Thursday, December 6, 2012

Painkiller Jane: Heroine or Menace?


I've noticed more than a few valid complaints about how there are no really decent superheroine movies and I agreed.    Most are given skimpy outfits, one liners that would make Spidey groan and a love interest that is not merely farfetched but over exaggerated.   No real depth into a backstory or explanation on how they came to be.  Several characters have been overlooked.   Vampirella for example is a powerful, capable woman that happens to be a vampire with a great mental capacity and physical strength.  Granted her outfit looks like dental floss but nevertheless badass gal.   Dynamite Comics however has a character that essence was more or less captured on a Syfy Channel TV Movie. 
So make a munchie run, grab me a Mexi-Coke and let’s sit in.   This is Painkiller Jane.

Spoilers hurt so good…

The crux of the character is sound but her background and profession was altered.  So from being a hard hitting cop we alter Jane (Emmanuelle Vaugier of Saw II, House of the Dead 2, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Unearthed and Far Cry) into a Spec Ops Captain in charge of her unit: Painkiller.   What would be a major heroine processing and distribution center on intel turns out to be some sort of biological lab, patients are infected and soon Jane and her men too receive side-effects.  Desperate to vacate the Captain and men haul ass out only to run into about 20 men armed with Ak-47s and Hazmat suits.  Jane and her boys valiantly fight them but are cut to ribbons and left bleeding on the alley street.  The End…or is it?


5 days later Jane awakes in a military hospital, her wound dramatically healed leaving faint tissue scarring that should be the result of weeks of healing not days.   Her commanding officer Colonel Watts (Richard Roundtree of Shaft, Outlaws, Seven, Vegas Vampires, Desperate Housewives and Heroes) feels they need to do more testing for the fact she was the only one in her unit to come out alive.  Doctor Graham Knight (Tate Donovan of Love Potion No. 9, Partners, Hercules, Friends, The O.C. and Damages) establishes a rapport with Jane and gains her trust with his promise to fix whatever occurred.   Jane notices other aspects of herself beyond her healing such as: heighten state of awareness to her surroundings, dexterity, speed, strength, to process information at an accelerated level and analytical thinking on a scale that rivals gifted intelligence.    

While slightly reveling in her new found abilities, Jane also knows the military will use her as a weapon, escapes during a military transport to a safer location and without killing or even injuring her captors.  Doctor Knight may be the only man to help her but can anything be made to assist her?  Will she want to give up this new abilities and what of Timmy trapped in the well?


TV director Sanford Bookstaver (The Chronicle, Fastlane, The O.C., Bones, and House M.D.) tackles a comic book character devised by Joe Quesada (The Ray, Batman: Sword of Azrael, Daredevil and Ash) and Jimmy Palmiotti (Punisher, Ghost Rider, The Nam, Daredevil and Ash) and frankly as a fan of the comic itself I though Vaugier’s portrayal was spot on.   Tough as nails when the bullets start flying but emotional when the danger has subsided, trying to figure out her next move or if she in fact even has a next move.  Okay a lot of TV movies are hammier than Shatner’s  $h%* My Dad Says but overall my only complaint is the story moved too fast and didn’t allow for some real development but hell it was two hours so guessing a mini-series arc was the way to go.   Say now, isn’t there a Painkiller Jane series starring Kristanna Loken?   Hmm…I wonder.