Review: ‘The Survivors’

An aimless, unfocused social comedy, The Survivors misfires on just about every level, finding what laughs it has to offer solely in the personal performing talents of Walter Matthau and Robin Williams.

An aimless, unfocused social comedy, The Survivors misfires on just about every level, finding what laughs it has to offer solely in the personal performing talents of Walter Matthau and Robin Williams.

Exec Williams and gas station owner Matthau both become unemployed at the outset, and through a bizarre coincidence are thrown together as intended victims of professional hitman Jerry Reed.

Confronted with the threat of another attack by Reed, Williams becomes a maniacal gun enthusiast and joins a survival training unit run in the snowy mountains by James Wainwright.

It feels as though the script, such as it was, was tossed out the window once action moves to the New Hampshire compound. All of Williams’ dialog from this point on sounds like lifts from crazed comic monologs he might deliver onstage. Matthau at least makes things watchable thanks to his masterful comic timing.

The Survivors

Production

Delphi/Rastar. Director Michael Ritchie; Producer William Sackheim; Screenplay Michael Leeson; Camera Billy Williams; Editor Richard A. Harris; Music Paul Chihara; Art Director Gene Callahan

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Walter Matthau Robin Williams Jerry Reed James Wainwright Kristen Vigard Annie McEnroe
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