Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jumper - A Movie Review

You know what? Movie trailers are like those KFC food ads put up on billboards. They look very nice, and often are good at making you fork out money for the real thing. Movies on the other hand, tend to be like the KFC zinger burger you had for lunch, disappointing. The burger pattie is half the size advertised, and in actuality the real product bears no resemblance to the glorious ad you saw on the way to the restaurant.

The same thing can be said about Jumper, a movie based on a sci-fi novel of the same title by Steven Gould, starring two former Jedi Knights, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie is about a young chap (David, played by Hayden Christensen) who finds that he has the ability to teleport, anywhere in the world, and with this great power, comes a spin on the old Spidy line: with great power, comes great consequences.

The first thing he does is to rob a bank and he soon finds himself being pursued by a ruthless
Paladin (Roland/Samuel L.Jackson), who hunts down Jumpers. David does get some help from a fellow jumper Griffin (Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell), and in the ensuing action sequences, saves his girlfriend, dumps Roland in the Grand Canyon, and meets his Paladin mom who left him when he was five.

The premise sounds ok, and the trailer looks even cooler, but the movie suffers from a lack of depth with the plot and characters being paper-thin. Hayden, like his Anakin Skywalker persona, is a piece of wood. Slap on a mask and a voice synthesizer and he is Darth Vader all over again. Anything not wooden, would seem forceful, and bleh.

I actually prefer his performance in Shattered Glass, where he took on the role of Stephen Glass, a journalist who fabricated his articles and sources. Now, that's the way to play a conflicted character.

There's not much explanation on Paladins, except for the fact they are quasi-religious and been hunting Jumpers since the 16th century because Jumpers are an abomination. These guys have to be REALLY dedicated to be carrying on the same "mission statement" right into the 21st century (the Jumper novel was published in 1992 by the way). Boring. There's not much explanation on how Jumpers, there..

The fights scenes were the highlights in the trailer but in truth, they are too few and spread far apart. And while the fight scenes look cool in the slap dash format of a movie trailer, they look rather akward in the actual movie. Doug Liman, if you want to shoot a movie with teleporting fight scenes, go watch X-Men 2's Nightcrawler fight scene in the White House. Watch it 10 million times if that is necessary for you to get it right in YOUR own movie.

So, after a rather unsatisfactory movie, and paying RM 40 for 2 Premier Class tickets at GSC Signature, would I recommend this movie? I would suggest that you watch something else instead. Or read Stardust. Modern fairytales for modern times.

Before I forget, Hayden Christensen's character in the movie doesn't look as cool as the one in the poster above.