Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Hayden Christensen,
Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Doug Liman
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: June 10, 2008
“Take a deep breath.”
To the best of my knowledge, teleportation is a power that hasn’t been used much in the movies. The closest thing we’ve seen is the characters on Star Trek use the transporter room, as well as the special closet doors in Monsters, Inc. The action/adventure genre has been no doubt thirsting for a premise to work in this ability, and the appropriately titled Jumper delivers a unique thrill ride as a result.
Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) presides over yet another fantastic popcorn thrill ride. It may not do much for the brain, but it in the realm of escapist entertainment it does more than deliver. It’s such a terrifically entertaining 88 minutes that you may find yourself wanting to repeat the adventure after your first viewing.
Based on a series of novels by Steven Gould, the movie centers around a young man with the rarest of abilities. David Rice (Hayden Christensen) has a real gift that anyone would kill to have. He carries the ability to teleport anywhere in the world. He discovered this power at a younger age, and it’s safe to assume that ever since then he has truly been all around the world.
The movie opens with David, in his younger years, discovering his power and using it to his advantage. He runs away from an abusive father and lands in New York City, and by his late 20s David is living the good life. He’s become a wealthy individual, mainly by breaking into bank vaults and stealing large sums of money. And to be totally honest, if I had David’s ability I would be doing the same thing.
But this power is not without its consequences. A mysterious government agent named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) appears out of nowhere and seems to know all about David’s secret power, as well as his banking endeavors. Roland, part of a secret government force known as the Paladins, sees David as a serious threat and wants to see the existence of his kind come to an end.
That’s right, David is not the only jumper in the world. Through a chance encounter with fellow jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell), David discovers that others like him exist all over the world. Griffin also informs him that there’s an ongoing war between Jumpers and Paladins, who hunt and kill Jumpers all over the world for fanatically religious purposes.
Griffin, though, is turning the tables on the Paladins and hunting them down one by one. David doesn’t want to be caught up in this war, but eventually has to cooperate with Griffin, who insists that the Paladins will hurt anyone close to David in order to win their battle. This includes family members and his new girlfriend, Millie (Rachel Bilson).
If you’ve come to witness a first rate special effects extravaganza, you are definitely going to get your money’s worth here. It’s cool enough seeing the jumpers go from one place to another by foot, but once they get behind the wheel of a car (or get a handle on a London tour bus), watch out. And this movie features one of the craziest fights I’ve ever seen between, that’s right, two jumpers.
In fact, this movie is so darn good that Hayden Christensen’s all too flat performance doesn’t sink it a bit. Now I’m not one of the many who thrive on bashing Christensen as an actor (he’s terrific in both Shattered Glass and Life as a House) but he does deliver one wooden line reading too many here. It’s Jamie Bell as the hotheaded Griffin who steals the movie, and the eternal badass that is Samuel L. Jackson does make a noteworthy movie villain. In fact, I wonder if he wanted to do this role mainly so that he could turn the tables on Anakin Skywalker.
Jumper is very much the kind of inventive special effects driven action flick that I’ve wanted to experience again ever since I first saw The Matrix. It tries something new in the use of effects, and to a degree even in the realm of story. And given the way it concludes, I certainly do hope a sequel will jump our way soon.
Once again, I’m reviewing the anamorphic picture quality for a Fox screener disc (I plan to have an updated review of this area upon the release of the final product), and the image quality isn’t quite as bad as I’m used to seeing with these screener discs. There’s an occasional presence of heavy pixelation, but thankfully it’s not continuous. The special effects sequences appear in tremendous form, and the picture for the most part is acceptable.
The 5.1 mix and DTS tracks provide fantastic and furious sound quality to this fantastic and furious movie. Action and effects sequences sound nothing short of outstanding. The last half hour of the movie is basically a nonstop feast of blazing sound quality. Dialogue delivery is quite strong, as are music playback and various set pieces, from which some nice surround sound quality emerges.
Some nice extras have landed on this Fox release, starting with a commentary track with director Doug Liman, writer/producer Simon Kinberg and producer Lucas Foster, as well as an animated graphic novel segment titled “Jumpstart: David’s Story”, several featurettes including the extremely well done documentary “Doug Liman’s Jumper: Uncensored”, which covers every aspect of the production. Additional featurettes include “Jumping Around the World”, “Making an Actor Jump” and “Jumping From Novel to Film: The Past, Present and Future of Jumper”. Lastly, we get Deleted Scenes, a look at the schematics for the action sequences titled “Previz: Future Concepts” and a couple of bonus trailers, including a sneak peek at the new season of 24.
Jumper is a pure representation of true quality escapist movie fare. A unique premise is brought to life by mind-blowing special effects, resulting in a fast paced, remarkably entertaining flick!