- RatedPG13 /GenreAction, Thriller
If the trailers and promotional material for ‘Survivor’ appear to give off an “Evelyn Salt on the run” vibe, think again.
It turns out that this action thriller does offer something slightly different from the typical spy blockbuster; it is neither action-packed nor thrilling.
Instead, ‘Survivor’ entertains as much as a running bureaucrat who can throw a clumsy punch whenever the bad guys occasionally catch up with her; spoiler alert: it is not very entertaining at all.
Milla Jovovich plays Kate Abbott, an American Embassy officer handling visa applications in London. When she begins to investigate suspicious individuals who were personally allowed into the United States by her superior, terrorists hire an assassin known as the Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan) to eliminate Kate.
By a stroke of luck, Kate survives a bombing. But she is framed for the attack and finds herself on the run from both the Watchmaker and British law enforcement. With the American authorities also suspicious of her, Kate decides to personally prevent a planned terrorist attack in New York City.
Pierce Brosnan in 'Survivor'
Having long been established as one of Hollywood’s leading action heroines, Jovovich is awkwardly out of place in this movie. The veteran of ‘Resident Evil’ is demoted to a stubbornly determined bureaucrat who cannot fight but is genetically blessed with a good pair of running legs.
Indeed, much of the movie’s action is just a high stakes hide-and-seek with a gun-wielding Pierce Brosnan, who has a permanent grumpy expression plastered to his face. Kate rarely gets her hands dirty with combat except in the occasional face-off with her pursuers, during which she throws clumsy punches amid intense stares.
‘Survivor’ does have plenty of obligatory gunshots and explosions, but these are mostly fired at inanimate objects or at a fleeing Kate who does not shoot back. When the action is such a one-sided affair, it is no surprise how dull the movie becomes.
After 90 minutes of being dragged through a story that we are simply not motivated to stay interested in, it seems somewhat expected that the finale is as anti-climactic as it turns out to be.
BIG NAMES IN FORGETTABLE ROLES
‘Survivor’ is loaded with star power, but none of these assets are able to compensate for the movie’s shortcomings.
Brosnan himself is far from intimidating, coming across more as a disgruntled and corrupted James Bond than as a feared assassin. Perhaps it is a good thing for Brosnan’s career that the one-dimensional Watchmaker is such a forgettable villain and certainly not a role that he will be remembered for.
Dylan McDermott in 'Survivor'
Names like Dylan McDermott, James D’Arcy and Angela Bassett make up the supporting cast, but they are assigned to flat and shallow characters that are even less meaningful in the sketchy plot. Ultimately, none of these characters – including the protagonist – are believable because their courses of action are more reckless than rational.
‘Survivor’ fails to inspire its somewhat blatant messages of patriotism and anti-terrorism. The movie instead comes across as an action flick wannabe that crashes and burns at every turn.
'Survivor' opens 9 July