Saturday, 16 December 2017

Jumper - super-privileged tourists

Doug Liman, 2006, USA-Canada

A tale of how teleportation superpowers turn guys into super-jerks, who do nothing with their powers except to act as the worst kind of privileged tourist and smug brats. Oh, it also helps them to sleep around a lot and to disappear in the morning without responsibility. They are pursued by religious zealots (because the gifted ones are always persecuted) led by Samuel L Jackson (you know, the stern-faced kind of Jackson that really isn’t doing much), but they are so obvious with their powers that it is a wonder that they aren’t captured earlier. They just appear in libraries and Emergency Rooms, sometimes causing shallow action-craters when they appear and sometimes not (depending upon whether the plot requires it); they speed cars recklessly down busy streets, etc. Actually, the zealots are just as obvious, leaving a trail of bodies and explosions and killing officials, etc.

Considering they can go anywhere, the range of locations seems pretty limited (hey, on top of a Sphinx): it’s as if all locations jumped to are mostly from a postcard collection; certainly they don’t quite seem adventurous enough. To the fact that they do nothing selfless with their powers, the film seems to nod to this with a moment where our hero David Rice (Christen Haydenson) ignores a report of people drowning in a boat accident or something: is he thinking Well, maybe I could help….? In fact, the powers prove a bit superfluous when, by the magic of cinema editing, David just goes to Rome with Millie (Rachel Bilson) on a whim: Millie just kind of leaves her job and they seemingly have the cash (he can jump to rib banks so I guess cash is not a problem); then with a cut, they are in Rome. And that’s where the jumpers and hunters have a showdown but, although it’s meant to be a great location for a fight, it only adds to the impression of boneheaded tourists with no respect for their surroundings.

 Glossy, lazy and conceived without any complexity of thought seemingly by a teenager with parent issues that just wants to, you know, break free and do whatever the hell he wants. Superpowers for those who don’t want any real context bringing down the wish-fulfilment. 

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