15 years ago, Hayden Christensen Made an Incoherent Sci-Fi Movie — and Killed his Post-Star Wars Career

15 years ago, Hayden Christensen Made an Incoherent Sci-Fi Movie — and Killed his Post-Star Wars Career

“A totally ridiculous and incoherent sci-fi adventure”, New York Post declared. “Redefine – down – the notion of awful” remarked the the wall street journal. “So awful” Time magazine summarized succinctly. And these are some of the best reviews.

Add the fact Jumper immediately derailed a planned franchise, drove the nail into the coffin of by Hayden Christensen high-profile career, and even caused a crisis of confidence in its own director, and you can see why the loose adaptation of Steven Gould’s 1993 sci-fi novel isn’t particularly popular.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary on February 14, Jumper might not be in the same ballpark as Doug Liman’s remarkable debut race (Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity) or even its uneven, tabloid-baiting predecessor Mr and Mrs Smith. But as a pure, insane escape room, it’s much better than its reputation suggests.

Jumper stars Christensen as David Rice, a man who, after nearly drowning in a frozen river as a teenager, discovers he can teleport anywhere he can imagine. Instead of harnessing this remarkable superpower for the greater good, the bachelor spends his days robbing banks, doing extreme sightseeing (picnic atop the Sphinx’s head, for example) and charming women of all corners of the globe in bed. He is basically living the dream of any immoral brother.

David’s carefree existence is abruptly cut short one night, however, when he returns to his luxury penthouse to find an intruder waiting. by Samuel L. Jackson Roland with bleached hair is not a cop as we first suspected. Instead, he’s the leader of the Paladins, a religious order that believes horsemen are an affront to humanity. “Only God should have the power to be everywhere at all times,” he married.

Samuel L. Jackson in electrocuting mode with bleached hair.

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After spending eight years living it without any consequences, David now finds himself running – and jumping, of course – for his life in a cat-and-mouse with a crazed and ruthlessly efficient sniper. Roland’s weapon of choice is a cable contraption that sends 1000 volts of electricity pulsing through its victim’s brain, something David barely manages to evade during their first “now you see it/now you” encounter. don’t see it”.

As proven with Jason Bourne pen versus knife fight, Liman knows how to stage a distinctive fight scene. In another brawl, David punches Japan and avoids retaliation in the Big Apple. His ability to carry anything or anyone he touches also entertains: see how he baffles his former school bully with a street altercation that immediately moves to a locked safe. While Jumper attempts a superficial exploration of some important themes, one could never accuse it of taking itself too seriously.

Of course, David only encounters his old enemy in search of his childhood sweetheart Millie (Rachel Bilson). Their subsequent romance is the part of the film that really jumps off a cliff. Tom Sturridge and Teresa Palmer were originally cast as the two lovers before producers decided they needed bigger, older names. Unfortunately, the star power Christensen gained during his much-maligned stint in the star wars the deductible had dropped significantly by the time Jumper hit theaters, and he shares almost no chemistry with COis the golden girl.

Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen displaying their pure animal magnetism.

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Still, their flimsy romance gives the film a chance to tick off another international shoot. Remarkably, Jumper was filmed in 20 different cities in 14 different countries, meaning it feels as much like a big-budget travelogue as it does action-packed sci-fi. The Colosseum in Rome not only provides the backdrop for their first date, but also helps introduce a much more charismatic teleporter.

Sporting a mid-2000s emo haircut that desperately needs a cut and an English accent that jumps as much as his body, the renegade Griffin is the type of character you’d wish the movie was revolving around. place. Jamie Bell brings a much-needed energy to his bland lead, even when he’s required to do little more than offer obvious expositional dumps on the age-old conflict between jumpers and paladins.

Bell also gets his fair share of action, including a dazzling sequence in which Griffin chases David through a kiddie pool, the Arctic Ocean and a battlefield in Chechnya after diving from the Empire State Building to retrieve a detonator intended to blast Roland to pieces. JumperThe story of could be filled with plot holes and logic gaps. How are paladins so good at hunting their prey, for example? And how could David transport himself to an NYPD cell he had never seen? However, you never have to wait too long to be distracted by impressive decor.

Jamie Bell as the jumper the movie should have revolved around.

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It’s a good job because the rest of the emotional beats don’t hit particularly hard either. Oscar nominee Diane Lane is wasted as a mother paladin who abandoned David at a young age once she realized he was on the opposite side (watch out for the even briefer cameo from a pre-Dusk Kristen Stewart as the jumper’s half-sister). In addition to parental issues, Michael Rooker is also overlooked, as abusive father David runs away from the moment he discovers his powers.

Liman later voiced creative regrets on his sixth feature, something he was allowed to make up for more than a decade later with Impulse, a belated and more socially conscious TV spin-off centered around a teleporting teenage girl. But he didn’t need to be so hard on himself. Of course, Jumper is by no means a lost classic. Yet few other shows of its era with lots of CGI are as effective at getting from A to B.

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