COLOMBIANA Review

"Colombiana" is a strict action film that never climbs above the cliched. Trying way to hard to solidify star Zoe Saldana as a leading lady of action, this revenge tale is one we have seen many times over with few things to differ it from those previous incarnations of the tale. "Colombiana" has it all: drug lords, shoot-outs, weapons, but what it is missing is that x-factor. Saldana is not enough to keep the rehashed story and dry action sequences afloat. The only thing that allows this briskly paced action flick to be an entertaining watch is in fact that: the brisk pace. As beautiful as Saldana is to look at and I won't deny that she carries a certain sort of charisma, still, the "Star Trek" and "Avatar" actress has never given me the impression she could carry a feature on her narrow shoulders, no matter how muscular she has sculpted them to be. I don't mean to sound overly negative in reference to this late summer film that probably doesn't have much critical aspirations in the first place, but just because her resume says she has the potential to be a star doesn't mean the poor girl can make even the most recycled story a hit. C'mon Saldana, if you're as good as they're saying let's find a script that actually shows it.
Young Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) has one
final talk with her father. 
In all honesty, I had no intentions to see "Colombiana" but after seeing a clip of the opening sequence featuring the younger version of Saldana's character, Cataleya as played by Amandla Stenberg (who will next be seen in the adaptation of "The Hunger Games") I was a bit more intrigued. The idea, though no longer original after Chloe Moretz's Hit Girl left too great an impression in last years "Kick-Ass" was still entertaining. It showed a young girl in an impressive parkour chase through the crowded streets of Columbia as she ran for her life after witnessing the death of her parents. It did indeed leave an impression that, while not as shocking as the aforementioned films, still peaked my interest enough that I thought it worth a Sunday afternoon show. Turns out (of course) that is probably the best sequence of the film. There is a pretty sweet prison break-in featuring Saldana as the character but after that each action scene seems to slowly grow more and more lazy and more ridiculous. This is really the only thing going for the film also, so when they start to slip we start to realize how lackluster the rest of the script is. The bad guys are so typical and foreign. The way in which the movie becomes as much FBI chase as it does quest for revenge gets out of hand quick. There are only so many extravagant coincidences we can buy until we start to laugh at the movie for all the wrong reasons.

Zoe Saldana attempts to keep her action resume
strong with this leading role in "Colombiana".
If you want to watch a true, original action film where you actually feel some effort was put into the story and you don't feel as if you are watching a mash up of every other revenge movie ever made then wait until next week and buy "Hanna". Seriously, coming out of "Colombiana" I am actually feeling a little swindled. I really thought my expectations might have been wrong. I mean, I enjoy "The Transporter" series and Oliver Megaton, the guy at the helm of the third entry in that series was in charge here and though he brings some of that energy to that opening sequence and in some ways to that inevitable final showdown between Cataleya and the goons who murdered her parents, he otherwise reduces himself to copying how every other action film has been shot in the last few years. The remainder of the film is filled to the brim with unnecessary subplots concerning our protagonists love life that is supposed to show us how much she really just wants to be a normal human being. A regular member of society. Sorry dear, you are starring in an action film, and one where you are supposed to be seeking revenge. Don't you know that is all you should be thinking about? I say that sarcastically of course, though "Colombiana" makes strides to add some depth to Saldana's character it is so much in the form of cliff notes that, as I said, it feels more unnecessary than anything else. We also have the guy in the police dept. who is close on her heels and Cataleya's only remaining family that has foolishly kept her in the business of killing.

"Hey, didn't I play this same role in Bad Boys II?"
There truly isn't much more to say about a film you have seen before. All one would have to do is substitute Saldana for "The Punisher" and you have "Colombiana" minus the whole skull t-shirt. Why Luc Besson, the guy who directed his breakout hit "La Femme Nikita" over fifteen years now thinks he can still write junk like this and get away with keeping the reputation as the guy who made "The Fifth Element" and produced "Taken" is a mystery to me. If anything, what "Colombiana" teaches us is that no matter how stylized the violence and no matter how gorgeous the star, there is nothing that substitutes for a good idea. If you are going to make a balls to the wall action flick then you need that one element that separates it from every other action film out there. Whether that be the attitude, the character that is your leading man or lady or a plot device that throws a wrench into the standard formula. "Colombiana" has neither of these and thus will be reduced to nothing more than a quick home video release and a small, insignificant mark on Saldana's resume between the "Star Trek" and "Avatar" sequels. I think I'm gonna go watch "The Losers" now, that will surely look like action gold compared to this only sometimes amusing nonsense.