Painkiller Jane (2005) Review

Rating: 1 Star

The following review contains spoilers.

Overview:

“Hey, we just got the rights to a comic book called Painkiller Jane. We’d like you to make a movie about it.”

“OK, can I get a copy of the comic?”

“No.”

“OK, what’s it about?”

“A girl named Jane who has healing powers I think. Just make her a soldier or an FBI agent or something. We’re hoping to get a TV series out of this, so she’ll need a wacky support staff and one of them should be handsome enough to eventually kiss.”

“Got it, say no more. How Canadian do you want the whole thing to feel?”

“This is for the Sci-Fi Channel, so like 140%.”

Best Parts:

It’s not a painful experience to watch. I never felt nauseated. I never felt angry. I couldn’t say to someone, “Oh I hated that movie.” It’s just absolutely the most plain jane (sorry) boring and perfunctory by-the-numbers excuse for a TV movie of the week that you could imagine.

Tate Donovan’s performance was fine.

Jane actually does resolve her final conflict with the villain by using her healing powers (sort of), since she breaks her hand to get out of her cuffs, and then pulls the villain out of a moving helicopter, which would presumably kill him and not her (though they reveal in what would be the post-credits if this were a theatrical release that he also survived). I at least appreciate that they found a way to use “good at healing” as a turning point in a conflict.

Worst Parts:

It’s interminably boring. The plot is nothing. Jane is a bad protagonist, who blindly accepts anything anyone tells her. “We’re doing this for your own good.” OK. “No they’re not, you should break out and go on the run.” OK. “Your CO and mentor is the secret bad guy.” OK. “No I’m not, the one who told you that is really the secret bad guy.” OK.

Besides a healing factor, Jane also gets hyper awareness, which she uses exclusively to notice things you’d think she’d have noticed anyway, like that a motorcycle is 100 feet away, or to not run headfirst into branches when she’s jogging in the woods.

The main goal of the heroes is to prevent a serum that could help people heal from any injury or disease from getting out into the world. But, like, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Jane’s healing factor is so highly contagious that a drop of her blood accidentally saves someone who just got a bullet to the chest. She should head to the nearest cancer ward and just start throwing her blood at people immediately.

I can’t say enough how bad her supporting cast is. There’s a handsome lunkhead gentleman thief, a guy who is apparently good at first aid (not real useful when your protagonist has an ultra-powerful healing factor), and a tween boy named “Squeak” (short for pipsqueak I guess?) who never talks and knows all the tunnels in the city like the back of his hand. They live in a giant warehouse full of stolen luxury goods. They’re the worst.

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