Movie Review: “Colombiana”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, August 26, 2011 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Summary: When Cataleya was a nine-year-old in Bogotá, Colombia, her mother and father were brutally murdered.  As an adult, Cataleya (like the flower Catalina, as the movie points out several times) is seeking revenge and will kill, kill, kill at any cost.

Review: Critically, Zoe Saldana has had a nearly flawless movie career (Star Trek, Avatar). Even when she’s been in duds (Death at a Funeral, Losers), her characters were supporting roles, so no one bashed her films as a “Zoe Saldana movie.”  Well, now the time has come—it happens in every movie star’s career—when a potential hit morphs into a critical, and possibly commercial, failure. Who knows if the flick will be a box office bomb and, as we all know, critics rarely make or break a movie.  But after opening weekend, Colombiana will more than likely be buried in the shallow grave of other femme fatale action duds like Aeon Flux, Catwoman and Elektra.

A woman or man seeking revenge is no earth-shattering plot. However, the storyline never gets old as long as you have jaw-dropping action, wild fighting scenes and a person skillfully on the run. Angelina Jolie’s Salt is a great example; the Phillip Noyce film was a non-stop ride, short on dialogue and quick on action.  Colombiana is no Salt.

Directed by Olivier Megaton, from the start, the flick takes itself too seriously.  A nine-year-old saying, “I want to be a killer.” Cataleya’s conflict with her family is over-the-top, channeling campy telenovelas.  To add a special touch, Saldana drew Catalina flowers on her victims.

When Cataleya finally got her dukes up the film sailed, but those moments are short-lived. Miss Cat spends more time slipping in and out of building vents versus kicking the butts of the evil men who were trying to take her down. Once we had Catwoman, now we have Ventwoman!

In every action film there is a heavy helping of implausibility, but Colombiana frames Cataleya as “the Bionic Woman meets the X-Men.” She can be at multiple places at one time, appeared to be psychic because she always knew the location of prey and her ability to leap and scale buildings was uncanny.

Zoe Saldana is giving it the best that she’s got as the depressed Cataleya.  The Jersey native delivers the tears and cold stares, but it isn’t the actress at her best. Her thought bubble appeared to say, “I hope this works!” No worries, Zoe has been in the business for over a decade, one bad flick won’t ruin her career.

Like many of you, I was excited to see a Black Latina sister whipping her guns back and forth but, with cheesy dialogue, anti-climactic action and over-the-top implausibility, Colombiana kills itself half-way through.

Colombiana is in theaters today.

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