Review: Jumper

Published 7 years ago by

By Vic Holtreman

Short version: How can such an interesting concept end up as such a boring movie? One reason: Hayden Christensen.

jumper movie Review: JumperI must be feeling generous with this Jumper review – despite the fact I’m giving it only 2.5 stars, that’s a rave compared to other movie reviews of this film.

I had really hoped this would be one of those little movies that turned out to be great, especially since I knew it was from Doug Limon, the director of The Bourne Identity and Mr & Mrs Smith. Those two films would look great on any director’s resume.

And then we had the screenplay, written by Jim Uhls, who wrote the script for the amazing film Fight Club and David S. Goyer whose written great stuff like Batman Begins and Dark City.

You’d think that this movie couldn’t miss with all that talent behind the camera… but unfortunately you’d be wrong.

Jumper opens with Hayden Christensen doing a voiceover while we see his 15 year old self, David Rice (played by Max Thieriot). Now I don’t mind a little introductory voiceover if it’s done right and is brief, but here it kept going on and on. While we saw 15 year old David being a typical shy and unpopular teenager with a crush on Millie (AnnaSophia Robb and then Rachel Bilson), Hayden’s voice keeps interjecting itself, explaining what his younger self feels and is experiencing.

The narration went on so long that I feared it would be an ongoing thing throughout the entire movie. Oh, and note to future writers: You might consider not making the opening line of a movie:

I used to be a regular chump, just like you.

The young Rice discovers his powers in a rather cool scene, and due to the fact that his mother left when he was five years old and his father (Michael Rooker) is less than ideal, he takes off within hours of discovering his power to live on his own. Everyone thinks he’s dead because he fell through ice in a nearby river and never surfaced.

His second thought (after “hey, I can teleport”) is “hey, I can be the ultimate thief.” The rationalization (again voiced over by Christensen) is that he was only 15 and you’d do the same thing. I guess we would, considering the fact that we’re you know – chumps.

He “jumps” into a bank vault and steals hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. We then cut to him eight years later, living in a classy apartment filled with obviously expensive stuff. We get to see him in his apartment, jumping even within the confines of his living space, and here’s where we get to one of the main problems with the film: David is an unappealing character.

He’s spoiled and lazy. Lazy to the point that he’s sitting on one end of his sofa, looks at the remote that is slightly beyond arm’s reach, gets an annoyed look on his face and jumps two feet to the right so he doesn’t have to stretch to get to it.

He also jumps about eight feet to get to his refrigerator from the living room, from upstairs to downstairs, etc. I was watching this thinking “how lazy can you possibly be?” And if he’s that averse to physical movement, how the hell does he stay in such great shape? I think it would have been more realistic if they had cast a fat, ugly guy in the role.

We see a typical day in the life of David: Jumping to Europe to pick up chicks in bars that will never be able to find him the next morning; having a snack atop the Great Sphinx in Egypt; surfing in some exotic location, etc. While it might be fun briefly, as an ongoing thing it would be a empty existence – much like the lives of many young Hollywood stars, now that I think about it.

Anyway, we eventually meet Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Roland, who is a “Paladin”: a hunter of “Jumpers.” Within the span of the film we’re not really 100% sure if the Paladin’s are fanatics and evil, or if they’re truly the guardians of humanity (although the film leans towards the fanatic angle).

Apparently Paladins have been hunting Jumpers since the Middle Ages, and ruthlessly. They can capture Jumpers by shocking them continuously with electricity, breaking their concentration, and also by anchoring them to a stationary object. In the first scene demonstrating this I almost laughed out loud: Jackson almost disembowels a Jumper in South America with a huge knife, and it’s shot in such a way that this gruesome murder shows not a single drop of blood being spilled.

David eventually goes back to Michigan to find Millie, they connect and he takes her to Rome by airplane, which must have been excrutiating for him. They frolic for a bit but of course it doesn’t last long before things go awry. This is where he meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper who is more experienced and also aware of the war with the Paladins.

Millie is captured and David of course wants to rescue her, while Griffin considers her a casualty of war.

So, what’s good about the movie: The concept, a couple of too brief action sequences, and Jamie Bell as Griffin. I really wish he was the focus of the film as he was much more entertaining to watch onscreen. The best scenes in the film are any in which he appears.

Unfortunately, on the whole this movie was BORING. I’m sorry… I’m sure Hayden Christensen is a nice guy, but this movie cements the fact that it wasn’t George Lucas’ direction in the Star Wars prequels that made him seem wooden. The guy is just plain dull in this movie and he makes the whole thing a yawner.

Of course it’s not all his fault the movie is boring. When it’s slow, it’s really slow, and it’s also somewhat disjointed. It feels like you’re watching a first time driver trying to work a manual transmission with the movie lurching forward and then alternately abruptly slowing way down.

And then there were some things that I thought were just plain dumb. If you’re being hunted by experts at capturing someone with your power, how about just maybe considering carrying a gun? You can be captured by being shot/surrounded with electric wire? How about before you head out you put on some sort rubber bodysuit? Or carry a wire cutter? Oh, and I’m pretty sure that if you were trapped/wrapped up in an live electrical tower you’d be literally fried to a crisp.

I didn’t go lower with my rating because it wasn’t completely awful, it was just kind of uninteresting – and there was enough in it to push it to a 50/50 for me due to Griffin, the concept and a couple of the action scenes.

Actually, as I left the theater it occured to me that this would be a great premise for an ongoing hourly TV series, but with a different lead actor.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. Oh, well…I was hoping Darth and Mace would make a good film…


  2. It really doesnt look very good.
    your review has only vindicated my decision not to see it.

  3. Sorry you had to sit through such dreck. Doug Liman has been involved in some very good movies that I really enjoyed; Hayden Christensen has not.


  4. Damn Vic, I was going to go see this tomorrow night after work. Looks like it’ll be “The Bucket List” for me instead!! I guess they showed all the best scenes in the trailers and commercials, because it looks like a VERY action packed movie.

    We should petition Congress to pass a law prohibiting Hayden Christensen from ever acting again…at least in a movie with Samuel L. Jackson, anyway.

  5. Very precise review Vic as allways. That opening line was pretty bad. Its amazing that the 20 exec’s that approved that line thought it was ok.
    Well I hope chumps all over the world don’t see this one.
    I’ve got a good read now on this film and maybe I’ll catch it on dvd…
    The Griffen character reminds me of the invisable Hero that helps Peter in Heroes learn about his gift.
    Hayden is a real nice guy BTW, I think he’s somehowe turned into the next Keanu Reeves but even Keanu found his perfect role in The Matrix. I have hope that Hayden will too someday…

    Personally I’m getting tired of Sam Jackson… He should continue to host the Video Game Awards but please take a haitus from motion pictures.

  6. Yeah, very weak. But I’ve definitely sat through worse. Just check out the 0 star and 1 star movie review sections of Screen Rant. :-)

    And that’s for other folks, not you Brian, since you have your fair share of reviews in those categories!


  7. Movie was not great but like able. The girl was beautiful!


  8. Have to admit Rk,I saw this (capture his girlfriend for leverage) plot in thr trailer.
    Its a pretty old concept and not original at all the entire film seems like a bad Heroes spin-off.

  9. Darth and Mace made for a good Jedi fight scene.
    But maybe part of this (boring film) was bad chemistry on their parts?

  10. You I was hearing bad things about this, but was going to see it just for the action. But, thanks now I’m going to spend my money on something more worthy.

  11. I really don’t understand the hate. I thought it was awesome. What did you expect? It was released in February… Can’t you people just sit down and enjoy a movie without picking it apart frame by frame?

  12. LOL, I was wondering how long it would take for a post saying “why can’t you just enjoy a movie?” :-)

    Because it was boring, that’s why. I thought I explained myself pretty well. I’ve enjoyed plenty of action flicks including last year’s “Live Free or Die Hard.”

    And what does February have to do with it? Did I miss an announcement saying that one must accept mediocre movies if they’re released this month?


  13. Well you’ve talked me out of wanting to see the movie. However complaining about that first line is perhaps one of the silliest things I’ve ever read.

  14. Humor: A difficult concept.


  15. Wrong, wrong and wrong. This was an interesting concept that obviously leads to a sequel. The hidden society factor was just beginning to reveal itself at the end. I hate Hayden, but he finally found his notch. FYI, he’s supposed to be unlikeable – and by your own account, they succeeded. And I love how your expertise in being hunted reveals what this guy should have done to protect himself. Its not a 90′s Arnold movie. The fact that he didn’t act with common sense half the time actually makes it more believable. He’s not Bond, he’s not Arnold, he’s not Rambo. He’s a chump that barely manages to escape with his life – like a real person. By all means, write up a version of the script for us so we can see your chops. Easily 3 stars and perhaps more.

  16. No comment from me about the review cuz I haven’t seen the film…LOL!

    But I think people should take it easy on Hayden Christensen. He’s a nice guy in “real life” and I hope he has a good carreer as an actor before his time is up. Some actors will read negative comments about themselves and commit suicide cuz they think no one likes them. So even if ya don’t like the guy,just take it easy on him is all I’m sayin’. :-)

  17. Well I *did* say that I’m sure he’s a nice guy, just that I don’t think he can act very well.

    If I took to heart what some people say about me in the comments here I’d be in deep trouble. :-)


  18. Hayden Christensen acts about as well as George Bush runs our country….. :P

  19. Andy, what are you talking about. Haydens a fine actor I didn’t have any problems with him in Star Wars sorry eveyone.

    I’m sure Jumper could have been better but to compair him to Shrub. Come that’s harsh realm turf.
    +shrub dosnt run the country anyway.

  20. LOL,Vic! :-)

    Hey,Steve! :-D

    You guys are too much…..

  21. At least Anakin’s “Jumper” beat the “Spiderwick” film and that “Step up 2″ ganghop, PoS!
    200 dark Jedi points awarded.

  22. I think the movie’s believability factor was pretty high. Christiansen’s character is completely real. What he does in the film is EXACTLY what I would do as well – get some easy money and then live life to the fullest. Yeah he’s lazy. Me too. I totally dug the way he zipped around his apartment. It looks cool and it’s a realistic representation of what a character like this would do.

    As for the story itself, I think this was all one big set-up for future installments. The back story with Hayden’s family was slightly revealed and I think there is a lot more fun and interesting things to be happening there in the future (Kristin Stewart is in the movie – hmmmm).

    Also, if you thought it was boring, fair enough. But I thought all the action sequences were fun and fast paced and there were plenty of them (the car ride in particular). Aside from the shaky cam, poorly edited fight at The Colliseum, the rest was great fun… in my opinion.

    3.5/5 stars for me.

  23. I think it would have been more realistic if they had cast a fat, ugly guy in the role.

    Hey, I resemble that remark! :o)

    I totally agree with Vic, the movie had it’s moments but ultimately fails because of the boring performance of the star. I actually fell asleep because I got soo bored.

    Also, Vic is just giving his opinion on the movies. Could we stop blasting him because he may have a different opinion than yours.

    Oh, and Vic, it’s quoted “Humor: A difficult concept. It is not logical”. If ya’ gonna quote Trek with a Trekker reader, ya’ better get it right. :o)

  24. Thanks, John. :-)

    So Andy, in that scene where Hayden was watching flood victims that “couldn’t be reached by rescue workers” you still would have decided to pop on over to London to hang out on Big Ben and have a one night stand?

    And “easy money” as in being a thief? Maybe it would have worked for me if he had stolen the money from drug dealers or something.


  25. Not every movie has to be a hero with a heart of gold. I’m still going to see it.

  26. Forget the movie, read the book, the author’s name is Steven Gould. If they had resisted “hollywooding” up the story to make it seem more interesting, it would have been a whole lot better. Check it out and see what I mean.
    BTW, the David Rice of the book is a very sympathetic character, is not spoiled or lazy, and is actually very physically active: he only “jumps” to get from location to location. He also has to deal with an alcoholic, abusive father, abandonment by his mother,his new talent, meeting the mother again, dealing with her death and funeral only days after reconnecting with her, his relationship with Millie (whom he meets in New York, she a college student and he a 17 year old bookworm), the government’s attempts to capture him, and the terrorist who killed his mother. Don’t know how much of that’s in the film, since I never saw it, but it gives you a whole perspective about how one person deals with this kind of power, and the choices they make because of it.

  27. Hey Moriarte for giggles I would love to read your review of Alien vs Predator R…
    Btw, I loved Cronicles of Riddick.