Review: COLOMBIANA (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Review: COLOMBIANA (2011)

RATING: 2.5/5

Bullet, bra, and babe -- here's another Euro trash from Luc Besson's action-movie repertoire directed by his TRANSPORTER 3 protege Olivier Megaton. COLOMBIANA is a frenzied B-grade product that apes the same old formula you expect to see from Besson's past efforts (e.g. 1990's LA FEMME NIKITA and 1994's LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL). It's nothing new at all, but it's also fairly good enough to qualify this as an entertaining guilty pleasure topped with an engaging performance by Zoe Saldana.

The movie opens with an intense half-hour prologue set in 1992 Bogota where we learn the 10-year-old girl, Cataleya (Amanda Stenberg) witnesses the assassination of her parents Fabio (Jesses Borrego) and Alicia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) after a powerful mob boss Don Luis (Beto Benites) orders a hit against them for betraying his trust. Then came Luis's right-hand man, Marco (Jordi Malla) who notices Cataleya sitting still at the kitchen table. Apparently he wants something back her father has taken away from them, but Cataleya reacts fast enough to stab his hand with a huge knife before jumping out the window to execute a series of parkour stunts (I kid you not) throughout the slums of the city and finally disappeared somewhere under the sewer. She is then continues her journey to the U.S. Embassy, and meets a CIA agent (Callum Blue) her father told her to do so earlier on. She proceeds by vomiting out a microchip on the desk, which her father described to her as her "passport" to the States.

After escaping from federal custody, Cataleya arrives at the States and hops a bus to Chicago to find her uncle Emilio Restrepo (Cliff Curtis) to live with him. The following morning, Cataleya wants her uncle to teach her how to become a killer because she is hellbent to kill Don Luis one day when she grows up.

Fifteen years later, now played by Zoe Saldana, she is now a successful contract killer working for her uncle. Aside from her regular assignment, she is also on the quest of taking out anyone connected to Don Luis and she will ended up leaving a huge drawing of an orchid on their chest, along with a few bullet holes. So far, she has been responsible for 22 murders, which is more than enough to attract the attention of Marco and his henchmen to fly off to Chicago and locate their killer. Not only that, Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) of the FBI is also hot on the heels as well.

Not surprisingly, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen's screenplay is formulaic at best and no cliches are left unturned. It's also a silly movie that defies logic, much like the kind from those '90s action-movie staple. But at least this movie gets thing done by playing it straight and fast-paced enough to distract the viewers from overlooking most of the flaws.

But what makes COLOMBIANA a tad watchable than most like-minded materials out there is Zoe Saldana herself. In fact, she's the most captivating reason to watch for. While her scenes always distracted by her constant choice of minimum clothing, Saldana makes a convincing presence as a lethal killer with a physical rigor. She's also particularly good when comes to emoting in some scenes where we feel her hatred, rage and trauma she has been suffering all this while. No doubt Saldana is well on her way to become the next female action star to look for in the future.

Apart from Saldana, the rest of the supporting actors are equally credible. Cliff Curtis is excellent as a father figure to Saldana's Cataleya, while Lennie James brings some thoughtful gravitas to his determined FBI agent character in an otherwise thankless role. Special mention also goes to Amanda Stenberg, who steals the limelight during the movie's first 15 minutes. The only disappointment from the cast is Michael Vartan, who plays Cataleya's artist boyfriend named Danny. He is more of an unnecessary filler than anything else matters.

Olivier Megaton's direction is fast and furious, especially he has improved a lot from his ill-fated TRANSPORTER 3 (which was also the most disappointing entry of the series). But he and cinematographer Romain Lacourbas often dwarfed the intensity of the action scenes with lots of jittery cams, quick edits and tight closeups they are sometimes hard to distinguish properly. Nevertheless the movie remains entertaining, if one can get over the flawed choice of its cameraworks. The 10-minute, elaborately staged set piece inside a prison where Cataleya disguised as a drunken woman before turning herself into a slick assassin dressed in a catsuit to assassinate a wanted target, is one of the movie's highlights. Another one is an intense mano-a-mano fight against Marco in a bathroom, which reminds me the same level of kinetic excitement previously found in a similar fight scene between Matt Damon and a hitman in 2007's THE BOURNE ULTIMATIUM. In this particular fight-to-the-death scene, we see how handy Cataleya improvises herself to overcome her enemy by using face towel, belt, toothbrush and especially the creative use of the barrel from a semi-automatic pistol.

1 comment:

free divx movies said...

I like the first trailer of the movie but I am disappointed with movie. Colombiana is not one of the finest movies. I don't know in which story is moving. Actors give an average performance. I won't recommend this movie to watch. This is a waste of time.