Sunday 31 May 2015

Survivor .. You can't survive this

SURVIVOR starts off with a bang and ends with a whimper. The reasoning and motivation of some of the characters will make you scratch your head. You'll wonder how the heck the protagonist gets away with some of the absurdities in director James McTeigue's film.
    The final third of the film is also beyond conclusion. Even a novice film fan will know what will happen.
   Milla Jovovich, of Resident Evil fame, plays US Foreign Service officer Kate Abbott at the US embassy in London. She once single-handedly stopped a bomb plot but her job now is to vet visa applicants to the US.
   Very little is known of her, except that her parents are dead, and according to her superior, she has "good instincts". You'd want to vouch for her, too, if she looked as dazzlingly gorgeous as Jovovich.
    Her persistent questioning of Romanian Dr Emil Balan's (Roger Rees) desire to attend a medical conference in the US gets her into trouble with the UK diplomatic service, with US ambassador  (Angela Bassett) keen on Kate's boss, Sam (Dylan McDermott), to control her. Even handsome and well-coiffed London police officer Paul Anderson (James D'Arcy) is pissed at her.
   Balan employs an assassin, called the Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan), supposedly because he likes to tinker with watches, to get rid of Kate. The Watchmaker likes to poke people in their ears.
    Now, this guy is a professional, whom we presume likes to do things under the radar. But his method of madness in wanting to get rid of not only Kate but her four colleagues in a restaurant bomb blast smacks of lunacy. Why would he want to attract so much attention to himself? Naturally, Kate escapes unscathed, except for some minor scratches.
    The Watchmaker, another take on elderly white men showing their mettle, spots Kate and goes after her, but through the goodness of the script, she escapes again.
  She heads for a park, where she bumps into her older colleague Bill (Robert Forster). Bill attempts to kill her, but again she escapes, but not before a gaggle of people with smartphones captures images of her for posterity.
    You can see what I'm getting at here. She walks around in a daze and is chased by her US colleagues, London police and the Watchmaker, but escapes unruffled. No one's certain of her innocence, not even the US ambassador.
    Film convention dictates that she at least attempts to disguise herself with a cap or sunglasses or even change her clothes. But she does nothing of that sort. She brazenly walks around London with her pretty face held up high for all to see.
   Balan's motivation for wanting to get into the US to exact revenge on Americans is risible. We find out that a visa snafu had led to his wife's death, so he wants to blow up a million people to kingdom come just because of that.
   Bill's motivation is even more laughable. At the start of the film, we see Taliban rebels in Afghanistan capturing two US invading troops and burning one of them. This provokes indignation and anger in viewers but the director forgets to mention that it was the US that invaded the poor country.
  I don't believe that the rebels can so easily use the Internet to find out the identity of one of the captured soldiers. It turns out that of the soldier's father is Bill, so he's a lackey for unseen tormentors.
  Kate keeps getting into dangerous situations throughout her day in London. She should have met her good friend in a secluded place but instead, she meets her in a transport terminal, which draws even more people to it.
   Although Jovovich's acting is minimal and laughable, and the plot is full of holes, one can't help but admire her guts and the fact that she's luckier than Rambo. 
  She's a good role model to women because she survives on her athleticism when running with high heels and the fact that she can survive bad dialogue and unimaginable scenes.
2 out of 5 stars

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