Colombiana had been sitting on my iPad for a couple of weeks, mostly because I had passed it over for some other poor choices (The Sitter, The Darkest Hour), but also because I didn’t feel compelled to make time to watch it. The trailers for the film portray it as incredibly straight forward – a revenge movie with a female lead and lots of action sans the stylistic sophistication or the twists and turns of a Kill Bill. The movie though does feature Zoe Saldana, whose work – specifically in Drumline, Star Trek, and Avatar – I have enjoyed. Yet, I have never really viewed her as someone who can carry a movie as the lead. While in the past this assertion may have been due to the lack of opportunity, having watched Colombiana I can say with a bit more certainty that my opinion stands.
In the film, Saldana's Cataleya watches her parents get slaughtered at the hands of a nefarious Columbia crime boss. Subsequently, she dedicates the rest of her life to exacting revenge on those responsible for rendering her an orphan. The execution of this plot – written by Luc Besson – is fairly vanilla so it often feels like director Olivier Megaton is constantly trying to over compensate weak storytelling with big fanfare. Subsequently you get a handful of big moments strung together by cheap filler. The end product is by no means an insult to one’s intelligence or an assault on the senses, but I also find myself at a loss when trying to find verbal bouquets to toss at the film. I can for sure say that after watching the movie, there were ten key takeaways that Besson and Megaton desperately wanted to impart on viewers through this film:
2. Zoe Saldana is an attractive woman.
3. Don’t have sharks as pets in your home, swimming beneath a glass floor.
4. Zoe Saldana is a very attractive woman.
5. Nothing good happens when people take pictures of you from their mobile phones and then send those pictures out on the web.
6. In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, Zoe Saldana is a very attractive woman.
7. Michael Vartan – or as he is most commonly known: the dude in Alias or that guy in that Drew Barrymore movie (Never BeenKissed) - still has absolutely no charisma.
8. In case you might have forgotten, Zoe Saldana is a very attractive woman.
9. The FBI is incompetent. The CIA is corrupt.
10. Zoe Saldana is a very attractive woman so be sure to see her in Star Trek 2.
Those ten points more or less sum up the experience that is Colombiana. So I cannot really recommend this movie, but at the same time I would not say that you should avoid it at all costs. If it happens to come across your path and you need to kill a couple of hours while exerting absolutely minimal effort then I think there is value here. There are worse things in the world to do than watch Zoe Saldana open up a can on a bunch of really bad men. After watching this, if you find yourself still in need a Zoe fix, look for her next in The Words starring opposite Bradley Cooper.