Rating: 2.5 Pulses

Hayden Christensen,

Samuel L. Jackson,

Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson

Directed by Doug Liman

Rated PG-13

I have often been asked the question: “If you could have just one super power, what would it be?”

Wolverine’s healing would be pretty useful. Chick’s hyper-honed telekinesis in Katherine Dunn’s lovely novel “Geek Love” would be the thoughtful cheater’s answer, allowing you to fly, heal yourself (and others), and all through the ability to move things with your mind.

Still, there is one thing the all-powerful Chick could not do: Bamf!

This is the sound that Nightcrawler makes when he teleports. “Bamfing” is the verb form, although Doug Liman and crew prefer to call it “jumping,” and damn they think it’s cool.

Accordingly, they have set out to make a movie starring two former Jedis about the awesomeness of bamf, er . . . jumping, called (wait for it) Jumper!

Hayden Christensen stars as David Rice, a hip twenty-something who uses said ability to rob banks and get food from the fridge. Samuel L., looking like he saw a ghost, plays the paladin Roland, Rice’s nemesis and member of an ancient order that hates jumpers because only God should be able to do what they do.

The Paladins vs. Jumpers plot dictates the action of the movie, which can be summed up as one long chase scene across the globe with gaps in between.

During those expository gaps between action scenes, Christensen’s odious acting does nothing to strengthen an already weak script and Jackson’s one-note lines deny him the chance for any characterization. I’m not even sure what purpose the skeletal Rachel Bilson’s character served. Damsel maybe?

Of course, with a popcorn movie such as this, the acting and story are always second to the action. However, there are times in Jumper where it felt as though the camera operator was jumping too. The editing and camera work are so erratic that the action becomes an incomprehensible blur with the scenery changing at a disorienting pace.

Maybe I’m just getting old, but a movie where Anakin Skywalker disappears from his apartment, reappears eating a sandwich on the head of the Sphinx, and jumps back to his gloomy dwelling, sometimes while being chased by Samuel L. Jackson with a cattle prod that looks like a long, thin light saber, just isn’t my cup of tea.

Ultimately, this movie is like a puddle under a street light: shiny and shallow. Couldn’t the filmmakers have thrown in some House of Pain, Kris Kross or Van Halen for levity to break up the tedium that is Hayden Christensen’s “serious” face?

There is a scene in Jumper when Roland is bested by David, and Jackson twists his face as if thinking, “I hate that Motherjumper.” Well, I’m inclined to agree.


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