Film

Muddled Thriller Survivor Pits Jovovich vs. Bronson vs. Boredom

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There may be nothing less exciting than the intrigue of international visa authorizations, and yet that lame narrative focus is only one of many reasons Survivor is an espionage fiasco.

Former Wachowskis protégé James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) handles both action and interpersonal drama with equal gracelessness throughout his story about a U.S. intelligence operative (Milla Jovovich) stationed in London who stumbles upon a conspiracy involving scientists trying to sneak into America, and then finds herself framed for all sorts of terrorist crimes.

Intent on blowing up people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and determined to kill Jovovich’s spy at all costs, the shadowy bad guys employ a dapper assassin who’s known as The Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan) because, when not crafting bombs, he builds watches. That lack of subtlety is par for Survivor’s course, given its raft of blunt and/or pointless scenes, conversations in which lines of dialogue don’t match, and plot developments and character relations that change at random.

The overarching sense is of a thriller awkwardly stitched together in the editing room, and still failing to fix its many flaws — not least of which is the fact that Jovovich, an actress with considerable action-cinema credentials, is reduced to merely looking harried while fleeing pursuers like the CIA’s biggest scaredy-cat.