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Film / Painkiller Jane

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A 2005 TV movie by the Sci-Fi Channel, very loosely based on the comic book of the same name.

Jane Elizabeth Browning, a female US Special Forces soldier, is sent to Chechnya with the Painkiller Unit to shut down a drug lab. At the site, they find it's creating a biochemical weapon instead, to which they're exposed. While attempting to retreat, they're attacked by armed men in Hazmat suits, who kill them all. Except for Jane, naturally, who then wakes up in a military facility, finding that her multiple gunshot wounds are healed after only a few days. The military are of course fascinated by this, Jane's superior officer Colonel Ian Watts keeping her there for testing. A psychiatrist, Dr. Graham Knight, also attempts to assess Jane, though she rebuffs this. It becomes clear that the military has no intention of letting Jane go, and after she's transferred to Alaska for even more tests, Jane escapes instead in the company of a thief, Nick Pierce. Taking shelter with him and his two companions, Jane determines to reveal what happened and why to give her such extraordinary abilities.

This film was meant to start a series, but the one Sci Fi Channel produced ended up going with a different plot.

This film features examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jane is a US Special Forces soldier, first seen on a covert mission into Chechnya. She continues to show her skills throughout the film, aided by then having a Healing Factor too.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the original comic (and TV series), Jane was a police officer when she's changed. Here, she's a Special Forces soldier.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Jane's last name changes from Vasko to Browning in this movie.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Graham/Insley, who initially comes off as a nice, sympathetic psychiatrist, turns out to be Erfan all along, who gave Jane her enhanced abilities via a genetic modification, which killed her team when they were exposed.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Erfan enhances humans by genetic modification, saying they'll achieve a higher stage of evolution in doing so.
  • Faking the Dead: At the end, Jane's death is faked by Watts, giving her a completely new identity, with even a gravestone he visits to show her supposed resting place.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: A group of men in Hazmat suits gun down Jane and her team in the opener. The gas masks are justified since they were exposed to a biochemical weapon.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Jane's enhanced abilities turn out to be a result of genetic modification, which Erfan also gave other people (including, the ending implies, himself).
  • Goal-Oriented Evolution: Erfan claims Jane is the "next stage of human evolution", while including others he enhanced like her, plus himself.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Watts holds Jane against her will for testing and makes her justifiably afraid she'll never be free, so she escapes. It seems like he may be the villain briefly due to Graham's assertions. However, in the end he turns out to be good nonetheless, just heavy-handed about finding out what's happened with her.
  • Healing Factor: Jane gets one which allows her to heal from injuries within days like it's been years, even pushing a bullet out of her body.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Jane gains this ability from her enhancement, suddenly growing aware of minute details that she didn't pick up before.
  • Important Haircut: About midway through the film, Jane cuts her hair short and dyes it bright red, embracing her new abilities while going against the whole military who she served to find out how they occurred.
  • Parental Abandonment: Jane's parents are mentioned to have both died in her teens.
  • Pilot Movie: This film was meant to be one of a series. While one did occur, it has a very different plot.
  • Promotion to Parent: Due to their parents' deaths, Jane's older sister Carla raised her.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with the reveal Erfan is alive, selling his substance to East Asian men, and it's implied he's enhanced himself, with a clear indication for future story lines. This never happened however, as the series was completely different.
  • Sherlock Scan: Jane does these many times in the film after gaining enhanced attention to detail and superior eyesight along with her Healing Factor, picking up things which would escape others.
  • Super-Senses: Jane's eyesight becomes much keener, even telescopic, due to her enhancement. She's shown being able to see things in great detail a long distance off. Along with this, her hearing is similarly improved.
  • Super-Strength: Among the enhancements she receives Jane gains great strength, allowing her to break out of handcuffs with ease.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jane leaps in front of Watts when gunmen attack them near the end, getting hit by one bullet meant for him. While he is hit, it's Just a Flesh Wound, while this spars him from worse.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Jane clearly fears, if not dissection, she'll be held by the military indefinitely with endless tests when they transfer her to Alaska. Instead, she escapes and goes on the run.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Though he's aware of Jane's enhanced strength, since he caused her to have it, Erfan just cuffs her when she's captured. Naturally, she easily breaks free and ends up jumping from a helicopter on top of him. He survives though, being implied as having been enhanced too.
  • The Voiceless: It's never said Squeak cannot speak, but he doesn't utter a word in the film.