Synopsis – A Foreign Service Officer in London tries to prevent a terrorist attack set to hit New York, but is forced to go on the run when she is framed for crimes she did not commit.
My Take – Its really surprising to see that even with a presence of many known actors, a film could be so non-nonsensical filled with one long cliche after another that relies heavily on coincidence, chance and one hell of a lot of luck. Probably this film was a quick cash grab/ paycheck for everyone involved! Agreed the tag line of the film says it all, but honestly not many films with such a potentially good cast, an almost interesting premise and a decent exposition are so incredibly disappointing. As the film enters the second act, it becomes less plausible by the minute, while characters seem to evolve backwards and lose their credibility with every single scene they play, including protagonists. Then the finale is the height of idiocracy, non-tension and absolutely non worthy of a action thriller! The story follows Foreign Service Officer Kate Abbott (Milla Jovovich), who has been newly stationed at the American Embassy in London. Abbott comes with an impressive resume but despite her commendable experience in profiling terror suspects, can’t seem to convince her boss and Ambassador to the UK (Angela Bassett) that certain visa applicants to the United States have diabolical motives. One such applicant is a Romanian doctor who calls The Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan), an accomplice and hit-man, to eliminate Abbott.
Their plan – bomb a restaurant she’s dinning at. Of course, Abbott survives, and just minutes later, appears to have killed an embassy official thanks to social media. Abbott is targeted by British authorities, American agents and The Watchmaker himself, before trying to single- handily foil a massive terror attack on US soil, with no training or whatsoever. The plus point I would hand out here – its been a while were I had such laughable face-palm moments. The string of questionable inconsistencies are quite long – Why would a skilled hit-man blow up a restaurant just to kill an unarmed office worker with no field experience? With CCTV coverage at every nook and cranny in London, why would the US Embassy implicate one of its own without a shred of evidence? As an Embassy officer with diplomatic immunity, why is Abbott hiding? Even if there are justifiable theories to those questions, nothing can prepare you for the ludicrous nature of how the entire story is penned. Pacing is an even bigger issue coming from James McTeigue, the same director responsible for the fantastic V For Vendetta. Except for Abbott’s unbelievable escapes every time The Watchmaker strikes, the rest of the film comprises of time filling goose chases from one plot point to another. It doesn’t register and neither does Brosnan’s villain who goes from brutal to clumsy in direct reference to the title. I don’t think anyone ever expected this film to be a logical cryptic film, but that doesn’t mean you take the audience for a shallow ride!
Its really surprising to see a list of well know actors make a fool out of themselves here – Pierce Brosnan, who made sort of a comeback with last year’s very entertaining November Man (2014), seems to be totally lost as the non motivated clumsy antagonist. Its actually hilarious to see as he consistently acts as if he believes what he’s saying, even if he’s the only one who knows it’s all totally unbelievable! Milla Jovovich is a decent actress & good action star, but much of her role involves reacting to situations with close ups of shock/surprise. Please get back to the Resident Evil franchise, we love you as Alice! Not some lucky dumb person running around & evading literally every law enforcement with coincidences. It seems the director left her no other choice, trying to make her character a little more less bi-dimensional? Whatever she does, it doesn’t really work: she’s unable to build a credible protagonist with this writing material. Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett & James D’Arcy are wasted! Its a sad experience when you walk into a film with certain expectations, only to be let down by poor execution, lazy scripting and wooden performances. On the whole, ‘Survivor’ is a perfect example of how the presence of known faces isn’t the only recipe of making a good movie! Did I mention the film is downright racist! One hell of disappointment from director James McTeigue!
Director – James McTeigue
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 96 minutes