For the generation that won't wait for anything, the teleporting protagonists of Jumper may have more appeal than the likes of Spiderman and Wolverine. If you skip ads, sneak a peek at the last chapter of a book, have ever wanted to fast forward through a boring flight, or truncate the dull commute to work, it may be your fantasies that Hayden Christensen is living in Bourne director Doug Liman's globe-trotting sci-fi outing.
Not content with such mundane shortcuts, gadabout Christensen is disposed to good living - financed by teleporting away the contents of bank - in a New York penthouse; he breakfasts on top of the Sphinx, checks out London from the clock-face of Big Ben before going on the pull, and flits in and out of a series of holiday hot-spot locations that resemble a fast flick through a travel-agent's plushest brochure. But one day jumper-hunter Samuel L. Jackson - wearing the daftest hairpiece since Morgan Freeman impersonated R. Lee Ermey in Dreamcatcher - is waiting for him with a wake-up call. Jackson is a Paladin, a sect that has been hunting those Godless teleporters since at least the middle-ages, though the invention of electricity has given them the ability to pin the fidgety globetrotters down while they run them through with a nasty hunting-knife.
Jumper had a lot of potential and it was a frustrating film. It's beautifully shot, with an intriguing premise, and a great performance from Samuel L. Jackson. Unfortunately, it's also got some cringe worthy dialog, distractingly large plot holes, and a zero charisma female lead in Rachel Bilson. The film looks great, featuring some jaw-dropping location photography, but the plot is a hodgepodge of underdeveloped elements. Diane Lane gets third billing for about five minutes of screen time in a throwaway role with absolutely no payoff. Jamie Bell, easily the best of the cast aside from Jackson, crafts a far more interesting character than lead Hayden Christensen, yet the script (credited to three different writers) regulates him to little more than a plot device. Worst of all is Rachel Bilson's character, who seems like an afterthought at best. The script's paper-thin characterization forces her to flesh out her role with sheer charisma, and, unlike Jackson, she's just not up to it.
There are moments, more than a few, in fact, where Jumper gets it right. The opening sequence, leading up to Christensen's character's discovery of his powers it spot-on, as are just about every one of Jackson's scenes, but these only serve to build false hope. This is a movie in search of an identity. Is it a super-hero movie? A romance? A sci-fi epic? Jumper feels like a movie made by a committee hell-bent on creating a franchise and that, ultimately, proves to be its undoing. Much as Jackson's character is fond of saying that no man should be all places at all times; no movie should be all things to all people. Bottom Line: Jumper is an unfortunate mess of a movie that wastes some beautiful photography and a great performance by Samuel L. Jackson.