James McTeigue’s Survivor initially seemed promising enough, with the right amount of grit and explosive tact, not to mention having James Bond veteran, Pierce Brosnan, and Resident heroine, Milla Jovovich, along for the ride. Yet here it is, a disappointment to critics and clients alike – are its flopping figures well-deserved?
Survivor takes off by giving us a bit of wartime context before haphazardly cutting to high security consultant, Kate Abbott (Jovovich), working her 24 hour job at the Home Office. In her attempts to slow the progress of, and expose, a potential terrorist plot, she manages to get most of her colleagues killed in an explosion, set off by none other than ultimate assassin, codenamed The Watchmaker (Brosnan). Being thrown into the international spotlight as a terrorist suspect, it becomes a game of cat and mouse for Abbott as she evades the iron fist of the law, as well as international criminals, in order to best the system and bring the terrorist syndicate to justice.
In all due honesty, I give the plot too much credit. What the thriller lacks in realistic storytelling it tries to make up for with fast-paced and solid editing. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to cut the mustard. Categorised as the sort of film that you watch in your pyjamas during a lazy day, I found myself listing a bucket load of questions, and by the halfway point I was so armed to the teeth, I needed my own Q&A with the cast and crew.
Even now, I can’t help but wonder at the purpose of Pierce Brosnan’s moustache disguise which he dons only once throughout the entire movie. It makes no difference to his appearance whatsoever – that is unless McTeigue’s idea was to make me smile with disbelief. If it was intended as a “subtle” nod to his past career as a Bond man, the jest landed flat on its face.
Otherwise, Survivor was a “meh” action flick with only a few good bits and although I think critics were too eager to bare their teeth, it was definitely no masterpiece. There was a lack of willpower to explore any of the characters, except for the occasional motivations of villainous players who were forced to act against their will, but even that was glossed over. It’s like Jovovich said: “it was understandable, but not excusable.”