UK Release Date: 5th June 2015
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: James McTeigue
Writer: Philip Shelby
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, Angela Bassett, James D’Arcy, Antonia Thomas, Roger Rees
Synopsis: A government employee finds herself pursued by a notorious assassin when she stumbles upon a conspiracy.
Since he burst onto the scene with V For Vendetta in 2006, James McTeigue has had a rather quiet directorial career. His films, including Edgar Allan Poe-inspired thriller The Raven, have flown under the radar with cinemagoers. The same will likely happen to Survivor, which is a desperately bland action thriller.
Kate (Milla Jovovich) is a hotshot employee parachuted in from the States to work at the American Embassy in London. A terrorist attack targets her and her colleagues, perpetrated by the Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan), but she survives out of good fortune. With the government unsure if they can trust her, Kate must attempt to uncover the Watchmaker’s plan on her own.
Survivor never really manages to get out of the gate. McTeigue has a flair for action sequences, which he continues to display here, but the spectacle really fails to impress. The film limps every bit as much as its protagonist does, creating little momentum and even less intrigue.
| "I’ve been waiting ten years for this… for what they did to my wife."
It doesn’t help that the plotting in Survivor is utterly ludicrous and terribly slapdash. The story revolves around a plot to blow up the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve with an explosive gun of some kind. None of the characters have particularly well-drawn motivations and the plan itself is a ridiculous one that never seems likely to work.
Milla Jovovich does what she can in the lead role, but she is constantly battling against Philip Shelby’s script, which refuses to give her character any depth or nuance. Pierce Brosnan is a victim of the same issue, with his character in Survivor nothing more than the kind of moustache-twirling cardboard cut-out assassin you can find in just about every airport crime novel.
The film unfolds at a snail’s pace, despite its relatively brief running time. On her way to foiling the silly terrorist plot, which makes no sense, Jovovich seems to wander from one calamity to another as she is hunted by both the Watchmaker and her own employers. Survivor isn’t interested in expressing any wider ideas, but doesn’t deliver on the level of cheap thrills either.
| "For a hundred million, it’s about a lot more than greed."
There are brief sparks of life in Survivor and it often threatens to come alive with excitement, but there’s always something to bring the momentum right down almost immediately. It’s a thumbnail sketch of an action movie, but there’s no blood and adrenaline running through its veins.
Pop or Poop?
Sadly, given the calibre of James McTeigue’s previous work, Survivor is a real disappointment of an action film, lacking in narrative energy.
Jovovich and Brosnan battle hard, but there’s very little they can do with the characters they are given and are hamstrung by the ludicrous plot.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.