Survivor (2015)

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“Run Milla Run”

I have low standards for Milla Jovovich movies. If they exist, I am more or less okay with them, providing they contain a modicum of her kicking ass. She has gained enough goodwill from the Resident Evil series and Ultraviolet, that she gets some slack with regard to other projects. On that basis, when I say this is… alright, I suppose, those with less tolerance for Jovovich should probably take it as a warning. She plays security expert Kate Abbott, recently transferred to the US Embassy in London, where she detects a strange pattern of a co-worker taking over specific cases involving issuing visas to scientists. At a birthday dinner for said worker, while waiting for him to arrive, she pops out to get a present, thereby narrowly dodging a bomb blast that kills her colleagues. In the aftermath, she encounters the man responsible, an international assassin known as the Watchmaker (Brosnan), who has been engaged to cover up the tracks. Blamed for the explosion by the authorities, Kate is forced underground, and is left with the usual option in such cases: find the real perpetrator and ensure they don’t get to complete their nefarious plan to commit a terrorist attack in New York and profit from the ensuing financial instability.

survivorProbably the best thing about this is seeing a lot of London locations with which I’m deeply familiar, but when an action film’s most memorable moment is “Hey, we’ve seen movies in that cinema!”, it’s rarely a good sign. There is an awful lot of running around, Kate scurrying from one location to the next, with the Watchmaker, her embassy colleagues and British police in more or less hot pursuit. Though funnily, despite the frequent shots from security cameras, Kate doesn’t make the slightest effort to change her appearance. At least buy a frickin’ hoodie, for heavens sake: I can only presume the makers decided against this, because it would rob audiences of Milla’ finely-chiselled cheek-bones. Seems legit. The script is just as contrived in other areas, and if either US or UK authorities were half as competent as the Watchmaker appears to be, this would have been over in 15 minutes. Which might not be such a bad thing, and would certainly have saved us from a spectacularly contrived finale on top of a skyscraper near Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Do not expect copious amount of butt-kicking from Jovovich, either, though she does at least get plenty of aerobic exercise. A couple of quick fight scenes are about all there is, and don’t even expect gunplay, since as soon as she gets her hands on a gun (above), she dumps it into a trash-can. The only action moment to stick out the restaurant bomb-blast, which is quite hellacious in terms of impact, and frighteningly well-staged. Otherwise, there is little or nothing here we haven’t seen often before, and even given the low bar I have for Millamovies, this one struggles to meet expectations.

Dir: James McTeigue
Star: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, James D’Arcy

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