You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Painkiller Jane

Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects "Painkiller Jane" with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show's mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal has been overshadowed by the similarly endowed cheerleader on "Heroes" on sister net NBC.

Cast:
Jane Vasco - Kristanna Loken Andre McBride - Rob Stewart Connor King - Noah Danby Riley Jensen - Sean Owen Roberts Dr. Seth Carpenter - Stephen Lobo Joe Waterman - Nathaniel Deveaux Maureen Bowers - Alaina Huffman

Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal has been overshadowed by the similarly endowed cheerleader on “Heroes” on sister net NBC. As if seeking to obscure its narrative shortcomings, “Jane” frequently employs herky-jerky slow-motion set to a heavily synthesized score, making aspirin a must for consumers of this “Painkiller.”

Jane (Loken) is a DEA agent drafted to become part of an elite crime-fighting team hunting “neuros,” a strain of genetically advanced humans who can influence others with their extra-sensory powers. Unlike in the comics, however, there’s no explanation for her ability to regenerate after injury, with gauzy flashbacks to a young Jane mourning her mother’s death only hinting at a cause.

In one oversimplifying motion, then, the producers not only tether their heroine to childhood cliches but transform their concept into a mundane “Mission: Impossible” meets “X-Files” copycat, with Jane and her crack team, led by the sinewy McBride (Rob Stewart), chasing after “neuros” in the first two episodes. Along the way, they utter turgid lines like “Never let them see you cry again” and demonstrate that surviving a near-death experience can apparently trigger bouts of overacting.

Although visually striking, the statuesque Loken lumbers awkwardly through the smartass exchanges with Stewart, the sort of playful banter that can prove deadly in the wrong hands. And while Sci Fi execs doubtless savored the promotional benefits associated with her role in the third “Terminator” movie, somebody overlooked the fact that the franchise’s murderous cyborg role is traditionally silent.

Hot women in action vehicles have always been perceived as a win-win approach in terms of attracting young men, and based on the production values, one suspects the financial terms on the series (also being pitched in syndication) were favorable, mitigating Sci Fi’s risk. Based on this first meeting, however, only guys with a taste for camp or genuinely desperate to see a female in the living room would willingly book a second date with “Jane.”

Painkiller Jane

Sci Fi Channel, Fri. April 13, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by Insight Film Studios and Kickstart Comics. Executive producers, Gil Grant, Kirk Shaw, Rob Word, Jason Netter, Ken F. Levin; co-executive producer, Kristanna Loken; producer, Kirk Shaw; producer, Richard Bullock; director, Nick Copus; writer, Grant; based on the comic book created by Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Quesada.

Crew: Camera, Mahlon Todd Williams; editors, Jamie Alain, Trevor Mirosh, Luis Lam; music, Mike Thomas, John Seredea; production designers, James Hazell; casting, Paul Ruddy, Candice Elzinga. Running time: 60 MIN.

Cast: Jane Vasco - Kristanna Loken Andre McBride - Rob Stewart Connor King - Noah Danby Riley Jensen - Sean Owen Roberts Dr. Seth Carpenter - Stephen Lobo Joe Waterman - Nathaniel Deveaux Maureen Bowers - Alaina Huffman

More TV

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul Reveals the Queens Competing in 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' Season 3

    Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal […]

  • Donald Trump

    SAG-AFTRA Supports 'Unencumbered Press' After Trump's License Revocation Threat

    Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal […]

  • Brent Briscoe Dead: 'Twin Peaks' and

    Brent Briscoe, 'Twin Peaks' and 'Parks and Recreation' Actor, Dies at 56

    Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal […]

  • 'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at

    'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at CBS From Peter Lenkov With Production Commitment

    Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal […]

  • YouTube logo

    TV News Roundup: YouTube Greenlights Tinder-Themed Comedy 'Swipe Right'

    Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal […]

  • THE GIFTED: L-R: Natalie Alyn Lind,

    Delayed Viewing Ratings: 'Gifted' Scores for Fox, 'Good Doctor' Stands Strong on ABC

    Already adapted from the comicbook into a 2005 TV movie, Sci Fi resurrects “Painkiller Jane” with a new lead in Kristanna Loken, but nothing here is an improvement. The show’s mired in stiff dialogue, clunky voiceover narration, uneven performances and indifferently staged action sequences; even the central premise about a woman who can immediately heal […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content