widescreen – A Jumper cult


Critically speaking, cult films are usually pretty bad. Some are artistic gems whose quirkiness failed to catch on at the box office. Blade Runner is a prime example.

But most are just plain awful rife with tired concepts, poor acting and laughable B-level directing. Yet, even among the bad, a coveted few still exist that are capable of transgressing strong criticism to live on in beloved cult classic infamy. Jumper is destined to be one of those few. It is certainly no Highlander, but that still leaves a lot of room for fun.

The key is Jumpers great concept, the thriving heart of any decent cult film. In this films world, which is based off a novel by Steven Gould, certain people have the ability to teleport from one geographic location to the next.

When David Rice (Hayden Christensen) discovers that he has this ability, he uses it to escape the hazards of his teenage life. Years later and  and infinitely richer given his ability to jump in and out of bank vaults David has settled into a charmed life: teleporting to exotic locales, spending his ill-gotten funds lavishly, and embracing the fact that he has no boundaries.

But when a mysterious man named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up in Davids home one day, David quickly realizes that he is not alone and that his jumper kind are not liked. Unfortunately, Davids reaction to the news is to re-entrench himself in his old life, which only serves to put him and those he loves in greater danger.

Certainly, many things are wrong with Jumper. Exaggerations and leaps of story logic are rampant in the screenplay. Director Doug Liman ditches some of his finer techniques, learned on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity, and jams the camera so far into the action that you cannot tell who is doing what. Both problems are attributable to lead screenwriter David S. Goyer, whose work is often littered with such faults. 

Fortunately, the films overarching story-universe and decent acting keep Jumper entertaining. The concept of a war between jumpers and paladins, as Jacksons character becomes known, is creative and interesting.

Christensen solidly plays another disaffected anti-hero character who is not necessarily likable which is fitting, since many believe Christensen to be a bad actor. To be fair, many people also believe the same of Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Samuel Jackson who, in this case, is pretty reserved.

Even Rachel Bilson, who plays Davids love interest, is cute, but the films most charming performance comes from Jamie Bell, who plays another jumper with whom David must team up in order to survive.

Jumper could have easily been a much better movie had some closer attention been paid to the script, but it is nevertheless good fun worthy of the mantle of cult classic.

Contact the writer kschramm77@yahoo.com