Film / Jumper

Jumper is a 2008 film about people who can teleport around the world, and the fanatical group who hunts them. Directed by Doug Liman. Stars Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson.

It's loosely inspired by the novel Jumper by Steven Gould.

Jumper provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ancient Conspiracy: An entire one revolving around killing teleporters and inventing technology to stop them.
  • Anti-Hero: David. He is by no means a bad person, but ended up stealing a good deal of money as a child which led to his mildly hedonistic lifestyle. He doesn't do anything heroic until the 3rd arc though.
  • Artistic License Geography: The Coincidental Broadcast in Ann Arbor, Michigan somehow shows NY1 on their TV sets, despite Ann Arbor being far from New York City. However, the film's blatant disregard for time zones is justified by Bellisario's Maxim; Doug Liman shot the film on-location in various exotic settings, and all the scenes for a particular location were shot at the same time, regardless of plot progression. This results in some glaring inconsistencies in time of day, as Davy and Griffin will Jump between them instantly.
    • London, Tokyo and Griffin's hideout(an Ancient Tomb in an undefined Thirsty Desert); darkest night.
    • The Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, New York, Ann Arbor; broad daylight.
    • Rome; early morning. An extremely justified case here, as the director was able to get limited permission to shoot inside the Parthenon.
  • Badass Army: The Paladins are an army of Badass normals whom have proven formidable to be able to hunt Jumpers since the Medieval Times. Note this is before they had the technology to follow Jumpers through their jump points or electrocute them to nullify their powers. The fact they are a group of religious fanatics and can appear anywhere in the world through sheer expediency and coordination makes them even more dangerous.
  • The Cameo: Kristen Stewart as Davy's half-sister in the movie's ending.
  • Canon Immigrant: Griffin, who wasn't in the novels, but did get a book based on the film.
  • Car Fu: Griffin jumps an entire double-decker bus at Roland, who only narrowly avoids getting crushed.
  • Character Development: The stated point of David's selfishness. Doug Liman was tired of standard Super Hero philosophy; he wanted to see one develop. In the beginning, he's a timid pre-teen with an abusive father. After his Super Empowering, he's a world-class thief who lives in a penthouse apartment. When the Paladins catch up to him, all he wants to do is "save his own ass". The near-miss fails to educate him, and he goes back to see his girlfriend and take her to Rome on a trip, just to impress her. A few misses later, they nearly kill his father. And when they capture Mille, he sticks his neck out for the first time. Time will tell if he goes further.
  • City of Weirdos: During the jumper duel, nobody notices the two men that appear out of nowhere and are wrestling in the street.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Defied. Neither Davy nor his pal seem to care about using their teleportation powers to help "muggles".
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Jumpers can easily move themselves and another person, but greater masses are more difficult. Griffin is able to jump cars and a double decker bus at one point, but only when they're moving and it's implied he's using their momentum to take some of the strain off. Griffin relates a tale of a Jumper who tried to teleport an entire building; he managed to shake it a little before the strain killed him. In the climax, David manages to jump a sizable portion of Millie's apartment twice without killing himself, but it takes a lot out of him.
  • Die or Fly: David first jumps to escape drowning.
  • Evil Mentor / Sociopathic Hero: Griffin. A cold and remorseless killer whose parents were murdered by the Paladins, giving him a motive to go to war with them. The only prospects he cares about anymore is saving his own skin and killing Paladins, and will personally slay anyone he feels will get in the way of either. Despite helping David understand his powers, David spends much of the third part of the film preventing him from blowing up the apartment the Paladins are located in to save his love interest.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Roland is introduced telling a Jumper at his mercy that only God should have this power, then shanking the man in the gutnote , establishing his religious extremism and viciousness.
  • Guns Are Worthless: The Paladins use hybrid Grappling-Hook Pistol / Stun Guns because when a conventional bullet hits the "Jump Scar" left in the wake of a teleport, it spins off in a random direction. It's All There in the Manual.
  • Holier Than Thou: Roland Cox.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Davy jumps Roland to a small cave in the middle of nowhere. Just before jumping out, he points out that he could easily have left him to be eaten by sharks, trying to make the point that Jumpers aren't inherently evil.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Griffin spits this at Davy as he walks off to what Griffin believes to be certain death; in his experience, Jumpers don't have the power to save anyone, as while the Paladins are ready, willing and able to kill entire families as collateral damage in killing Jumpers, all Jumpers can do is Jump away. The best Griffin's ever accomplished is escaping with his life after killing his enemies, and he's been Forced to Watch everyone he's ever cared for die at the hands of the Paladins.
    Griffin: You're not a hero! You're a Jumper! Don't you get it? You don't save the girl! You lose her!
  • In-Name-Only: The movie shares the title, two character names, and the fact that the main character can jump with the book. Also the fact of the bank robbery itself, but none of the details of it. The book is a character study with a science fiction twist, the movie is a science fiction action flick.
    • The author of the original book tries to remedy this with the third book in the Jumper series, "Griffin's Story," which is slightly closer to the movie than the first book in the series "Jumper".
  • Inside Job: Referenced but averted. Davy cleans out a bank vault with his teleportation power. Later, somebody theorizes in his hearing that the robbery must've been an inside job since there wasn't any sign of forced entry.
  • Kick the Dog: Roland vs. Griffin. As he approaches him he shouts; "Time to send you home to Mommy!" Roland was the one who killed Griffin's parents. However, this hits his Berserk Button, cuing a teleporting charge of Unstoppable Rage, where Griffin punches Roland through a wall.
  • Knight Templar: Roland Cox, and indeed all the Paladins.
  • Missing Mom: Davy's mom is one of the leaders of the Ancient Conspiracy trying to kill Jumpers, and had to leave her family behind.
  • Mundane Utility: Davy uses Jumping to travel the world and make moving faster. Taken to an extreme where he would rather Jump to his television remote on the other side of the couch rather than physically move to it. When Davy tries to exit his apartment without teleporting, his muscle memory is so bad that he can't turn the doorknob. Roland comments that he seems to use it so much it's probably been a while since he actually used a door.
  • The Omni Present: The Paladins reference this, claiming that the reason they hunt the jumpers is because "Only God should have this power—to be in all places, at all times." Note that the jumpers aren't actually an example (being pretty standard teleporters), the Paladins are just over-reacting fanatics.
  • Portal Cut: Zig-zagged. The Grappling-Hook Pistol works against the Jumpers because they can't simply teleport away. Once it's secured, the wire teleports with them. Davy ends up embedding one in a door when he tries to jump with one attached. The fact that they're electrified might have something to do with it. On the other hand, Jumpers definitely can jump out with only part of an object, as Davy demonstrates near the end when he jumps most of Mille's apartment, cutting a huge chunk out of the building.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The book spans about one year of David's life as a teleporter, during which he learns the specifics of his power, meets his Love Interest, and reconnects with his Missing Mom. Then, in the space of a week, he runs afoul of a wife-beating cop, is exposed first as a criminal then as a teleporter, and is finally knocked off his feet by a case of pneumonia, thus making him Late to the Tragedy when his mother is killed by terrorists. David has only begun to hunt them down and reconcile with his girlfriend when The Government steps in and things go From Bad to Worse. At this point, David has his Super Hero Origin and can begin to kick ass - after three fourths of the book. The movie manages to adapt just about all of this (swapping terrorists for Church Militants) with room for several Fight Scenes, and even set up a few sequel hooks.
  • Randomly Gifted: Jumpers are born randomly, which is why the Paladins can't just track down bloodlines and have to instead look for unusual reports — though they usually kill all of a Jumper's family as well, both to draw the Jumper out and just to be sure. The protagonist's mother is revealed in the end to be a Paladin, who was horrified to find out that her own son was a teleporter, so she left him at the age of 5, knowing that he'll be killed otherwise. Slightly different in the novels, where the ability can be obtained by simply being teleported enough times.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Jumping not only teleports the person, but all the matter around them, otherwise Telefragging would be a big problem. David's first few teleportations result in damage to his surroundings because he hasn't streamlined the process, resulting in blasts of compressed air cracking the floor every time he Jumps into a building. This is exploited by Griffin in one instance; by closing on Roland with a series of rapid teleportations, he compresses so much air around him that the end result is Roland getting hit with enough force to punch him through a wall.
  • Shout-Out: While trying to convince Griffin to team up with him against the Paladins, David references the "Marvel Team-Up" series, in which multiple Marvel heroes (usually Spider-Man and some B-list character) team up against a single threat.
    David: Marvel Team-Up. Now or never.
  • Teleport Spam: Primary method of Jumping combat, obviously.
  • Threatening Shark: Griffin explains that he knows of a reef with an active school of sharks where he leaves the agents that attack him.
  • Villain Has a Point: Despite the Paladins having religious motivations for hunting Jumpers, they are very correct in believing that Jumpers can be highly dangerous. For example, David, the protagonist, uses his powers to steal whatever he wants and also uses his powers for petty reasons such as teleporting a former bully into a sealed bank vault. It's not until Millie's life is threatened that David is motivated to do anything heroic. Griffin is a Zig Zagging case; he learned to Jump as a teenager, but was relatively harmless until the Paladins killed his parents - after which he dedicates his life to killing Paladins with no consideration for collateral damage, Not So Different from the Paladins' efforts to exterminate Jumpers.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Roland
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Aside from the holy crusade thing, Roland expresses the belief that all Jumpers eventually "go bad", which is why they are targeted. While Davy is a bank robber, Roland still says this in the context of "you'll get worse" rather than this alone being proof of his point, suggesting that he means it in a more megalomaniacal context. As none of the Jumpers seen fit this definition, this is probably just another self-justification rather than a legitimate concern.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Paladins are a sort of Van Helsing Ku Klux Klan. Indeed one gets the feeling they do what they do more out of jealousy that they don't have the power rather than a holy crusade. In the videogame interpretation of Jumper: Griffin's Story, Griffin mockingly lampshades the jealousy aspect while fighting Roland.