February 19, 2008 -- This thin science fiction film looks good, but is short on character development and the story is underdeveloped as well. It uses a lot of special effects and interesting locations to tell a story that should have been more compelling. It's a good premise for a story, but is very sketchy.
Young David Rice (Hayden Christensen of “Shattered Glass”) has the ability to teleport himself instantly anywhere, even into crowded rooms, mountain tops or thin air. He supports himself by robbing banks, something made easy by his ability to get in and out of bank vaults without using doors. He travels around the world without the need of transportation or a passport. In all his travels he never discovers others with his ability, or the existence of a secret society of people dedicated to finding and killing jumpers, they are called Paladins. Suddenly, the Paladins find him. A Paladin operative, Roland (Samuel L. Jackson of “Snakes on a Plane”) confronts Rice, but Rice is able to escape. Soon after, he runs into another jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell of “Flags of Our Fathers”) at the Coliseum in Rome. By then, he has picked up an old girlfriend, Millie (Rachel Bilson of “The Last Kiss”).
The rest of the movie is a hectic series of chases, as Rice chases Griffin and the Paladins chase both of them. Rice also tries to hang on to Millie even as his life gets more complicated and dangerous. Griffin is at war with the Paladins, hunting them and killing them. Rice has never grown up and taken any responsibility for his gift. He never learned the Spider-Man creed that “With great power comes great responsibility.” He's never even considered becoming a high-speed courier, messenger, delivery man or spy. The other jumpers never decided to band together to fight the Paladins, who are well organized and somehow well funded. The movie never explains how jumpers can teleport into a crowded location and never end up inside a car, or another person. How come there aren't more witnesses to these instances of people popping out of thin air? You would think they would be noticed. Sometimes these jumps cause a lot of damage. Walls buckle, buildings shake and air is stirred up. Other times, they cause no effect at all. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this film.
The story is based on a series of books by Steven Gould. It is clear that those behind this film hope it becomes a series of movies. I think it needs a better foundation to become a series. This film looks too weak and undeveloped to serve as the foundation for a series, but then so did “The Fantastic Four” and it became a series. This film rates a C+.
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