The newspaper ads I saw for Jumper promoted it as a cross between The Matrix and the Bourne movies. You probably already know that I adore The Matrix. I saw the first Bourne movie and it was good. So, Jumper caught my attention, but I didn't really know any more about it except that it starred Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars Episodes 2 & 3).
Fast forward to today when my good friend and I planned to see a movie. Unlike our usual movie plans, we didn't have a specific movie to see; we just wanted to see a Good Movie. She suggested Juno or Vantage Point, or perhaps Definitely Maybe. None of those really felt like "the" movie for today, however, and the showtimes were less than convenient. If Fool's Gold had gotten better reviews, we would have seen that, I am sure. But it didn't. So we didn't.
So, we ended up seeing Jumper mainly because of the tagline I had read and the appropriate time it was being shown. We invited our teenage sons (ages 13 and 15) to join us as it was rated PG-13 and we thought it would appeal to them. None of the four of us had any idea of the plot beyond the vague idea that it was about time travel.
Turns out that David Rice is a 'jumper' - someone who can teleport himself to any location. It's not time travel really - since the traveling is all done in the present, but instantly. David realizes he has this gift at age 15 when he is drowning in an ice-covered river and teleports himself to safety. He spends a few years learning how to use his ability to see the world and to rob banks. Eventually he finds out he isn't the only jumper in the world, and also he learns that there are those who make it their sole concern to track down jumpers and eliminate them.
Lots of action, amazing special effects, and a creative story are the things this movie has to offer. Unexplained plot elements and moral relativism detract from the overall effect, though. Quite a few parts of the story were unexplained or led nowhere. This was mildly frustrating, especially in the storyline relating to David's mother. One scene led me to believe that David would learn to use his 'gift' for good - you know, "with great power, comes great responsibility." But, no. Nothing along those lines.
The acting is nothing special really, with a few notable exceptions. David is first played as a teen by Max Thieriot, who we all recognized from The Pacifier, and he was wonderful. His friend Millie is played as a teen by Annasophia Robb, who has many movie credits, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Bridge to Terabithia. Robb is a exceptional actress, but under-utilized in this film. Also enjoyable was Michael Rooker as David's father; although his role was small, he portrayed a wide range of emotions from anger to misery.
Hayden Christensen is a handsome lead actor and Rachel Bilson is lovely as his leading lady, Millie Harris. Christensen is adept in the action scenes and adequate in every way. Merely adequate. Lots of closeups of both actors leave the viewer in no doubt of their good looks and beautiful eyes. However, neither seems quite comfortable in the leading roles and sparks don't fly between them as adults. (The teenage characters are much more believable and I wish we had seen more of them.)
The movie is rated PG-13 for "sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality." An overwhelming amount of violence is present in the movie. The main jumper hunter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, frequently and threateningly brandishes a very large knife. More violence includes lots of crashing vehicles, repeated electrical shocks, fires, demolished buildings and at least three murders, as well as several fist fights. A short love scene does include a passionate kiss, a woman in her lingerie, and the characters lying briefly together in bed. (David closed his eyes for that short scene.)
The hour and a half we spent watching this movie did fly by and I was interested in the story and what happened to the characters. I didn't have high expectations and it was an enjoyable outing. If your goal is similar, you may enjoy this film. I wouldn't take young children and I plan to discuss the film with David at length.
However, it definitely wasn't The Matrix.