Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

"Doug Liman’s audacious latest takes itself seriously while being bags of fun."

One of those ideas that makes you wonder why hasn’t someone thought of this already?, the premise behind Jumper is a great one.

When teenager David Rice (Max Thieriot) accidentally discovers that he can teleport himself to any location he’s seen, he uses it to escape a miserable life. Years later, twentysomething David (Hayden Christensen) has used his ability to live a wealthy, playboy existence and decides to head home to reconnect with childhood sweetheart Millie (Rachel Bilson). However, after meeting fellow 'jumper' Griffin (Jamie Bell), he learns that their kind have long been sought by a group of religious fanatics under the lead of a brutal hunter (Samuel L Jackson).

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Despite a good hook, the premise is never really given time to settle thanks to the movie’s constantly-moving energy, but still, the coolness of being able to instantly jump anywhere you want (say goodbye to door handles and airports) means there’s wish-fulfilment to spare.

Loosely adapted from Steven Gould’s source novel, David Goyer’s original script did require rewrites from both Jim Uhls and producer Simon Kinberg (that’s a lot of scribes), but thankfully the end result has an inspiring attention to detail. That is does is testament to director Doug Liman who – like he did with the first (and best) Bourne as well as Mr & Mrs Smith – took his time getting things right. The studios might bemoan an over-running shoot (just ask Dick Donner about his Superman experience), but late quality is better than on-time guff.

Apparently spending time to get in the mindset of a jumper and demanding that they shoot on location as much as possible (filming in 20 cities in 14 countries no less), Liman gives the movie an important sense of credibility. As for the transporting effects (or ‘bamfing to X-Men fans), they’re not just credible, they’re flawless. With six storyboard artists instead of the usual one and Christensen doing all his own stunts to the point of injury (bashed hand, split ear, hyperdilated pupil… you know, the norm), the jumping looks all kinds of crazy cool.

And the problems? Well given that it’s an origin story and always feels like part one of a saga in the making, we have lots of set-up with characters that aren’t as developed as you’d like. Still, despite the basic fleshings-out, Christensen does enough with his morally-questionable globe-hopper to keep us invested. Stepping in only two weeks before filming (Kinberg felt that the 18-year-old Tom Sturridge was too young), little Ani has stepped up a bit since his Darth junior days.

Around him, while Bilson doesn't get more to do than essentially replay Summer from The OC (girl from next door that our hero has loved since childhood), the white-haired Jackson does a nice line in turtle-neck villain and Jamie Bell is a gravitas-lending stand-out.

Some have complained that it didn’t live up to it’s promise, but Doug Liman’s audacious latest takes itself seriously while being bags of fun. Unlike too many motion pictures, Jumper does exactly that it says on the tin.

Reviewed on: 16 Jul 2009
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A young man discovers he has the ability to teleport and that a secret society wants to kill him for it.
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Read more Jumper reviews:

Paul Griffiths ***1/2

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls, Simon Kinberg

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Michael Rooker, Diane Lane

Year: 2008

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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