HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:68
The spy/thriller genre has been a tried and true formula for many a decade. The thrill of getting in over your head and having to navigate the tricky balance between keeping your cover and evading evil hitmen or un knowing heroes who have the wrong idea about your innocence. Especially when we have Pierce Brosnan, who is very adept at the spy genre being that he WAS Bond for so many years, and Milla Jovovich who is an exceptional female action hero. “Survivor” does its best at mixing in the tried and true “run for your life” sub-genre, as well as trying to mix in some true to life terrorist scenarios that have come to light ever since the 9/11 tragedy. This seems like a recipe for success, but unfortunately a very Blaise and paint by the numbers script keeps the film from rising above anything other than blatantly predictable.
The setting is London, the time is now. We’re in a post 9/11 world where everyone is under scrutiny as they immigrate or travel anywhere. Kate Abbott (Milla Jovovich) is a foreign services officer in jolly old London, helping to weed out the people who want to come to the U.S. for less than desirable motives. Things take a turn for the worse when Kate notices some discrepancies in her boss’s, Bill Talbot (Robert Forster), files. Certain people have been allowed passports who would have set off red flags in Kate’s eyes. Digging deeper she becomes more and more suspicious, until an explosion is set off, killing everyone who had an attachment to the 5 passports. All except for Kate, who was at the wrong place at the right time. Now under suspect by the British government for the bombing, AND being hunted by a ruthless assassin code named “the watchmaker” (Pierce Brosnan), Kate has to run to keep ahead of her pursuers and find out WHY those passports were issued and what plans those nefarious people are up to.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=47594[/img]“Survivor” is an entertaining little thriller, but it fails to really set itself apart from all the other thrillers around it. The plot is the weak point here, with a very paint by the numbers feel to it. We have the heroine who gets fingered for a crime she didn’t commit, and then has to run for her life and exonerate herself. We have the evil assassin who comes after her, and the ignoramus boss who doesn’t listen to reason but is more than willing to just write her off as the actual villain, even though their JOB is to investigate matters. Then by the time the ending is there you already have it figured out and the ending is no real surprise. With that being said, the movie still entertains. Milla Jovovich is always great in these action roles, and does a good job with the limited role that she was given. Pierce Brosnan doesn’t really do anything but look intimidating and point guns at people, but he also wasn’t given much to work with. He really doesn’t even speak a whole lot of the time, so you can’t complain too much. Dylan McDermott is really the only other character who’s given a bit of character arc besides Milla, and he does it quite well, as the standard, brooding head of security.
The film runs the line between bigger budget theatrical movie and direct to video entry. “Survivor” was given a limited theatrical release, so it can’t be considered a DTV project, but it also is very clearly not a big budget blockbuster. As with my score for the film, it hovers right in the middle with some very good points given to it, but also some rather negative points to tally up.
Rated PG-13 for violence, some action and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=47602[/img]“Suvivor” comes to Blu-ray with a very nice looking 1080p transfer. The picture is very natural looking and isn’t wildly color graded. The colors are decently saturated, although they did pull out some of the primaries a bit and gave it a light grey look. This gray tinge sometimes affects the black levels, which while very nice for a majority of the film, look a little washed out sometimes. Fine detail is solid throughout, showing every fiber on Milla’s jacket, down to the lines on Pierce Brosnan’s aging face (I’m still flabbergasted that it’s been nearly 15 years since he was bond). I noticed something really weird, and it’s something I noticed in the “Resident Evil” movies ever since the 3rd movie. Milla Jovovich’s faces looks unnaturally “glossy” if you know what I mean. Kind of like they digitally smoothed her face to avoid us seeing any wrinkles or lines. I really wonder if it’s something she specifically asks for in her contract or something, since I’ve seen this several times on her movies. Overall it’s a very solid transfer, and with only a few minor flaws left me feeling very satisfied with the results.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=47610[/img]While it states on the back of the box AND in the disc menu that “Survivor” comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, it’s actually a Dolby Digital 448 kbps 5.1 track, which is rather disappointing, especially considering that this is the stereotypical “action” soundtrack with lots of guns, explosions and crash boom bang scenarios. The resulting DVD quality audio isn’t bad by any mean, as it really is rather bombastic and full of life. It’s just that it isn’t as full or as dynamic as I would have hoped. The explosions are solid and add some nice oomph to the low end and the dialog is about as clean as you could hope for. The surrounds are used extensively throughout and really liven up the soundstage with the constant running and shooting at things with bullets flying overhead and to the side. The 5.1 experience is quite good, just hampered by its lossy encoding from becoming what it COULD have been.
• Making of "Survivor"
• Deleted Scenes
“Survivor” is a solidly directed and acted spy/thriller movie that really suffers from a rather cookie cutter script. I enjoy Milla Jovovich very much and Pierce Brosnan is always entertaining to watch. If they had been able to mix it up a bit more and not keep it from feeling as if it was completely by the numbers I would have enjoyed it a good bit more. The video is very solid, and the audio is quite satisfactory (especially considering the lossy encoding), and I really rather enjoyed the movie, even if it felt like a onetime watch. A decent rental if you like the action/spy genre.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: Philip Shelby
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 97 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 23rd 2015
Buy Survivor On Blu-ray at Amazon
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