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Theft with a thrill

She's messed with the wrong person's car in `Banshee.' But never fear. This time a woman plays the tough guy.

June 24, 2006|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

In "Banshee," an original movie airing tonight on the Oxygen network, Taryn Manning ("Hustle & Flow") plays a pixieish blond with a Goth's scowl and an even meaner bite. She's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer if Buffy'd had a rough exterior and turned to stealing cars instead of slaying the un-dead.

Sage (Manning) looks un-dead, and yet cute, like the lead singer of a hard-core girl band. Early on, when she told a fellow car thief that "betting for sex is desperate and cliche," and not long after that stole a car, and not longer after that declared, "If a guy cooks for you first ... then you're immune to hog status," I began hoping "Banshee" was a television series, not a low-budget movie.

Either way, Manning is what distinguishes this occasionally fun, tacky action thriller; she's a kindred spirit of a new kind of character on TV: The Women Who Frighten Me. So far there are Trixie and Calamity Jane of "Deadwood," and now, however briefly, there's Sage, a.k.a. "Banshee," which is her nom de guerre from a hard-knocks life of abuse and petty crime.

She's like the character from the original French movie "Nikita" starring Anne Parillaud. In "Banshee," shot mostly at night and set in some no-name downtown, Sage runs afoul of a serial killer-techno DJ when she hot wires his cherry red 1966 Dodge Charger.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday June 27, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
"Banshee": A review of the TV movie "Banshee" in Saturday's Calendar section referred to the French film "Nikita." The film's full title is "La Femme Nikita."

It's kind of an amusing plotline; nobody to my knowledge has yet riffed on boys and their fixation with driving fast, serial killers, and techno music and vintage autos in the same story.

"Banshee" was written by Kirsten Elms and directed by Kari Skogland. Given that it's on Oxygen, Sage is equal parts cunning, vulnerable, Cher and Gloria Steinem. "So how come when a guy steals he's slick, but when a woman does, she's compensating for some profound emotional lack?," Sage asks the detective (Mike Lombardi of "Rescue Me") with whom she's questing to track down the killer.

This is not long after Sage has stripped to her underwear and Superglued her own stomach wound.



Where: Oxygen

When: 8 to 10 tonight

Ratings: TV-14 DLV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for coarse language, suggestive dialogue, and violence)

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