Hayden Christensen stars as a man who can move from place to place in the blink of an eye. When he realizes his secret power has placed him in the midst of an ongoing war between “jumpers” and “paladins,” he’s forced to run from his past and the girl he loves. Though the movie has hints of real substance, director Doug Liman (Go, Bourne Identity) fails to capitalize on the deeper issues and gets lost in a slick and forgettable action movie.

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane and Rachel Bilson.

Directed by Doug Liman.

Written by David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg.

Parental advisory: Violence, coarse language.

Running time: 89 minutes.

Rating: Two and a half stars out of five.

How Doug Liman has been able to navigate the narrows of the Hollywood mainstream with such an enormous chip on his shoulder is a wonder of the modern entertainment world.

Ever since the frenetic director behind The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith emerged in the wake of his hipster comedy Swingers in 1996, Liman has been trying to prove himself a Renaissance man with a hand in everything from producing serial television (The O.C. and Arrested Development), to jump-starting Knight Rider’s small-screen franchise and directing slick action films that fuse commercial artifice with a gritty independent stance.

Liman’s movies are generally active -- to a hypnotic degree -- but Jumper is a Liman movie on methamphetamines and a keg of Red Bull. Moving faster than the Pitt family through a horde of paparazzi, Jumper could have easily alienated viewers if the speediness was just a function of style -- but here, it’s an extension of the actual story.

Abandoned by his mother at a young age, David (Hayden Christensen, Max Thieriot) continues to suffer from self-esteem issues and anger at the hands of his raging father. When he begins to find self-worth through the attention of a young woman named Millie (Rachel Bilson), David appears to be turning the corner into adulthood.

Yet, just as he’s about to make the emotional leap toward responsibility and selflessness, he experiences a near-death moment. He falls into a frozen river, and just as he’s about to expire, he emerges soaking wet in the middle of the high school library.

David is a “jumper:” He can move from place to place in the flash of an eye. We’re never told exactly how he’s able to transport himself physically from one locale to the next; not even David understands his own talent.

Confused but eager to experiment with his new gift, David begins to create a new lifestyle for himself that includes casual visits to the neighbourhood bank vault and scenic sunsets as seen from the head of the Sphinx.

David can do whatever he wants, and because Liman never fails to revel in manly fantasy scenarios, David soon becomes the metrosexual master of the universe with Hugo Boss clothes, turbo-charged sport cars, pretty girls in every major city and gadgets galore.

David doesn’t ask any hard questions about his altered state, he merely accepts the bounty it affords and avoids close personal contact with anyone.

The only threat to David’s dream life comes in the form of Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), a “paladin” whose sole raison d’etre is killing “jumpers.”

A war between paladins and jumpers has been going on for centuries, with jumpers having the upper hand -- for obvious reasons: They can jump through wormholes at a moment’s notice and disappear, abdicating them from the normal responsibilities that go along with a corporeal presence, such as facing the consequences of your actions.




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