Movie review: Survivor - 'a case of style over substance'

Milla Jovovich in Survivor

Tanya Sweeney

Preventing yet more terrorist attacks this week is Milla Jovovich, though she is an entirely different, much less colourful beast to McCarthy.

Jovovich plays Kate Abbott, a foreign service officer in London attempting to prevent an attack set to hit New York.

Things move up a notch when Abbott is implicated in a restaurant bombing that she didn’t commit, forcing her to the front of a breakneck cat-and-mouse chase where she not only has to prove her innocence, but stop the terrorists, too.

Talk about a rough day at work. Alas, she has some pretty big obstacles in her way, including The Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan), the most deadly assassin around. Clearly he’s not that deadly, as he takes several shots at Kate throughout the movie and misses every time.

To be fair to Brosnan, he brings plenty of malevolence to the nefarious fixer, but he hasn’t much to work with.

Helmed by the director of V for Vendetta, Survivor has the makings of a decent cinematic romp. Jovovich, Brosnan, Dylan McDermott and Angela Bassett are all highly watchable actors… or at least they are in the right roles.

As a director, McTeigue appears to favour style over substance, but not fleshing out the characters becomes the film’s ultimate downfall.

We’re used to seeing Jovovich play kick-ass in her husband’s Resident Evil franchise, but it’s hard to care too much about her fate here, even with a barely-there 9/11-flavoured backstory lurking. The bombs, chases, gunfire and hi-jinks are plentiful, but there’s something weirdly soulless about it all that makes it seem much less explosive than it looks.

Survivor also boasts a very weird combination of qualities, being a film that’s at once a bit dumb and simple, yet hard enough to keep track of.  Ultimately, Survivor is not so much high-octane action as a slow fizzle.