"JUMPER" (2008) Review
Doug Liman directed this film adaptation of Steven Gould's 1992 science-fiction thriller about a young man who discovers that he has a teleportation ability as a teenager and finds himself the target of a group of bounty hunters known as Paladins. The movie starred Hayden Christensen.
I really did not know what to expect of this movie when I first saw it thirteen years ago. I had never read Gould's novel and the sequels that followed. The movie trailer had looked promising. When the film was released in February 2008, the critics' response had been lukewarm. And I ended up not expecting much. Yet, lo and behold, I ended up enjoying "JUMPER" more than I had expected.
Liman did a good job in keeping the narrative interesting and well paced. Hayden Christensen (dubbed "wooden" by the critics) gave a subtle, yet entertaining performance as an immature young man named David Rice, who had spent eight years without any parental supervision or a mentor. His experiences with the Paladins forced him to finally grow up. Christensen had good chemistry with his co-stars, Rachel Bilson and Jamie Bell. I have to admit there were times I could not understand Bell's Scottish accent, but at least he gave an entertaining, yet flashy performance. Samuel L. Jackson was particularly scary as Roland Cox, the bounty hunter (also called a Paladin) who belonged to an organization that did not approve of teleporters or "Jumpers". These religious fanatics believed that people like Christensen and Bell had no right to such abilities. Only God. Hmmmm. The movie also featured solid performances by Diane Lane, Michael Rooker, Max Thieriot, and Teddy Dunn. By the way, the film's ending featured an appearance of Kristen Stewart at least nine months before the release of another 2008 film, "TWILIGHT".
Judging from what I had read about Gould's novel, I can see that the film adaptation was not completely faithful. Not that it bothers me. I have never read the novel. And Hollywood - along with other film industries around the world - have rarely been capable of creating a completely faithful adaptation of a literary source. But I must admit that screenwriters David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg did a pretty good job with their adaptation. Mind you, I believe that the movie could have been a little longer than 90 minutes. But it seems a little clear that the writers have set up a possible sequel in case the movie proves to be successful.
However, I do wish they had cleared up two matters - 1) the fate of David Rice's father after the latter had been assaulted by Cox; and 2) the fate of David's former nemesis - high school bully Mark, after David had left him in a jail. But at least the story did not end in an abrupt manner that had left me feeling slightly puzzled.
"JUMPER" was not exactly the best action film or movie adaptation I had ever seen. It was basically a good solid movie that will keep you entertained to the end.