British intelligence-employed mnemonic champion Iain Smythe apparently has been kidnapped at an elevator during the planned handover to CSA agents of a list of data on British secret agents in the Middle East. In fact the briefcase was just a diversion, it's all in his head, and a $5,000,000 ransom is demanded for his release. Frank calls in Jane, who isn't pleased with a surprise visit from her self-invited mother, Polly Jameson. However the British agent on the case, Simon Custer, turns out to be on old professional and intimate friend of hers. The fiends seem to get killed off faster then they CSA can find them. Written by
Frank Darnell has an agent at the airport to meet MI7 agent Custer and his courier Ian Smyth, who is carrying the names of 165 secret agents embedded in the Middle East. When the courier is jumped, Custer is disabled and the agent goes after the briefcase. However the attacker escapes and the recovered briefcase is empty. Custer reveals that Smythe had the names in his head a detail that is all the more important given that Smythe has vanished into thin air. With Darnell scratching his head, Jane Doe is called in to assist but she has her own problems with her mother visiting.
The most recent in the undemanding but distracting Jane Doe series of films opens quickly and sets up a mystery of a missing man and I had reasonable hopes since the whole gimmick of this series is the idea that Jane Doe can solve complex puzzles. However when this mystery is solved relatively quickly it becomes a more generic kidnapping that doesn't actually require jumps of logic and puzzle-solving skill. That said it is still engaging in a daytime telly sort of way but it is never particularly clever. The first bit of the film did worry me though because the "mother" thread suggested that the home life would get some focus which is never a good thing and indeed these scenes are painful to watch here too. Although it doesn't stay in the family, this thread is still pretty pointless and seems to be there to fill time and also as a woeful attempt to deepen the characters! The overall plot will probably suffice for those used to this series but that is not to ignore the fact that even the forgiving viewer will find some of the unnatural and clunky dialogue laughably bad. This is most evident in the family scenes but it does seep into the rest of it. The acting mostly matches this as the material gives nobody anything to work with Thompson and Mills slow-motion diving out of a tiny explosion is the funniest thing I've seen in a while! Thompson is OK on a superficial level but she has no character and when asked to do more than solve puzzles she struggles. Penny is a good tough force but his performance is just what it is in the first minute as it is in the last. Mills is an unnecessary addition to the cast and she is stuck with nothing to do as the film does nothing with her character or themes and at times she is downright silly (her role in the end is daft), I hope her addition is not the way forward for the series. Franckenstein is a big slice of ham, Guliak is so greasy you could bottle him while Korot is sexy and dangerous albeit in a very basic way. As usual Moses is in it for minutes and given nothing to do I suppose it is a steady paycheque because I can see no other reason for him being here. Yet again Mastroianni makes it all look good and slick but beyond this he can do nothing with the depth.
Overall then a fairly so-so entry in a fairly so-so series. The puzzles are OK but there was only one time where I felt Doe had shown logic to justify her position otherwise it was only OK. The script is clunky and unnatural (at its worst in the family scenes) and the actors generally have nothing to do.
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