For more than a decade, nothing has screamed “B-movie” louder than seeing Milla Jovovich’s name in a movie’s credits.
But even in the worst of those “Resident Evil” action pictures, the model-thin Jovovich delivered fair value, packing a lot of punch for one so slight of build and a lot of intensity into roles that sometimes seemed thankless.
“Survivor” is what happens when you give her a “name” director — James McTeigue of “V for Vendetta” — and surround her with A-listers, or former A-listers.
Jovovich plays Kate, the security chief for the U.S. embassy in London, a woman on the lookout for terrorists trying to passport their way into the U.S. Robert Forster’s her boss, a little too quick to allow the occasional iffy scientist (Roger Rees) through passport control.
And Angela Bassett’s the ambassador, the one who loses her temper if the wrong British feathers are ruffled in the name of “security.”
Kate gets too close to something big, people die, and even though her immediate supervisor (Dylan McDermott) has her back, the Brits and the CIA are after her.
“What am I now? A suspect? A target?”
Both, thanks to the assassin hired by terrorists to “make sure she doesn’t survive.” He is code named The Watchmaker, a talented bomber, sniper and all around killer, and he is played with ice and verve by Pierce Brosnan.
Thrillers like this have gone lazy in recent years, always giving the heroes and heroines “particular skills.” It’s always a more thrilling hunt if the quarry isn’t some Liam Neeson/Bruce Willis/Jason Statham superman. Jovovich’s Kate has some spycraft, but she isn’t wiping out legions of bad guys with “I’m coming to GET you” on her lips. Every time she tangles with The Watchmaker, she’s lucky to get out alive.
So “Survivor,” predictable, short and shallow ticking clock thriller that it is, is more “Three Days of the Condor” than “Taken.” And thanks to its stars, it’s more engrossing and fun than it has any right to be.
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, Roger Rees, Frances de la Tour
Credits: Directed by James McTeigue, script by Philip Shelby. An Alchyemy release.
Running time: 1:36