Few people can have come out of cinemas having watched Jumper thinking “Gosh, I’d really love to see another movie set in this universe.” Indeed, so unmemorable a movie is it beyond its awfulness, you probably barely remember it and are probably already mixing it up mentally with the far superior Looper.
To refresh your memories, Jumper was the movie in which Hayden Christiansen turns out to have the ability to teleport. Unfortunately, there’s a secret society, whose number includes the stupidly haired Samuel L Jackson, dedicated to killing ‘jumpers’. Oh noes.
The film was something of a disaster and more or less killed off the career of director Doug Liman, which given he revolutionised spy cinema with The Bourne Identity shows you just what a rubbish movie it was.
Since then, Liman’s directing career has been a bit more low-profile and tethered to Tom Cruise’s whims, so Liman has done well as a producer on the likes of Suits instead.
So it’s something of a surprise that he’s attempting to resurrect his career with a return to the Jumper universe. It’s even more surprising that it’s actually really good.
Impulse is based on the third of the Jumper novels by Steven Gould, but is as much of a departure from its raw material as Jumper was. It sees Maddie Hasson playing mardie teenage girl Henrietta (aka Henry) who’s moved to the small town of Weston in New York state with her single mum (Missi Pyle). Dad left years ago and now commitment-phobe Pyle moves from guy to guy looking for ‘the one’ who might be good to both her and Hasson. She’s found a possible keeper – widower Matt Gordon – who has his own teenage daughter (Sarah Desjardins) and all would be fine, were it not for Hasson’s extreme mardiness and the fact she’s starting to have fits that doctors are finding hard to diagnose.
Hasson hooks up with local sporting hero Tanner Stine, but when things start moving too quickly for her, she asks him to stop… but he won’t, causing her to fit again. However, this time her fit somehow crushes the truck they’re in, paralysing Stine and instantly transporting Hasson back to her bedroom, along with bits of the truck. What’s going on? What will happen to Hasson? What will happen to Stine? And how will Hasson’s new ability evolve?
It’s possible that I’ve seen too much TV. It’s just watching For The People, ABC’s latest legal drama, all I found myself thinking was, “Isn’t this just Raising the Bar again? Maybe with a slight hint of Suits. Still, it’s nice to Britt Robertson doing well, even if Girlboss didn’t do so great. She was good in Life Unexpected after all. Gosh, how long ago was that now?”
Too much TV? Maybe.
The next generation
After all, this tale from “Shondaland” (Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder,Scandal) of shiny new young lawyers as they start off as either defence attorneys or prosecutors in New York’s “mother court” is probably aimed at a much younger audience that hasn’t seen any of those shows I just mentioned. Indeed, I found myself more invested in Hope Davis, Ben Shenkman, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Anna Deavere Smith’s crusty older lawyers and judges giving the new generation the benefit of their many years of experience. That’s possibly because I’m just old, but it’s also possibly because they’re better actors, with personalities and who behave like grown-ups, unlike their protégés. Their whiny, stupid protégés.
But despite generally finding the older cast relatively interesting, I found myself idling through For the People, wondering if it was going to do anything new. Like ever. The show is really just a set of legal cases, with a young hero on each side making mistakes while standing up for truth, justice and the American Way/sending scumbag criminals to rot in jail (delete according to hero’s affiliation). There’s no real law that people would recognise as the law. Indeed, I found myself on the verge of crying out, “Objection! The defence is testifying! Is there a question in there ever?” at one point of particularly heinous breach of legal code that the prosecution didn’t seem to notice.
Too much TV? Probably.
But for the most part it’s the usual usual. Britt Robertson’s client is an accused terrorist, although for some reason he doesn’t get a proper lawyer or any preparation for his trial. You’d think someone who tried to blow up the Statue of Liberty would have a higher profile, wouldn’t you?
But before you know it, she’s finding things in discovery that might exonerate him. Except you can see that he won’t be. The show thinks it’s going to be clever. It even gets Hope Davis to say “This isn’t television!” Except it is, so you know what’s going to happen.
And the rest of it is like that. There is some moderate interest from the fact that the lawyers mostly don’t discuss law half the time, mainly tell each other how crap they are at law because they’re new. But even then, that got boring after the first five or six times that happened.
Equally boring were the young lawyers’ relationships. They’re all so competitive and “I will crush you”, even to their partners. Boring. When one is stupid enough to shop her prosecutor boyfriend for ethical violations to save her client from a prison sentence, she’s genuinely surprised that he decides to dump her.
“You’re not leaving.”
Yes, he is, love. You nearly sent him to prison to save someone who’d genuinely committed fraud. Duh.
It’s nonsense. Legal nonsense. Relationship nonsense. Human behaviour nonsense. The kind of nonsense that you only see on TV and will have seen countless times before.
Unless you’re about 20.
Save yourself an hour of your time. Maybe you could watch the William Shatner For the People on YouTube instead?