Fans of the NBC series "Heroes" were disappointed when its main character, Hiro Nakamura, who can instantly teleport himself to any place and time, wasn't given a proper storyline. He was a quantum leaper, only given baby steps.
Many probably expected the kind of acrobatics, or, at least the fancy stunts we'd seen in "X-Men 2" by Nightcrawler. That furry, blue-skinned, tail-wagging mutant could disappear and reappear anywhere he wanted in a flash. He was fast and furious, whereas Hiro was a total tortoise.
In Doug Liman's Jumper, we see yet another young man who has the supernatural ability of instant teleportation. One second he's in the United States and the next he's in Egypt, lounging on top of the Sphinx.
Hayden Christiansen (Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith) stars as David, a teenager who realizes he has this power. David comes from a broken and abusive home, so he uses his power to run away to New York City.
Unlike other movie characters with similar powers, David doesn't put on a costume and mask and use his power to stop criminals. David becomes a criminal himself. In fact, he uses his power to rob banks. After a while, he amasses a small fortune and becomes a well-traveled playboy.
On the DVD commentaries, the filmmakers state that they liked this idea, which originally came from the book. It's an idea that the superhero, or the protagonist that has superpowers, doesn't become a superhero. He in fact becomes a crook.
The filmmakers said in real life that if a regular person woke up one day with these powers, he may not take the same path as Clark Kent or Peter Parker. He may not make it his mantle to save the world, or in the least fight crime. Some people just might turn selfish. Yet, instead of really exploring that issue, the filmmakers go in a completely different direction and make this movie an overblown chase.
Samuel L. Jackson, who co-stars with Christiansen for the third time, plays Roland, a NSA agent whose goal in life is to track down David and other jumpers like him and kill them. Roland is some kind of religious nut who thinks jumpers are an abomination against God.
I didn't understand his character at first. His motivations were even more confusing when it's learned that he and his men have a machine that can create wormholes. Just before killing the jumpers, Roland tells them that no human being should have this power. Therefore, Roland should kill himself because he has that power too. The only difference is that uses a fancy machine.
Also, if you have a machine that can create wormholes, why are you wasting your time running after teenage boys? Roland could use his machine to track Osama bin Laden, or use it to rescue people by pulling them out of dangerous situations and teleporting them to safety.
On the commentaries, the filmmakers admit that the film was not faithful to the book. Whatever deviations from the book were made, they weren't smart or well-thought out enough. The whole script feels like it was haphazardly done.
The story seems like it just wanted to see a boy teleport from here or there while being chased with no real regard with how the plot should play out. Even the part involving the girl that David liked when he was younger, except he abandoned her, felt lame.
Two Stars out of Five
Rated PG-13 for intense action and some language
Running Time: 1 hr. and 28 mins.