Despite its familiar plot, director James McTeigue’s Survivor is an excellent thriller – thanks to its fast pace and a chilling performance from Pierce Brosnan.
From a screenplay by Philip Shelby (the upcoming Mechanic: Resurrection), Survivor sees Brosnan joined by a stellar cast including Milla Jovovich, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, and Robert Forster.
The film kicks-off with a failed mission in the mountains of Afghanistan that leaves two American soldiers taken prisoner. It then jumps several months to London where Kate Abbott (Jovovich) is trying to settle into her new job at the American Embassy. Abbott is responsible for reviewing visa applications for possible terrorist threats, and she quickly stumbles onto a big one.
Abbott’s investigation into a questionable visa application makes her a target of a hired assassin known as “The Watchmaker” (Brosnan) – who blows up a restaurant just to take out Jovovich. To make matters worse, Abbott is forced to go on the run after London authorities and her own government name her as the main suspect in the restaurant bombing.
On the run from the authorities and hunted by The Watchmaker, Abbott is racing to discover the terrorist threat against New York City and stop it.
Survivor rises above its familiar plot thanks to its strong performances from Jovovich and Brosnan, and McTeigue’s ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seat through great action sequences. As soon as the bombing happens, the film is on a fast-moving clock with Jovovich scrambling to survive and Brosnan showing he doesn’t care about the body count he racks up while trying to kill Abbott.
Both actors do an incredible job in their roles with Jovovich making Abbott almost like a female Jack Ryan. She has a great backstory and it would be interesting to see the character break off into her own franchise for the talented star.
Brosnan is excellent as The Watchmaker and makes him a true threat despite only having a few lines in the film. He is a gun for hire, and isn’t above killing anyone who is in the way of his paycheck.
McTeigue (The Raven, Ninja Assassin and V for Vendetta) gives the film a slick look and makes the most of the it’s big action sequences. The talented director keeps the pace moving fast to add to the audience’s tension and the grand scale threat of the upcoming terrorist attack.
On Blu-ray the film looks and sounds incredible. It also comes with some deleted scenes and an “making of” – showing the work that went into bringing the story to the screen.
While Survivor does have some problems and is a tad familiar to fans of this genre, the film manages to keep the audience hooked thanks to its blend of action and suspense.