Spy series doesn’t miss target
Not-to-be-messed-with Ashley Judd is a real presence on writes
TELEVISION viewers are in dire need of a new secret agent now that Jack Bauer is out of the picture.
Well, until that muchdiscussed 24 movie actually gets made at least – and Kiefer Sutherland is busy playing a devoted dad to an autistic child who might hold the key to the unseen connections that link us all on Network Ten’s new series Touch.
By the way, a brief digression: what’s the general verdict on Touch? The first episode was quite good and Sutherland and the supporting cast all delivered strong, sympathetic work but will it be a bit like the payTV series Awake –a fascinating concept that bolts out of the gates but may lack the ability to go the whole distance?
Anyway, where were we? Ah, that’s right: spies. Or, to be more precise, intelligence agents who have no qualms about slapping you silly – or worse – to get what they need. On 24, Sutherland’s Jack Bauer did so to save the world. On Network Seven’s new action drama Missing, Ashley Judd is doing so to rescue her abducted son.
You remember Judd, of course. Back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, she was a small but efficient showbiz industry unto herself playing tough women who found themselves in dramatic, dangerous situations, only to emerge victorious thanks to their natural pluck and grit (and a little help from a grizzled mentor such as Tommy Lee Jones or Morgan Freeman).
Judd’s charismatic and compelling work in movies such as Kiss the Girls and Double Jeopardy made it clear that she was not to be messed with. But in recent years she’s been missing in action, so to speak.
But she’s back and raring to go in Missing, a distaff version of the big-screen action hit Taken, where Liam Neeson killed half the bad guys in Paris to retrieve his kidnapped daughter.
In Missing’s case, it’s the teenage son of Judd’s Becca Winstone, a retired CIA operative, who is pinched while he’s attending college in Rome.
Well, Becca isn’t sitting still for that kind of nonsense and before you can say ‘‘back in business’’, she’s hightailed it to Europe where she’s tangling with shadowy assassins, getting involved in scooter chases, flirting with hunky Italian spies and being the most ferocious mama bear ever.
The DNA of Missing is evident for all to see – aside from shamelessly lifting the premise from the aforementioned Taken, there are obvious nods to the Bourne movies and, naturally enough, that terrific female-spy series Alias.
As befits a show that borrows elements from so many enjoyable movies and programs, it’s a giddily enjoyable romp. That said, it does take itself a little seriously, and one gets the feeling that a little more awareness of how ridiculous it can get on occasion might serve Missing well.
Abduction’s no laughing matter, of course, and Judd never winks at the camera.
But when I think of my mum coming to save me, her rampaging through Europe doesn’t spring to mind as much as her picking me up from the blue-light disco. As far I can tell, however, my mum never took out a gun-wielding bad guy armed only with a coathanger, so what do I know?
Ashley Judd (left) is a mum trying to find her son in
Tuesdays, 9.30pm, Seven, Prime7.