Friday, June 13, 2008


Believe it or not, I am not in the habit of reviewing one good film, then one rotten one. It just seems that way.

And I must admit I expected this one to be in the "lousy" category. In truth, I found it to have moments of brilliance scattered among the lousy. The movie has a real energy about it, sometimes approaching frenetic. There are also a few, maybe a lot of, moments of the illogical thrown in.

David discovers he's a jumper during an accident where he falls into the ice in his hometown. Faced with an oppressive home environment -- a mother who left when he was 5 and a father who thinks with his backhand -- he leaves home. We cut to David 10 years later to discover a man who watches people suffering on television but does nothing to help them with his gift. He has honed his skill so that he can jump in and out of vaults, stealing the money (but leaving hand-written IOU's), and entertaining himself by "flying" off to London to romance a British girl in a bar, hanging out on top of the Sphinx to eat his lunch, any number of unimaginative ways of spending his time. Alone.

However, along the way, he remeets the girl who thought he was dead when she saw him go under the ice. He also meets a group of people, headed by actor Samuel L. Jackson, who are determined to kill the jumpers.

One wonders why Hayden Christiansen would go for a sci fi romp after playing in the Daddy of sci fi romps, but he acquits himself well here, acting stupid and occasionally wise when he learns things about himself during the drama.

I have a lot of problems with this movie. Regardless of the fine cinematography and the beautiful landscapes, it's not fun watching a soulless human being walk (or jump) around, thinking the only way to live is to do it hedonistically, not caring for anyone. There is some enlightenment, but not a hell of a lot. It's hard to care for someone like that. Only through Hayden's character's interaction with the people around him, people for whom he begins to care, do we feel for him emotionally.

In addition, some of the characters don't quite act with full conviction (or sense). The Samuel Jackson character, for instance, is a stick figure. The storyline seems needlessly complicated, especially toward the end.

The ending, while it doesn't explain everything, is a bit more satisfying than the latest M. Night Shyamalan film. All in all, it's a good action story, beautifully bookended by views of the world, with a sci fi shading. You just have to be willing to jump to conclusions now and then.

Thumb's up, minimally.


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