The only semblance of fun in James McTeigue’s Survivor comes from watching respectable actors deliver terrible lines of dialogue, looking to see whether they are cringing as they perform.
It’s laugh-out-loud awful, and that Pierce Brosnan, Milla Jovovich, Dylan McDermott, and Angela Bassett feature in this melodramatic action adventure makes you think they all did something terribly wrong. A ludicrous plot finds a savvy upstart immigration officer (Jovovich) transfer from the United States to London, where she is soon framed for murder while on the trail of rogue scientists being used for terrorism. She is also being pursued by one of the world’s deadliest assassins (Brosnan).
The audience becomes aware that he is one of the world’s deadliest assassins because a character tells us flat out that this is the case, somewhere around the halfway point of the movie. Of course we don’t know what he’s look like because, ‘he’s had so much reconstructive surgery.’ It’s this kind of putrid dialogue, paired with an absurd story that somehow suddenly culminates in New York City on New Year’s Eve that make Survivor teeter between utterly unwatchable and entertainingly, idiotically bad.
The title is derived from the fact that Jovovich’s character is the only one of her crew alive after they were targeted for a bomb; somehow this assassin isn’t that great. McDermott champions the woman he hired, while Basset is sure she is a criminal – because everyone here is at best a cookie-cutter character.
Not for a second does anything take place in the actual real world, yet somehow, the film plods along to a predictable finish, without fanfare. Survivor seems to be some sort of cheerleader for those who protect the U.S. homeland while written by a committee of school children who just got a visit by the President. A note at the end reference references September 11th.
‘Lest we forget,’ doesn’t exactly apply to this film.