"Jumper" is so close to being a good movie, the whole concept is decent, Doug Liman's direction gives it pace, even some of the acting, most notably from Jamie Bell, is more than you would expect making it quite entertaining and intriguing. But what stops "Jumper" from being anything more than average is that it feels like an extended introduction to a sequel. We get various storylines thrown at us, questions posed and a lot of things left unanswered all intentionally so because when you finish watching "Jumper" the only thing you are sure of is that they designed it for a sequel a "Jumper 2".
One day whilst on a high school trip student David Rice (Hayden Christensen) ends up falling into a frozen river and just at the point of drowning miraculously transports himself to a library. Confused he soon realises that he has a miraculous ability to transport to any place on earth he fancies and heads off to New York where he realises that he can rob banks without being discovered. Except that his bank robbing exploits brings him to the attention of a shadowy government group who hunt down and kill those who have the ability to transport. Eight years after having left Ann Arbor for New York, David is finally tracked down by the government group lead by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson - Snakes on a Plane) and to escape he transports back to Ann Arbor where he hooks up with his childhood sweetheart Millie (Rachel Bilson), but Roland is intent on catching his man no matter what.
The whole idea to "Jumper" is pretty good, men who have this strange ability to suddenly transport themselves to another place makes for a certain amount of excitement and intrigue. Add to this the whole special agency who are hunting them down just adds to the tension and excitement with some stunning sci-fi based scenes which culminates in spectacular CGI enhanced battles. But it's a good idea not so much wasted but under explored because whilst we get introduced to David Rice and later on another Jumper called Griffin there are far too many unanswered questions, most importantly why have these two young men, and various others, got this miraculously transporting ability. It's unanswered because "Jumper" appears to be purposefully set up for a sequel and as such leaves huge gaps in the storyline forcing you to take too much for granted. Not just as to why they have this ability but why are they being tracked down.
Despite the issue over unanswered questions director Doug Liman does a good job of distracting you from them with a series of special effect driven scenes and a pacing which keeps you interested even when you are wondering what the hell is going on. It certainly does have a slight feel of "The Bourne Identity" about it with an almost grubby visual look and the use of hand held cameras to give the battles and chase scenes a more frenetic feel. But it is exciting, when you watch David or Griffin 'jump' the shuddering effect of them transporting works well as do the battles they have with Roland.
What is for sure is that "Jumper" aimed itself at a teenage audience in a way not too unsimilar to "Twilight". You have these teenage boys with special powers and a young attractive woman acting as a love interest and amusingly Kristen Stewart has a bit part in it. And the whole thing sort of works, Hayden Christensen as David Rice plays the cool and handsome young man who is initially confused by what is happening paired up with the beautiful Rachel Bilson as love interest Millie who finds herself dragged into David's confusing world. They are adequate in their roles but they are over shadowed by Jamie Bell as Griffin who shows his class as a young actor making Griffin an almost dangerous character. And of course there is Samuel L. Jackson who whilst looking a little strange with his bleached hair is just nasty enough as their nemesis Roland.
Strangely though the talent on show extends to the supporting stars as well and on top of Kristen Stewart there are the likes of Diane Lane, Michael Rooker and Tom Hulce. Although sadly the likes of Diane Lane is seriously underused and I can only hope that if "Jumper 2" ever gets the go ahead she will return and get a bigger role, especially as her character is an important one and the key to many of the unanswered questions.
But it is the unanswered side of things which spoils "Jumper" and there are too many elements left floating. I can understand what they were trying to do, building up to a sequel to the point that the ending seriously suggests there is one to follow, but you feel like there is too much left unanswered for a first movie and just a bit more explanation as to why David and Griffin have this transporting ability would have made for a much better movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Jumper" is a very entertaining movie, it's well paced, full of excitement and special effects as well as an intriguing storyline. But it is all a bit woolly, leaving far too much up in the air, too many unanswered question in the plan of hopefully answering them and developing things in a sequel which as of writing seems no nearer being made.