September 4, 2011

Movie Review: Colombiana

Action movies are a dime a dozen and sometimes I find it odd that people don't get as aggravated about them as they do some other genres. Not that I am complaining, mind you, but you will more often find people complaining of the latest romcom than the latest actioner. In any case, Colombiana is nothing you haven't seen before, so if you demand freshness and originality in your action fare, this is not going to be for you. On the other hand if you are more of an action junkie and like having a good time at the movies, this may just be the movie for you.

The story opens in the late 1980's in Colombia. Two men are having a conversation and it looks like one is going out on his own, but there is also a double-cross in the works. Isn't that how all of these things go? Anyway, one guy leaves and rushes home, he needs to get out quick for some reason, but he is not fast enough. His young daughter, Catalya (played as an adult by Zoe Saldana), witnesses this. This sort of thing leaves a mark, as evidenced by her choices as she gets the heck out of dodge and heads for America.

In America, Catalya meets up with her uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis). He reluctantly complies with her wishes to become a killer. I am sure you can see where this is going, there is a very specific reason why she wants to be a killer. That's right, revenge. There is nothing particularly special or original about the plot. It is a straightforward affair that never deviates from the formula.

Catalya goes on jobs and kills whoever she has been hired to, but then she does something to the body, she draws a flower in lipstick in an attempt to draw out her parents killers. This leads to the final act where she finds them and takes the fight to them. There is also a subplot where Catalya has a boyfriend, an artist named Danny (Michael Vartan), who has no idea what she does or who she really is. It's presence seems to serve only one purpose, humanize our hero killer.

This is such a non-event film that you are either going to get into it or not. Yes, I realize how pointless a statement like that is, but so goes Colombiana. It is not a terrible movie, so the worst reaction I would expect is that you simply don't care about it.

I like the film, and that enjoyment can be traced in to different directions. On the screen you can look to Zoe Saldana's performance. She is not a great crier, but she bring s some raw emotion and a rein intensity to the role, in a few ways I was reminded of Jennifer Garner on Alias. Saldana is a vision on the screen and does a fine job of anchoring the story and giving us someone to identify with.

Off the screen you can first look to Olivier Megaton's (got to love that name for an action director) direction. He may not be a great director, but he does stage action well and keeps things moving. He seems to be well aware of the B-movie stature of the project and goes with it. Another plus is Luc Besson on as writer and producer. Sure, his better days appear to he in the past, where he was making films like La Femme Nikita, The Professional, and Fifth Element. Still, his Euroaction factory continues to turn out stylish and action packed films like this, Taken, and Kiss of the Dragon.

Is Colombiana a great movie? Certainly not. It does deliver some good action and a modestly compelling lead performance. It is worth the time if you like action films.


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