I don’t really like judging action movies too hard. There are some that are actually excellent pieces of film making, but then there are others that can only be seen as popcorn entertainment. Colombiana belongs in the latter category. Although it tries to be something more than it actually is, I feel like everything in the movie is recycled and the pieces don’t always fit to form a perfectly clear bigger picture.
As a young girl, Cataleya (Zoe Saldana), sees her mother and father gunned down by men sent by Don Luis (Beto Benites), a powerful cartel boss. Sworn to avenge her parents, she is trained by her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) to become a powerful assassin. Now that Cataleya is older and more experienced, she finally targets Don Luis and tries pushing him out of his hiding spot so that she can attack. This may prove to be a more difficult task since Don Luis has a connection that he is willing to use in the CIA.
The best way I can describe Colombiana is that it’s a combination of Léon: The Professional and La Femme Nikita, both of which are Luc Besson films. Well, what do you know? Colombiana was written by Luc Besson. I have great respect for the guy. He has created many fantastic action films that are both fun and memorable, but this is a pretty lazy attempt when it comes to creativity. I haven’t just seen all of this before, I’ve seen it in movies of the same writer and they are completely recycled ideas.
Everything about this movie is pretty ho hum including the performances. Zoe Saldana is beautiful, but nothing really special, even though she definitely has the ability to be a believable leaden lady. Part of it has to do with the dialogue she was given to work with. Cliff Curtis has some dramatic scenes that are easy to get into and Jordi Mollá is more interesting than the main villain. None of these performances are what I would call bad, but the writing by Besson is surprisingly dry and cliché.
A point I will give the movie is that the action can be really cool. There’s one fight that happens in a bathroom that abandons all filmic style and tries to play as real as possible. The choreography isn’t overly stylized, like a lot of the gun play in the movie, but actually looks like a fight of this kind would look like. The stylized violence can be pretty fun, with a surprising scene involving a rocket launcher being a high light for me. I feel that maybe Besson and directer Olivier Megaton both really just wanted to make a really cool looking action movie and didn’t really think worrying about the script would be too much of a concern.
I can’t recommend Colombiana. It has its moments of fun, but the rest of the movie is a stereotypical mess. I didn’t care about the villain or Cataleya’s main mission. All I really wanted was to see the next cool action sequence. Quiet moments of dialogue that were used to create drama turned out to not be dramatic at all and even stale some of the performances. Zoe Saldana is beautiful and some of the action scenes are really cool, but there are much better action movies out there to watch than Colombiana.