Starring: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Angela Bassett
Director: James McTeigue
Running Time: 116 mins
Survivor is a British film about a woman working at the US Embassy in London who survives a terrorist attack perpetrated by a notorious killer, and then finds herself being hunted by him, as she uncovers links to terror from within her own embassy.
Despite bursts of action and a committed leading performance from Milla Jovovich, I was really underwhelmed by Survivor. This is a bargain-basement action thriller that underdelivers on tension and high-octane thrills, and fails miserably at telling an intriguing, mysterious story where conspiracy reigns.
While, from a budget and production standpoint, this doesn’t exactly feel like a straight-to-DVD movie, there’s so much about Survivor that really marks it out as a low-effort blockbuster. Above all, the film’s use of action is consistently underwhelming, something made even more frustrating when the action is one of the most engaging things about it.
Let me explain. This isn’t meant to be a non-stop, Liam Neeson-esque thrill ride with fights and shootouts every minute of the way. Instead, there are bursts of action that are meant to advance the story along, but they do little more than to wake you up in between endless periods of tedious and predictable conspiracy drama.
However, while the action serves almost no effective narrative purpose, they do at least keep you awake. Which is more than can be said for the rest of the movie. Milla Jovovich, despite what seems like a committed and often rather physical performance, isn’t able to save her boring, one-dimensional character from fading into this screenplay without a trace.
There’s so little about her that’s interesting or likable, and that makes it really difficult to care for her when she begins to feel the walls closing in around her. Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan, who plays a vicious killer that pursues her, is neither unsettling nor threatening in any way, lacking the steely-eyed intensity that he managed to deliver in the similar action thriller The Foreigner.
And unfortunately, there’s not all that much else to say about Survivor. It’s a really boring movie that neither has the narrative intrigue nor the action intensity to excite or even grab your attention, and despite a committed leading performance, it struggles with a painfully one-dimensional screenplay from start to finish. So, that’s why I’m giving Survivor a 5.2 overall.