Survivor (Blu-ray Review)

SurvivorA Foreign Service Officer (Milla Jovovich) newly posted to the American embassy in London is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the US. After surviving a vicious attack on the embassy, she finds herself framed for crimes she didn’t commit and racing to elude assassins while trying to clear her name and stop a large-scale terrorist attack set for New Year’s Eve. SURVIVOR is directed by James McTeigueand also stars Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett and Robert Forster. 



Kate Abbot (Milla Jovovich) is a Foreign Service Officer working for the U.S. Embassy in England. She is pretty much on passport and visa duty scanning them to make sure there is no repeat of 9/11. Upon flagging a questionable visa she is told by her superiors to let it go due to the person being flagged having connections and because it will cause a bevy of other problems up the chain of command. I guess no one likes filing paperwork here it seems.

Well, by causing up a stink she has made herself a target, because someone at the Embassy is a mole and has filed her name for termination. Enter Pierce Brosnan – hit man extraordinaire. Nash (Brosnan) is a man of few words but is expertly equipped to take down “helpless” targets like Kate. Unfortunately for Nash – Kate is not that easy of a target to get rid of. She’s very resourceful and keeps eluding him at every turn.

Survivor was helmed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) and it’s a nice little time-waster. It doesn’t seek to reinvent the wheel on these types of procedural spy and chase flicks. On its own Survivor is actually pretty fun and brisk in its running time. Milla runs around trying not get blown up and Pierce Brosnan chases her around, rinse and repeat. The supporting cast of characters including: Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, and Robert Forster lend the picture a bit of gravitas.

The film was made for about 20 million dollars and certain cities double for other major cities in order to keep costs down. It works for the most part. The special effects, digital and otherwise, are fine, but there are one or two scenes that involved explosions that no one seemed to have heard even though the only thing separating the noise from it was an alleyway. Yes, the fire department was en route and the stupid extras were walking slowly talking on their cell phones while a major character almost got blown to bits. I guess the continuity in terms of editing was screwy in a scene or two. I will also say that at first – the prologue to the film may be a bit confusing but once things get rolling – you’ll be able to piece it together without problems.

I figure McTeigue knocked this out in between his involvement on the new Netflix series SENSE8, which is fine. Survivor is a nice time waster and those involved do okay with the material they are given. I have seen worse out there.




Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Survivor comes to us in a crisp 2.40:1 widescreen presentation. With only a few hints at post-tweaking the film looks pretty spectacular. Contrast and sharpness levels are outstanding.

Depth: The film is supposed to take place in a cooler climate and you’re brought into that climate. Most scenes look very cool and overcast and everyone is bundled up to a point.

Black Levels: Black levels are strong, deep, and inky.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is a tad muted in parts but that’s to be expected since some parts of the film take place in London.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks good – just a few cuts and bruises here and there, on Milla.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and debris were not a problem here.




Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: I should clarify that although the box, slipcover, and even the onscreen menus say the film is in TrueHD 5.1 it really isn’t. Survivor is presented in a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps). Well, you could have fooled me since the audio codec is downright fantastic. It’s a very active track that unless you were going into it on the assumption that it was losses – you would never have known.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is nice and tight and handles explosions very well.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound field is also very active but does a great job of keeping its distance form the front section. Ambience and rear action are handled accordingly.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are crystal clear.



The extras are light on this Blu-ray release. We have a few minutes worth of deleted scenes and a short featurette that documents the making of the film. It’s pretty standard stuff.

  • Making of Survivor (HD)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD)




Survivor was actually much better than I thought it was going to be. You have a more than competent cast and director, so of course that would be fun. Sure, the plot is straight out of 24 but seeing Pierce being a badass hit man is worth the price of admission. In fact, now I have to go watch The November Man, so can continue with Pierce’s badassery. Survivor gets a mild recommendation.





Survivor is available on Blu-ray & DVD!








Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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