DIRECTOR: James McTeiguesurvivor

CAST: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, James D’Arcy, Frances de la Tour

RUNNING TIME: 96 mins

CERTIFICATE: 12A

BASICALLY…: A London-based service officer (Jovovich) attempts to prevent a terrorist attack, but is forced to go on the run when she is framed for crimes she did not commit…

 

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

If there’s only one government agency film you simply must see in cinemas, it’s definitely not Survivor.

You’d be better off watching or even re-watching Spy, because this film is everything that film isn’t: an endlessly dull, unimaginative and downright lazy attempt at an all-star spy thriller that doesn’t even seem to know who it’s aiming for.

Never mind the fact that it’s an unbelievably familiar set-up – after an incident that our main character, in this case Milla Jovovich’s passport visa operative, happens to be caught in the middle of, she makes a run for it from the authorities and other relentless baddies – but it’s handled in an alarmingly sloppy manner. Director James McTeigue, having impressed many in the past with V for Vendetta (well, everyone except Alan Moore), for some reason has decided to play things completely straight, even as things get even sillier and more clichéd as the film goes along, and in doing so sucks out all of the fun this movie could have potentially had with itself and instead make it a slog to get through. You find yourself counting down the seconds until an expected incident happens more than you will actually give a damn about what’s actually happening and to whom. If McTeigue had realised what a straightforward concept this way, he could have at least made it enjoyable to watch; instead, he’s made a complete bore out of a tired stock plot.

It’s also a shameful waste of, let’s be honest here, one hell of a fantastic cast. All of these actors, even Jovovich to your probable confusion, have delivered great performances at one point or another over their careers, but here they’re brought in to not do anything other than act as archetypal stock characters – Jovovich as the innocent fugitive determined to right the wrongs; Dylan McDermott (who, in a bizarre twist of casting against type, DOESN’T turn out to be the secret villain here) as the patriotic but doubtful ally; James D’Arcy as the hard-boiled and law-abiding police inspector determined to bring Jovovich in at whatever cost; and so on. Everyone else, including acting veterans like Angela Bassett, Robert Forster and Frances de la Tour, barely even registers as having a major presence, as if McTeigue somehow got these actors’ phone numbers and asked them to appear in his latest for a favour as well as a quick buck.

The film’s one saving grace, at least to a point where it becomes unintentionally humorous, is Pierce Brosnan as the aged assassin known as “The Watchmaker”, in that he’s seen repairing some watches… and that’s it. Other than that, he’s just about as predictably trigger-happy as any movie assassin would be, and Brosnan does at least seem to be having the slightest bit of fun playing this wildly exaggerated character, even donning a hilariously fake moustache at certain points as a “disguise” (which, now that we think about it, is pretty inconsistent thanks to McTeigue’s direction as we see in later scenes there was never a reason for him to don that hair-lip in the first place).

Aside from Brosnan, it’s all as processed as you can predict. With its tired and dull story (which not even Taken 3 could pull off competently) matched with some inconsistent direction and lifeless stock performances from a talented cast of established actors, Survivor is a lifeless shell of something much better.

SO, TO SUM UP…

Survivor is a very dull and unentertaining experience, with director James McTeigue giving us his least impressive and most inconsistent work yet along with a talented ensemble of actors given nothing to do but act out the clichéd plot beats that are by this point tired and worn out.