• Survivor

    Released By: Alchemy
    Released On: June 23, 2015
    Director: James McTeigue
    Cast:Pierce Brosnan, Milla Jovovich, James D'Arcy, Dylan McDermott, Emma Thompson, Robert Forster
    Year: 2015

    The Film:

    When a US Patrol in Kandahar goes horribly wrong, one of the soldiers is doused in gasoline and set on fire. The slightly more fortunate soldier is spared only because his name pops up on a list of people who can be used to leverage high-ranking officials to further the goals of the terrorists. Meanwhile, in London, England, Immigration officials at the US Embassy have determined that they may have a problem on their hands; for some reason, a number of scientists have been slipping through the screening process for Visa applications to the US. In an effort to tighten things up, they bring in Kate Abbott (Milla Jovovich), a State Department expert in screening Visa applicants. Kate takes her job very seriously, due to the personal losses she incurred during 9/11, and she wastes no time cracking down on Brits heading stateside.

    Kate gets her first taste of corrupt British bureaucracy when she aggressively screens Dr. Emil Balan...a scientist known for his expertise in gasses...when he applies for a Visa to attend a pediatric conference in New York City. Her boss, Bill Talbot (Robert Forster) angrily shuts her inquest down, and her subsequent visit to Balan's workplace to verify his authenticity raises the ire of some very powerful politicians. Content to carry on with business as usual, Kate attends a birthday celebration for Bill at an upscale restaurant, and narrowly avoids being blown to itty-bitty pieces when she volunteers to pick up Bill's gift from a nearby store. Stumbling to the scene of the blast, she again barely escapes death at the hands of "The Watchmaker" (Pierce Brosnan) a proficient bomb-maker and assassin, and then manages to turn the tables on another assassination attempt; this one at the hands of her own supervisor. Unfortunately for Kate, the death of her supervisor is caught on film, painting her as the one responsible for all of the carnage.

    With nowhere to go, and on the run from both her employers and The Watchmaker, Kate finds herself looking for answers at Talbot's apartment. What she uncovers is a terrorist plot against the City of New York, and proof of blackmail and extortion that has infiltrated the Embassy. And with very few people willing to help her, Kate may not be able to stop thousands of people from dying as the ball drops on New Years Eve in Times Square.

    With a somewhat impressive budget, solid cast, and flashy, action-packed aesthetic, Survivor appears on the surface to hit all of the markers required to make a great international espionage thriller. Guns, bombs, terrorists, attractive heroine, sinister villains...this one has the right ingredients. But what's going on beneath the surface? Nothing at all. Survivor is formulaic action drivel in fancy dress, aspiring to be on par with, say, the Bourne films. But there is really nothing to see here. Every cliche in the book; government agent turned suspect, terrorists, multi-national settings, it's really just 100 minutes of Milla Jovovich's character being chased, chased, chased here, there, everywher, narrowly avoiding this, that, and the other. You'll need two hands and your feet to count the narrow escapes that happen in the film. Of course, nobody believes the few people that trust her, but at least one of those people can shut off cameras and open doors and divert threats long enough to help her uncover the already obvious clues and narrowly escape again.

    Computers make bleeping sounds, and blooping sounds, and a highly intrusive score ejaculates over every scene to make sure that you KNOW there is danger here, but the manufactured faux tension does nothing to alleviate the massive leaps of faith required to jump the plot holes in the film. Barely working even as mindless entertainment, Survivor is a great example of a flashy package with no substance whatsoever.


    As mentioned, Survivor does look great. The 2.40:1 transfer looks fantastic, in fact, though it does have that bluish tint that seems to be required when making a modern film with any kind of action. Still, black levels are good, detail is sharp, and the picture is all around crisp with no visual issues to be seen. Though the case does state that the audio track is Dolby TrueHD 5.1, it is, in fact, a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Still, there are no complaints here as far as the audio goes, as dialogue and effects are clear and nicely balanced, with heavy use of the surrounds and sub...especially for that non-stop intrusive score.

    A Featurette (5:25) provides a brief look at the genesis and making of the film with participation from the actors and crew.

    There are five Deleted Scenes (10:39) that are accessible as a play all, or individually.

    A Trailer for the film and Preview Roll for other Alchemy titles is also included.

    The Final Word:

    Move along, folks. If it's mindless entertainment you crave, there are much better options. If you're looking for edge-of-your-seat thrills, you won't find them here. And if you've just got a thing for Milla, go back and watch her stomp the infected in the Resident Evil films. Survivor doesn't have what you're looking for.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!