A stone-cold, but sexy performance by Zoe Saldana makes what would be a C-plotline into a fun, late-summer action flick. Writer, producer Luc Besson combines the better of his two worlds from “La Femme Nikita” and “Taken” and creates the incredibly simplistic (in a good way) plot that is “Colombiana.”
Zoe Saldana plays Cataleya, who as a child witnessed the murder of both her parents by drug lords in Colombia. She luckily escapes and finds her way to America, where her badass street criminal uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis), raises her. From that point on, Cataleya has one mission and one mission only: kill the people who murdered her parents. When Young Cataleya, played by stunning newcomer Amandla Stenberg, states to her uncle, “I want to be a killer,” anyone’s initial reaction should be “Well that’s not normal.” Her uncle just embraces it, emphasizing that while school is important, he will still teach her the ropes of being an assassin. A hit man for her uncle by day and seeking vengeance by night, Cataleya becomes an assassin you want to root for.
Director Olivier Megaton (“Transporter 3”) delivers some exciting action scenes and creates a number of complicated set pieces. One of which has young Cataleya being chased through the streets of Bogota by her parent’s murderers; the other where Cataleya sneaks around a jailhouse to kill her target without drawing attention to herself. Although these scenes are very complicated, they come across as smooth and well done. One thing that holds this movie back is its PG-13 rating. Considering all the blood and a near-nude Saldana, it doesn’t make sense as to why the filmmakers didn’t go all out with an R-rating.
There is an out-of-place ‘romance’ thrown into the story in the shape of a very stoic Michael Vartan, who plays an artist and Cataleya’s purely physical love interest. In an undeveloped romance, Vartan doesn’t make for a strong presence in the film, but that’s probably not the actor’s fault.
Cataleya is a cross between femme fatales Catwoman and The Bride in “Kill Bill,” and has the psychological personality of “Dexter.” She’ll even threaten a righteous man’s family just to get what she wants. Saldana’s convincing portrayal of the assassin is clear when she states, “I don’t bluff.” In a film such as this, the major factor is who plays the lead and Zoe Saldana doesn’t disappoint. Her physical performance alone makes the film notable and a treat for those moviegoers who enjoy tough girls.
Side note: For those who enjoy badass chicks, I would also recommend “Kill Bill” (Uma Thurman as The Bride), “Charlie’s Angels” (Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore as the Angels) and “Underworld” (Kate Beckinsale as Selene).