Starring Mila Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott,
Before you even start the film, you gotta’ wonder, why anyone would use such a simple title like “Survivor”? It’s such a non-describer, so unspecific, and easily confused with so many other titles and television series. Survivor is a throwback to 90’s thrillers like The Net or The Pelican Brief where our led female is on the run for the entire duration of the film. Framed, with no one to trust, and everyone on her trail, Mila Jovovich makes a play for maturity after years of destroying her credibility with horror/science fiction action movies. Her box office power is pretty impressive, it’s just her respect level as an actress is non-existent. When you have a lead actor with no prestige, the easiest way to counter-balance that is with impressive supporting actors.
Kate Abbott (Jovovich) has been brought in from DC to lead foreign security at the US Embassy in London. Serious, stern and completely focused on work, Abbott’s recent red flag of a suspicious doctor trying to get into the US, lands her in hot water with the United Kingdom government. Following an explosion that kills most of her co-workers, and intended for her, Kate is on the run to prove her innocence as it now looks like she was behind the bombings. An assassin nicknamed The Watchmaker (Brosnan) is planting all sorts of evidence to cool his trail and point fingers towards Kate as he and his constituents prepare for a large scale terrorist attack.
For a film about the intelligence community, the script isn’t the smartest.
It’s old fashioned in the setup, and the thrill of the chase keeps the viewer’s attention sustained. There is so much movement on screen, there isn’t enough time to point out the simple plot holes (i.e. just go tell them who the bad guys are). For instance, during one confrontation, a man is killed and Kate walks aimlessly around holding a weapon as onlookers snap photos and videos. We are supposed to believe she is brilliant, but yet not bright enough to put down a smoking gun before walking into a crowd? Director James McTeigue (V For Vendetta, The Raven) has consistently been involved with films that focus more on the genre specifics than if the story actually makes sense.
For a film about the intelligence community, the script isn’t the smartest. While I greatly appreciate a female thriller and even putting talent like Bassett in the role of the US Ambassador, the entire plotline doesn’t hold much weight. Even more confusing was the text at the end of the film explaining how many terrorist attacks have been thwarted since 9/11. Survivor cannot be taken seriously as a film about real security officers because of the genre it’s in. Someone like Kathryn Bigelow or JC Chandor might have made this more intelligent by using protocol and redefining suspense, but Survivor is about explosions, guns and chases, absolutely nothing more.
Jovovich brings back the 90’s “framed and on the run” thriller.