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  Jumper What's Up His Sleeve?
Year: 2008
Director: Doug Liman
Stars: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane, Michael Rooker, AnnaSophia Robb, Max Thieriot, Jesse James, Tom Hulce, Kristen Stewart, Teddy Dunn, Barbara Garrick, Nathalie Cox
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 5 votes)
Review: A few years ago, David Rice (Hayden Christensen) was what he described as a chump, getting picked on at school and trying to pluck up the courage to talk to the girl he liked. On that fateful day, he approached Millie (Rachel Bilson) with a present as the pupils were leaving for the afternoon, and handed over a snowglobe, knowing that she wished to travel the world some day. Alas, a bully grabbed the object and threw it onto the icy lake by the grounds, and David went after it, whereupon the ice broke and he fell straight in. But what happened next was something he could never have predicted...

Jumper was part of the series of films based around cosy clothes, the sequel to Wooly Hat, and followed by Mittens - no, not really, but it was the first in a proposed franchise that didn't go quite as well as hoped, not being much of a hit in its native United States. It was another case of the fans of the book being much aggrieved about the movie version, mainly because what was to all intents and purposes quite the pageturner saw most of its plot jettisoned in favour of a plotline that kept its action as simple as possible. At first there's interesting confusion as to how sympathetic David is meant to be, but such bumps were gradually ironed out into conventional heroism as if unwilling to present anything too complex and risk losing the popcorn crowd.

As it was, what it actually lost were those legions of aficionados of the source material, yet another example of a book being betrayed by the film version and leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth among those who thought when reading it, hey, this would make a great film. But if you had not read the novel, and came to Jumper fresh, you could forget about all the negativity that made up its reputation and maybe - just maybe - enjoy what was essentially one of those superhero movies that happened not to be based on an existing comic book for once. Indeed, under the direction of Doug Liman, this moved along at a fair old clip, and provided all the "if only I had a special talent" wish fulfilment that the average moviegoer could want.

Now that David had his powers, which does not involve knitting as the title may suggest, what did he do with them? Given those powers were the magical ability to teleport anywhere he wanted as long as he knew where he was going, so no accidentally finding himself thousands of miles into space by mistake, the first thing he does is to get away from his no hope life and deadbeat dad (Michael Rooker). Then he needs money, so the easiest way to get that is to steal by jumping into bank vaults and helping himself, which may make him rich, but also attracts the attention of the film's baddie, Roland Cox (Samuel L. Jackson sporting a head of grey hair and a permanent scowl).

And more than that, it attracts the attention of another teleporter, a cheeky Brit called Griffin (Jamie Bell), who has made it his business to take down Roland and his team of so-called Paladins, who all have the latest technology with which to unravel the jumpers and wipe them out for good. The stage is set for a big battle, yet there's the suspicion here that the producers were testing the waters with this one and holding back - with character (Diane Lane hardly appears, in spite of her apparently important role) and incident. A nice touch is the manner in which the teleportation increases in influence the further into the story we go, and the special effects are possibly the best part, with David and Millie's romance bringing new meaning to the word perfunctory. But there's a neat harkening back to the sixties, where a selection of exotic locations were ideal for wowing your audience, and though Jumper followed a basic pattern, it did warm up just enough. Music by John Powell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Doug Liman  (1965 - )

Pacy American director and producer, who after his humorous thriller debut Getting In, achieved cult success with comedies Swingers and Go. He then moved onto bigger budget projects with action premises with The Bourne Identity, Mr and Mrs Smith, Jumper and Edge of Tomorrow, then lower budget war flick The Wall.

 
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