hold to the conviction that “only God should have the power” to teleport. When Roland’s questioning becomes to pointed, David tries to teleport but Roland has this large taser-like device that leaves him frozen and unable to jump. David finally escapes after some struggle and goes back to Ann Arbor to find Millie (Rachel Bilson) who is now working a bar. It seems that Millie had always had dreams of world travel and traveling to Rome in particular. David offers to take her but a first she is doubtful and wonders how his can afford it. But, David explains that he is into banking (mostly withdrawals).

While showing Millie around the Coliseum, David is attacked by the Paladians and is saved when another jumper named Griffin (Jamie Bell) intervenes. It is from Griffin that David learns of the centuries old conflict between the Paladians and the jumpers. The jumpers are to be hunted down and killed. Griffin after surviving such an attack in the past has devoted himself to hunting Paladians with some success.

After Rolland captures Millie, David forms as very troubled alliance with Griffin to fight Roland. The problem is that they have somewhat different priorities. David wants mainly to save Millie while Griffin mainly wants to kill Roland and as many of his associates as possible. Conflict between them is inevitable when the best way to kill Roland assures Millie’s death as well.

Jumper is a well crafted action film that doesn’t let character development get in the way of the action. However, it also leaves many loose ends and that spells sequel! I found the concepts tantalizing enough to more than compensate for the aforementioned shortcomings.


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