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Colombiana: Badass but Bland Revenge Flick

  • Callum BlueCliff Curtis...
  • Action & AdventureDrama
  • Out now
  • Olivier Megaton
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Colombiana: Badass but Bland Revenge Flick

Ten-year-old Cataleya’s (Saldana) parents are murdered right in front of
her by some Colombian gang members who are after a sim card full of important
information. She manages to escape with the sim card and make her way over to
her hit man uncle in Chicago with a burning desire to learn how to kill. She
grows up into a lethal assassin working with her uncle for money and privately
hunting down her parents’ killers for revenge. 

Columbiana’s number one obstacle was presenting Zoe Saldana as a
deadly killing machine instead of a prima ballerina. For the most part, her
stunts rely less on hand-to-hand combat and more on guns and acrobatics, where she
does a lot of jumping in and out of air vents and scaling buildings. These
gymnastic situations are believable for an action hero with her figure.

However, during the final showdown, Cataleya more than holds her own in
a fist fight with the guy that killed her parents and honestly, this scene
wasn’t believable in the slightest, even for an action film. It was also barely
coherent due to the rapid editing style that cuts before you can actually get a
glimpse of what’s happening. The other action scenes were much more interesting
with the standout being the gang of killers chasing after her to get the sim
card in her possession. This chase incorporated parkour elements and was shot
in a way that showcased the awesome jumps. 

Saldana, despite her figure, is quite convincing as a distraught, tough-as-nails
woman yet she does lack the sadistic streak that would make her character
capable of these killings. Nonetheless, it is immensely gratifying to see a
woman headlining an action film and kicking ass. In action films, women are
usually relegated to the girlfriend role, yet Columbiana flips the script here and sticks Vartan in as Cataleya’s
boyfriend, who pretty much only shows up for the sex scenes then waltzes off
screen. On the other hand, while Colombiana
pays lip service to feminism by including some very blatant ‘girl-power’ lines,
Saldana is also stuck in her underwear for half of the film and is repeatedly
filmed taking off her top. Talk about mixed messages.    

On paper, this film is cool: despite some very obvious plot holes, the
action sequences are fun. Still, all in all the film just doesn’t click; it
takes itself too seriously. The only funny scene involved Saldana acting very,
very drunk to get herself in a jail where one of the guys on her kill list is
incarcerated. It was a bright spot of fun in a film that doesn’t even
acknowledge its more ridiculous script and settings.  

Zoe Saldana’s charisma not withstanding, Colombiana is the female equivalent of a Jason Statham film, i.e.
badass but bland.

Like This? Try

Salt, The Losers, Hanna

360 Tip

Hired killings are not a strange subject matter for writer Luc Besson. The French director also has the Transporter trilogy, Leon and Le Femme Nikita to his writing and directing credits.

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