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The Hayden Christiensen actioner is silly, dumb fun, but this 3D Blu-ray edition is a full-blown turkey...
Fox / 2008 / 88 Minutes / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: October 15, 2013
Critics were unkind to this science fiction action film directed by Doug Liman, the man who brought us The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Jumper has an interesting premise devised by Steven Gould in his novel, but is flawed by a principal cast member’s uninspired performance. It begins with a matter-of-fact voiceover by David Rice (Hayden Christensen) as he stands atop the head of the Sphinx on the Giza plane, “Let me tell you about my day so far. Coffee in Paris, Surfed the Maldives. Took a little nap on Mount Kilimanjaro. Oh yeah, and I got digits from this Polish chick in Rijo. And then I jumped back for the final courter of the NBA finals. Courtside, of course. And all that was before lunch.”
There’s something special about Rice; he’s a Jumper, and we’re transported back eight years to discover what brought him to that unusual perch. Rice (played as young adolescent by Max Thieriot) was born with special abilities that he discovers quite by accident. The victim of a bully at school, David falls through the ice of a frozen river and is swept away underwater. About to drown, he instinctively teleports into a public library; it’s his first time and he’s shocked, but this newly discovered power will give him the opportunity to escape an unhappy adolescence. He leaves his first love, Millie Harris (played by AnnaSophia Robb as a young adolescent), his home, and an abusive father who is resentful about the mother, Mary (Diane Lane), abandoning them. Rice goes to New York City, settles into a fleabag hotel, and begins to experiment with his newly found skills. He soon discovers that he can teleport to anyplace for which he has a mental image (even from a photograph), including the interior of locked bank vaults. His financial future is now secure.
Fast forward eight years. Rice (now played by Hayden Christensen) is living the good life. His upscale Manhattan apartment runneth over with cash in many international currencies, chips from uncountable casinos, and more gadgets and toys than any human being should own.
He returns to his childhood home from time to time. He stores his overflow of valuables there, secure behind a door chained shut with thick steel links. He drives his father a bit crazy with those wordless visits; the man never really knows what’s behind the door. It’s only wood; I don’t understand why he never took a saw or an axe to it. Rice finally tracks down his first love. Millie (now played by the adorable, wide-eyed Rachel Bilson) is still in their home town; she never managed her childhood goal of spending some serious time in Rome. Instead she’s tending bar at a dive, popular with the local twenty-somethings. Rice has been pining for her for years and they have a surprisingly smooth reunion. As someone with unlimited resources, he quite naturally offers to take her to Rome, first class all the way. It’s an offer she can’t refuse.
But Rice has attracted the attention of both another Jumper, a Brit named Griffin (Jamie Bell), and the leader of a shadowy group known as the Paladins, a white-haired warrior named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson in Jedi mode). It seems that unbeknownst to the rest of us, for hundreds of years the Paladins have been on a religious crusade to seek out and destroy any and all Jumpers. Griffin is well aware of the threat, has developed countermeasures, and goes out of his way to warn Rice of the dangers. And none too soon, for Roland believes that Jumpers are inevitably corrupted by their unusual power and will change history, not necessarily for the better. Roland’s core belief is that “Only God should have this power.” This is the setup for conflict that spans the globe. And Rice is now vulnerable; Millie can be used as a pawn.