by Sarah Davis
Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana, was built up to be an end of Summer action-packed flick, compared to Taken, The Professional & La Femme Nikita. While these were big shoes to fill, Colombiana could have been better. Zoe Saldana plays Cataleya, a self-made assassin, who's parents were killed when she was a child in Columbia. She says in the trailer, "I was nine when my parents were killed in front of me," in a dramatic tone. In the movie, however, her parents' death happens outside, while she's doing her homework at the kitchen table.
She travels to Chicago to live with her uncle after their death and trains with him to become a "killer". The little girl actually says, "I want to be a killer, like Xena, Warrior Princess." The Uncle simply says, "Okay." The movie shoots forward to Cataleya as an adult and her only purpose in life is to kill the people who killed her parents. Every person who she kills, she ridiculously draws a Cataleya Lily on their chest. (I must say, that the fact that she does this directly connects her to the murders not only because of her name, but because this flower only grows in her father's hometown. Yet, no one (the police) seems to notice this for most of the movie.)
The plot, i.e. the writing of this flick (ahem, Luc Besson), seemed to have too much information for one movie. So much information, that they had to cut a lot of it out at the end to fit it into the correct time frame for audiences. A lot of key moments that would have helped audiences understand things a little better were cut out.
Along with a choppy plot, there are a lot of awkward moments in this film, including an out-of-place romance between Saldana's character and Michael Vartan. Basically, it looks as though the director didn't want the whole movie to be senseless killing, so they added in an oddball romance last minute. Vartan plays the "girl", essentially, in their relationship and complains the whole time that he needs more from the relationship. Ultimately, his needy behavior gets her caught by the FBI. The way his character is written really cripples the movie.
The ultimate fight scene at the end, I have to say, is so drawn out and unrealistic that I almost caught myself laughing. Twenty years later, she finally meets up with the guy who killed her parents. She's killed 23 people in attempts to catch this guy's attention, which doesn't really make sense and now she is able to beat him up. So, Cataleya beats him with a hand towel and stabs him with a toothbrush, while getting beat up herself, for what seemed like twenty minutes. It was so choreographed that I expected the two of them to start dancing.
Regardless, Colombiana is never dull and despite everything, I can't say that I hated it. There is always a fight scene that makes you feel like Cataleya is the most BA woman to ever grace the screen. Zoe Saldana's style in the movie is very clean, as she says she was directed to look invisible (because she's a trained killer who cannot leave traces of herself anywhere), so she wears a lot of masculine-esque clothes, sunglasses, hats and of course, bodysuits.
This movie is a bit of a disappointment because all of the actors shined, for the most part. Zoe Saldana was fantastic. You could really feel Cataleya's pain, emptiness and motivation through Saldana's portrayal. The script just felt like it was thrown together last minute and by someone who they found on Craig's List.
Image Credits: Sony