Painkiller Jane (2005) mini review

based on a comic

Just to be fair to the Sci Fi Channel, I thought I'd share my Painkiller Jane review, which is a bit more positive than my thoughts about Lightspeed. Let's hope that their next superhero film is more like the former than the latter.

Making its debut in December 2005, this Sci Fi Original Picture is actually quite impressive - better than many of the comic book films (with bigger budgets) that have been released to theaters, especially when you consider it's a made-for-cable movie. In Painkiller Jane, Jane Elizabeth Browning is a captain in the U.S. Army, and, after getting exposed to a biological agent, rather than dying like the rest of her troop, her normal abilities are enhanced. She has more endurance, her body heals quicker, her mind works faster. The story follows her as she tries to figure out exactly what has happened to her and who's responsible.

While I enjoyed Painkiller Jane, there's not really a lot that stood out about the movie; it's just a completely engaging action film. It's one of those movies you get drawn into and enjoy, and forget to make mental notes about what was good or bad. There was one thing, though, that especially impressed me - the way the movie treats her new-found abilities; her mental abilities in particular. The filmmakers were quite creative in coming up with ways to show (rather than explain) how her mind was now able to perceive patterns and make connections that she couldn't before.

An interesting cast note: a number of the actors have experience in live action comic book films. Emmanuelle Vaugier (Jane) was in Smallville for a while as Lex Luthor's girlfriend, Dr. Helen Bryce; everyone would recognize Richard Roundtree (Colonel Watts) from his pivotal role in Steel; and Tate Donovan (Dr. Graham Knight) was in the obscure G-Men from Hell.

Painkiller Jane is based on a comic created by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti. It appears to have originally been with Event Comics, but is now owned by Dynamite Comics. Her origin in the movie is quite a bit different than in the comics, a detail that could turn off long-time fans.

See it if you like good, solid action films, with a bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure.

Don't see it if you're expecting something that's true to the source material.

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