So, thanks to the power of the DVD recorder, I just watched the finale of the Ashley Judd/Cliff Curtis action drama ‘Missing’ which finished airing on TV One a few weeks back. I was hesitant about this show to start with, and to be honest the only things that kept me watching the whole season were the lovely scenery (causing many ‘I’ve been there!’ outbursts from me) and the slightly tasty Italian Interpol guy/love interest.
(By the way, it goes without saying that SPOILER ALERT applies here.)
When you think about it, the plot had real promise. We love CIA agents. We love rogue CIA agents gone bad. We love girls kicking butt. And we love Sean Bean. So what was missing? Turns out, quite a lot.
For a start, there was the ‘do we really care’ factor. The main driver behind Ashley Judd’s European action holiday was to find her abducted kid (and seriously – how many times did the fact that she was a ‘mother’ have to be hammered home?? We got it the first time. And the second time. And the five hundredth-millionth time). I think as a result of poor casting and a barely drawn character, I just didn’t really care about said whiny kid at all. He is about to be killed by dodgy Eastern European mercenaries? So what. He might be abducted by his own Dad? Go ahead.
Although I love an ‘oh my god I didn’t see that coming’ twist, there seemed to be a few too many here. Oh my god, Sean Bean is alive? Oh my god, Sean Bean is a bad guy? Oh my god, Sean Bean isn’t a bad guy? Oh my god, Cliff’s CIA girlfriend is a bad guy? Oh my god, Ashley’s mentor is the bad guy? And that is putting aside the ‘is Giancarlo dead or alive’ sub-plot (and where was he in the end? Sheesh, why did I keep watching?). Sometimes keeping it simple, especially in a globe-trotting action show like this one, is the best recipe. By the end, I had lost track of what was going on, why the hell the kid was taken in the first place and who was in Camp Bad Guy. And, as above, I didn’t really care.
I have been waiting for a show depicting a kick-ass female lead, and in that Missing really did have something different. It wasn’t a Charlie’s Angel-style ‘I am really pretty and like to do kung-fu while wearing a bikini and washing your car’ action heroine that we got, but an ‘I am a normal everyday housewife who can also kill you in one hundred different ways’ one. Although closer to the action heroine I have been hoping to finally see in mainstream entertainment, it was a little too far-fetched for my liking. If they had given some more backstory around how she remained in such good shape and retained her skills years after retiring that would have grounded it for me a little more. But something tells me a run in the woods every day wouldn’t quite cut it.
And finally, it committed a sin so many American films and TV shows are guilty of which will be my Blog Pet Peeve Number 1 – ‘you can kill someone in cold blood and get away with it if you are the good guy and the other dude is the bad guy’. So apparently, in this show, it is ok for all mothers whose kids get kidnapped and whacked around a little to just shoot the guy who took him, even though he was posing no immediate threat to you or anyone around you and was guaranteed a life in a Turkish prison. Oh, and it is also fine for you to torture a dodgy CIA agent in the process. Don’t worry, the CIA won’t worry about it. Is this seriously the message the CIA want to be sending? Anyway, maybe I am taking what was meant to be a light-hearted romp too seriously, but it took itself too seriously, so I am justified 😉
So, for this female try-hard Bourne with what seemed to be a target market of middle aged women who want more travel and action in their lives, I award 2 M&Ms (and one of them is the yucky yellow one).
By the way, in case you are worried I am going to be one of those ranty film/tv/book critics who hates EVERYTHING, I am really not. Stay tuned for next week when I praise the bejesus out of great recent release DVDs 50/50 and The Avengers.