I put this review under ‘Fantasy’ but it’s really more of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy mix. I’m not gonna split hairs on my categorization. The story is based on a novel by Steven Gould and involves a race of genetic mutants (sound familiar) who have the ability to essentially teleport anywhere they wish to go. As often as they wish to do it.
Hayden Christensen plays David Rice, a young man who discovers he has this ability and proceeds to be a selfish prick with it by stealing truckloads of money from bank vaults when he’s not zipping around the planet so he can have lunch in Rome or take a nap on Mt. Kilimanjaro. And this guy is our story’s hero?
After setting out to impress an old girlfriend (played by Rachel Bilson) with his newfound douche-iness, Rice discovers that an ancient order called the Paladins have been attempting to wipe out his kind since the Middle Ages, and have some slick weaponry on their side to do so. Not to mention Samuel L. Jackson, in a surprisingly profanity free performance (and white hair!).
Heavy use of CGI ensues while we are flashed around the globe as Rice and fellow jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell – channeling a geeky Sean Penn) alternately compete to see who can be the bigger dipshit, or try to find Rice’s estranged mother (Diane Lane in a wasted role) while occasionally fighting Paladins led by Jackson’s character Roland.
So I guess the moral of the story is “Super Powers Make SUPER Assholes”. While I found the movie entertaining and the special effects were great to watch, every character seemed shallow and generally unlikable, such that I ultimately didn’t give a damn who lived or who died.
On IMDB.com, a viewer commented on a scene that struck me as fairly indicative of the movie as well; Rice is watching the news and sees live footage of flooding victims stranded on their vehicles. The news commentator is asking something to the effect of “how will these people ever get saved?” and Rice, instead of blipping over their to save the day like Batman, nonchalantly turns off the TV. Ass!
I think that makes a powerful statement on characterizations in the film, and perhaps even the generation it portrays. Shiftless, morally bankrupt and self absorbed, even tremendous abilities cannot change the lacking character or the sense of entitlement each of the Jumpers espouse. Sadly I was left visually impressed but with no desire to read the book or delve into the backstory further.
It was fun however to dream a little naughty dream of self-indulgence with Rice, as any of us would probably succumb at least in part to those same temptations. But as a comicbook raised & fed adult, I know if it were me, I’d have become more of a Bruce Wayne type than the brooding, socially inept Rice.
And I’d have had a bevy of strippers and porn stars in my little black book too. After all, what good are super powers if you can’t put them to good use?
Give this one 6 skulls out of 10 – mostly due to impressive cinematography rather than substantive storytelling.