Jumper was so universally slated on its cinema release that I wasn't exactly delighted to find the DVD in the "to watch" pile. But hey, as we often say, our role in life is to throw ourselves on the odd cinematic grenade for the benefit of all. So, the disc went in the machine, the emergency beer was placed close to hand (you never know when the senses will need numbing) and ... well, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Actually, I wondered whether Liman & Co had taken the harsh words on board and gone back and re-edited the thing. Jumper's certainly not great but it's not the visual equivalent of a paedophile war criminal as some suggested.
It's a bit of sci-fi fantasy fun, basically — and almost certainly better than the last two Matrix films. David Rice (Christensen) is a "Jumper", one of a select few who can teleport anywhere he wants. He thinks of a location and boom, he's there, be it on top of a pyramid, dangling off Big Ben or, indeed, raiding a bank vault without touching the locks and alarm system. Life, as you can imagine, has been pretty good. He's got a lovely New York apartment, limitless funds and can spend his days travelling wherever he fancies. But Roland (Jackson) is now on his tail. Roland is a Paladin, a secret society who are the sworn enemies of the Jumpers, They don't think anybody should be allowed to have that sort of power except God and so spend their days seeking out Jumpers and killing them.
And so, basically, it all boils down to a pretty standard good v evil chase movie with a faux legendary back story. Or "bollocks" as these things are frequently known round these parts: think Highlander with a bigger travel budget and you're on the right lines. There's a love interest of sorts (Bilson as David's childhood crush), a fellow Jumper (Bell) to provide the exposition and someone for David to fight alongside, and lots of CGI to whizz them around the globe. Christensen, who's never exactly impressed, is alright. Jackson is fine. You do get the feeling he's here because it's a contractual obligation or the Jackson family needed a new holiday home, but he's his usual watchable self so who cares? Bell though is excellent, and seems to be having a whale of a time.
Whether the negative comments have worked in Jumper's favour, whether the whole thing just works better as a DVD watch or whether Liman & Co have actually gone back and rejigged a few things I have no idea. But on this evidence Jumper is a perfectly average film, nothing more — but nothing less, either.
EXTRAS *** A pretty good package actually. A commentary by Doug Liman, writer / producer Simon Kinberg and producer Lucas Foster; Jumpstart: David's Story, an animated graphic novel; Jumping Around The World; Doug Liman's Jumper: Exposed (sadly not a feature on the director's knitwear, just a making of featurette); Making An Actor Jump: (again, sadly, not a documentary about sneaking up on Hayden Christensen and shouting "boo!" but an effects featurette); Jumping From Novel to Film: The Past, Present and Future of Jumper; Deleted Scenes; Previz: Future Concepts.