- Doug Liman
- Reviewed by
- Alejandro Legorreta a.k.a. Lego
- Review date
- Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Hayden Christensen is David Rice, a normal teenager until he finds he’s got the ability to teleport himself from place to place when he first "jumps" spontaneously in order to escape his abusive father (Michael Rooker). Having run away, he learns to control his ability and then does, I guess, what every one of us, being a teleporting teenager, would do: go into a bank’s vault and get away with several thousands in cash. The good thing is that Jumpers do not have to worry about mingling their own molecules with a fly's, as they can actually hold onto anything: other people, cars, even parts of a building, and teleport to another place arriving safe and sound on the other side with whoever or whatever they were carrying.
David grows up and, by that time, he’s already got a penthouse at a luxurious NY building and he’s been all over the world. The usual day for him involves having breakfast on top of the Giza’s Sphinx in Egypt, spending the afternoon surfing the best waves of the season in Hawaii or Fiji, and having a drink at a popular pub in London while checking out and hitting on the hot babes at night.
Yes, life is good for David, that is, until the bad guys appear. He learns that he is not the only one with that unusual gift and also learns that there is actually a group of people that hunt Jumpers for a living. Roland, played by Samuel L. Jackson, has been following David since he first broke in at his first bank. He is the leader of the Paladins, that particular group of individuals whose only goal in life seems to be killing all the Jumpers and, apparently, this war between Jumpers and Paladins has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.
But David doesn’t look like he is the type of guy that’d enjoy messing up with other people’s lives. Granted, he steals money, but then he is basically a good guy that likes to pamper himself and enjoy a low-profile, big-shot-like life and spend big amounts of money. I’d bet the IRS would nail him before The Paladins would. Ok yes, I guess with time David could get bored of all the indulgences and turn to the bad side; maybe teleport himself right into the Pentagon secret archives and steal some sensitive material and then try to sell it or just give it away to a terrorist organization. I haven’t read the book, but I understand that, in the original Gould’s novel, there is no Paladin organization and the villains (or at least the guys chasing David), are actually NSA agents who are trying to understand these powers and get them to “good” use. I think Roland says that he works for the NSA, which initially made sense to me, but then, this character turns out to be just an obsessed, fanatical hunter. This is where the movie starts going nowhere. We spend the rest of the time watching Roland following and fighting David, while he drags with him his love interest, Millie (Rachel Blison), around the world. Throw in the appearance of Griffin (Jamie Bell), another paranoid Jumper, and the brief and inexplicable appearance of David’s mother (Diane Lane), who’s a Paladin herself (!?), and we end up with this 88 minute mess.
There are so many inconsistencies in this movie that it is hard to follow. For instance, I really never bought or understood Roland. What’s his motivation? Nobody knows. The movie doesn’t stop to elaborate on this issue. Maybe he’s jealous because he can’t teleport himself, but, in any case, he seems to be pretty much settled as he can travel all over the world and it is obvious that he doesn’t depend on commercial airlines schedules.
Roland utters at some point something like: “God is the only one that should have those powers!”, and if you consider that the name Paladins has been associated with the highest officials of the Catholic Church, the religious connotation is inevitable. I assume that most religious people don’t question what their religion says, they just comply. Liman and company are like that, they don’t care. They don’t give the Paladins a cause, they just let them hate the Jumpers so much, and then they give us Roland, an overzealous, inquisitorial-like priest whose religion states that its worst deadly sin is teleporting.
Roland is blind for mysterious reasons, but I’m not. If David’s mother is a Paladin and she won’t kill her own son, why not convince her to enlist David as a Paladin? Paladins can not “jump”, so it might be helpful for them to have an actual jumper in the ranks. Why not convince David to partner with him and do something good for the entire human race, or just themselves? Can you imagine the possibilities? This is what saves this movie from the worst rating. I’ve spent myself quite some time thinking about these, and when movies make me think, I like them. Forget about having David teleporting medical supplies to a disaster stricken, inaccessible region, or having David rescue a bunch of people from the top of a burning building. How about being the world’s most feared paparazzo? Jump into a celebrity’s home, catch him or her off guard, and get away with some photos that could be sold to the tabloids for millions, or how about just establishing the world’s fastest and most effective courier service? Anyway, if I ever come across a Jumper, watch out FedEx!
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